Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research supports early trials at Anschutz Medical Campus BY PETER J...
SUBMITTED BY MEDICAL CENTER OF AURORA HCA Healthcare/HealthONE’s The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA) announced...
Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation provides treatment for addiction and related mental health...
Centura Health, the region’s health care leader, went live across 17 hospitals in offering needle-free blood d...
SUBMITTED BY AAA COLORADO The end of Daylight Saving Time brings with it much more than just an extra ho...
Scientific, evidenced-based instrument rates, recognizes workplace health programs and workforce heart health....
SUBMITTED BY THE MEDICAL CENTER OF AURORA The Medical Center of Aurora has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold...
Oct. 1 the Denver City Council passed a measure aimed at curbing the dangerous trend of nicotine vaping...
Bryan Campbell, FAAMSE, has been named Chief Executive Officer of the Colorado Medical Society, effective Jan....
CONTRIBUTED BY RALI CARES A unique educational experience designed to educate parents and adults about possibl...
Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research supports early trials at Anschutz Medical Campus
BY PETER JONES
It might sound like a beverage of no one’s particular choice, but in much of the world, bitter melon juice is a common ingredient in everything from popular drinks to gourmet sauces. For centuries, Asian and African cultures have relied on the vitamin-rich melon’s medicinal properties to treat a range of conditions—weight gain, blood and immunity disorders and even hangovers.
An excellent source of dietary fiber, the bitter melon contains twice the calcium of spinach, twice the beta-carotene of broccoli and twice the potassium of a banana—and now researchers are hopeful that this anti-inflammatory juice can be used to treat pancreatic cancer.
“When we think of cancer, we think of it as an inflammatory state,” explained Dr. Cindy O’Bryant, a researcher and doctor of pharmacy at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
“There’s actually a fair amount of data and some animal studies to show that there are a lot of different compounds within bitter melon that have anti-cancer properties. Bitter melon can also be effective at treating diabetes. Some of these compounds can lower blood sugars and some of these compounds can cause reduced inflammation and potentially impact cancer cell growth.”
Thanks in large part to a $50,000 grant from Colorado-based Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research, O’Bryant and her team of CU cancer researchers will soon embark on the first phase in a series of trials to finally test the human tolerance and the medical efficacy of a fabled folk cure. Contrary to a popular assumption, the gourd in question, commonly called the “bitter melon,” is not a fruit at all, but a vegetable. While the plant’s colloquially named juice is unlikely to be everyone’s cup of breakfast taste treat, the hopes of researchers are that the melon’s benefits will not be so bitter in the struggling area of pancreatic cancer research.
“In oncology, it’s not really all that far of a stretch for us to use traditional or alternative-type approaches,” O’Bryant said. “We have many natural products that we use to treat cancer now. From that point, we then begin to synthesize those molecules that have the effect.”
The CU team’s bitter-melon research has already proven promising in mice, which were implanted with pancreatic cancer cells and split into four groups. One group only received saline. A second got bitter melon juice. A third group was injected with gemcitabine, a common chemotherapy drug used for pancreatic cancer patients. A fourth received a combination of the drug and the juice.
“The mice that got nothing—their tumors grew, of course. But the tumors shrunk in the mice that had gotten either bitter melon or gemcitabine,” O’Bryant said. “The combination of bitter melon and gemcitabine had the most decrease in growth. But one of the most interesting things is that when we stopped treating them, the patients who had gotten either bitter melon or the combination had a slower regrowth of those tumors. That’s really encouraging.”
The first phase of the human trials—likely to begin this spring, pending approval by the Food and Drug Administration—will be looking solely at the safety and tolerability of bitter melon juice among six to nine volunteer cancer patients. Given the melon’s established benefits for diabetics, researchers will be keeping a close eye on the patients’ blood-sugar levels.
The second phase of research will see a large population of pancreatic cancer patients being tested on the actual efficacy of combining the treatments of melon juice and gemcitabine.
The third and final phase will culminate by comparing the efficacy of bitter melon juice with the currently recommended standards of care for pancreatic cancer patients.
If all goes as planned, this trial will answer what may be the most important question of all.
“Is our treatment as good as everything else? This is usually where you enroll hundreds of thousands of patients in multi-site trials around the country. One group gets the study drug and one group gets the standard care and you compare their outcome,” O’Bryant said.
By the time the multi-tiered research is ready for the final life-changing stages, hopes are that success in the early stages will have led to the kind of major financial support that can only happen by way of initial seed money, which in this case came from Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research, an organization founded by former Castle Pines Mayor Maureen Shul in 2012 after losing two of her family members to the disease.
O’Bryant says the funding from Wings of Hope—raised through the annual Evening of Hope and other year-round fundraisers—will be the crucial first step toward making everything else happen.
“If you don’t have people like Maureen and Wings of Hope, you just can’t even get the research off the ground,” she said. “You could have the best potential treatment option and the best idea in the lab, but no one would ever know about it. It doesn’t really go anywhere without the early funding.”
The funding for the bitter melon juice project was one of three $50,000 grants awarded in 2019 by Wings of Hope to fund research at the CU Cancer Center.
For more information on Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research, visit wingsofhopepcr.org.
SUBMITTED BY MEDICAL CENTER OF AURORA
HCA Healthcare/HealthONE’s The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA) announced the appointment of John Roque, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, as Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for TMCA and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital. He will begin his new role on February 3.
At TMCA, Roque will be the top nursing executive over TMCA/Spalding’s six campuses. He will oversee an array of services and programs including cardiovascular services, emergency services and TMCA’s Level 2 Trauma Center. He will also play a key role in the expansion of inpatient clinical services and surgical services occurring at Centennial Medical Plaza, which will open its doors to inpatients later this year.
Roque, a Registered Nurse, has been with HCA Healthcare for over 19 years, most recently serving as Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Swedish Medical Center. While at Swedish, he helped lead efforts that significantly reduced nursing turnover and contract labor. Roque also led a number of departments including the Emergency Department, Children’s Services, Critical Care Services, and oversaw initiatives that increased colleague and patient engagement scores. In 2019, Roque completed HCA Healthcare’s Executive Development Program and was named Most Outstanding CNO Associate in his class.
“John is a proven leader with a talent for building strong, successful teams,” said Ryan Simpson, Chief Executive Officer at The Medical Center of Aurora and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital. “He has a passion for developing his nursing colleagues into strong leaders and a history of increasing patient satisfaction in the units he leads. John will be a wonderful addition to our Executive Team and I’m happy to welcome him to TMCA/Spalding and our affiliated campuses.”
Roque began his career with HCA Healthcare as an orthopedic nurse tech at Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. After becoming a registered nurse, he continued his work in Orthopedics before moving into Critical Care areas such as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the Cardiovascular ICU (CVICU). While in the ICU, he held a Charge Nurse position and was later promoted to Director of the CVICU and then to Administrative Director of Critical Care Services.
Roque received his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Texas El Paso and a Master’s in Nursing Administration and Management from Aspen University. He lives in the Denver area with his wife, also a nurse, and his two children.
Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation provides treatment for addiction and related mental health disorders. The most helpful thing we do is educate everyone affected by addiction – addicts, family members and industry professionals. During the past two years, CeDAR has developed an online library of over 100 educational articles.
Susan Dearing-Bond, Senior Director at CeDAR, says, “Our goal is to empower people to make informed choices for treatment and recovery. We want the community to have a quality online resource to use whenever they need it.”
The content is in-depth. These aren’t pop culture light reads. Each article is designed to inform people in recovery, family members and professionals in the healthcare industry about the many facets of addiction and treatment. Categories by subject include these articles:
Addiction Science: Kratom – What is it?, What Makes Fentanyl so Dangerous?, Adding or Increasing Medication, Sleep – Part 1, 2 and 3, Vaping Research Review, Past Treatment Experiences, The Arc of Addiction – A Disease Model, Recovery Capital, Treatment Planning, Addiction Treatment Levels of Care, Functional Anaylysis, Avenues for Accountability, Stages of Change, Neuroplasticity and the Prefrontal Coretex, Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, Psychological Traits of Addicted Teens, Coping with Relapse
Alcohol and Its Effects: Alcoholic Liver Disease, Naltrexone and the COMBINE Study, GABA/Glutamate System and PAWS, Medication Assisted Treatment, Dual Diagnosis, To Drink or Not to Drink?, The Spectrum of Alcohol Consumption, Drinking at Someone,
Family Recovery: Empathy Needs to be Mutual, Trust Triangle, Better Boundaries, Treatment Pitfalls – Revoking ROI’s, The Persecutor, The Rescuer, The Victim, The Drama Triangle, Motivational Interviewing, Chronic Disease and Family Goals, Supporting vs. Enabling, Day 1 May be in a Few Months, The Four Horsemen
Life in Recovery: Attaching to CeDAR, What is Love?, I Have Mild Depression … Should I Take Meds?, Structured vs. Open Support
Mental Health & Addiction: Tech Addiction, Why We Test, Do I Have Bipolar?, Attachment – Then and Now, Bipolar Disorder in Addicted Populations, Anxiety Disorders – Getting Specific, ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Depression,
Mindfulness: Mindfulness Training in Addiction Recovery, Mindfulness – Not Mindlessness, Square Breathing, Mindful Muscle Relaxation, The Sandcastle Dilemma
Opioid Addiction: Buprenorphine/Suboxone Taper, Target Buprenorphine Dosing, Coping with Cravings, Harm Reduction, Brain Change, Early Stabilization Topics and Safety, Moving from Painkillers to Heroin, Buprenorphine
Peer Support: Wanting What Someone Else Has, Is it a Good Idea to Move if I’m Addicted?, Recovery = Action = Recovery, Getting Through the Holidays, Clean House, Your Ten Dimensions, Four Financial Myths, the S.A.M. Guide to Goal Setting, Exercise 101, H.O.W. Communication – Honesty, Open-Mindedness, and Willingness, Nutrition Action Plan, Culture of Addiction vs. Culture of Recovery, Spiritual Spectrum of Peer Support
Psychotherapy: Three Forms of Empathy, Psychic Determinism, Differentiating Goals, Acting In vs. Acting Out, Boundaries and D.E.A. Communication, Addicted Self vs. Healthy Self, Maximizing Therapy, Trauma Basics, Toxic Shame and the Loss of ‘Self’, Intro to CBT and Dynamic Therapy, Locus of Control, Wise Mind, Partitioning Trust, Attachment in Recovery
Sociology and Public Health: The People vs. Big Opioid, Choosing Sobriety had Become Popular, The Importance of the United Health Ruling, Medically Necessary, Integration Rather than Polarization, Revisiting the Harms of Alcohol, Tobacco – The Greatest World Health Burden, Second-Hand Tobacco Toxicity, What make for Quality Treatment?, Professionals in Recovery, Learning from the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Treatment Search Barriers, Social Cost of Opioid Painkiller Abuse, Mangled Needles
Treatment and Care: Methods of Drug Testing, The Early, Mid, and End Game, CeDAR as a Teaching Hospital, 5 Things Every Therapist Wants You to Know, Top 5 Reasons People Leave Treatment Early, Cultural Assessment, Tailored Trauma Recovery, Treatment Contracting, Medical Detoxification – What to Know Before Treatment, The Introductory Clinical Evaluation
CeDAR – Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation is a non-profit treatment facility for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Located on a beautiful, private campus integrated into the University of Colorado Hospital, CeDAR provides inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment along with the highest levels of medical and psychiatric care.
Centura Health, the region’s health care leader, went live across 17 hospitals in offering needle-free blood draws for inpatients using the PIVO™ device from Velano Vascular. “This new technology is changing the face of how patients experience hospital care,” says Dawn Bloemen, Centura Health’s Emerging Technology Analyst. Blood draws are such a common component of a hospital stay, the associated trauma to patients has largely been overlooked – and while the results inform 70% of all clinical decisions, there has been little innovation in this procedure or related technologies in decades. “PIVO means we can get the blood we need from an already placed IV line, painlessly, avoiding some eight hundred and fifty thousand unnecessary needle sticks a year! It’s a game changer, and Centura is very proud to be leading the way towards a more comfortable hospital stay for our patients,” Bloeman adds.
Since the first implementation of PIVO at Littleton Adventist Hospital in October 2018 and then expanding the use of this device across the Region, Centura Health has successfully removed 382,433 needles from the workplace – not only making an impact to the patients, but also providing a safer environment to our staff.
PIVO works through a special connection at a patient peripheral IV line, enabling Centura Health caregivers to extract high quality blood samples directly from the vein, pain-free, without an additional needle stick.
“We are committed to innovation on behalf of the half a million patients and the tens of thousands of providers that tend to their health and wellbeing within our hospitals every year,” said Shauna Gulley, SVP and Chief Clinical Officer of Centura Health. “We are proud to be the first health system in the region and one of the first in the country to challenge the need for needles in blood collection, upending a status quo that creates unnecessary pain, anxiety and risk.” “Just last week we had an infant patient getting treated in our Emergency Department at St. Anthony North that needed labs drawn after the IV was inserted,” Bloeman stated. “The family was anxious, dealing with another young sibling while attempting to soothe the patient. Needless to say, this family was very relieved and appreciative when we were able to complete the lab draws without another poke, avoiding additional stress to an already stressful situation.”
Earlier this year Velano Vascular was named one of Fast Company’s 2019 Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Biotech for pioneering better blood draws. The PIVO device now being used in all Centura Health hospitals across Colorado and western Kansas.
Centura Health connects individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 21,000 of the best hearts and minds in health care. Through our 17 hospitals, two senior living communities, neighborhood health centers, physician practices and clinics, home care and hospice services, and Flight For Life® Colorado, our caregivers make the region’s best health care accessible.
We’re on a mission to build flourishing communities and whole person care. We’re Centura Health, and we’re your dedicated health partner for life.
For information on Centura Health or any of the facilities in our network, please visit the Centura Health website.
SUBMITTED BY AAA COLORADO
The end of Daylight Saving Time brings with it much more than just an extra hour of sleep this past Sunday. In fact, the seasonal shift in our sleep patterns, combined with new lighting conditions during morning and evening commutes, significantly increase the risk of a car crash for several weeks following the switchover.
“Shorter days mean many of us will commute home from work in the dark,” said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley. “That’s a problem, in part, because we’ve gotten used to nearly eight months of daylight during the evening commute. That all changes now. Sunset is one of the most challenging times to drive, as your eyes must frequently adjust to increasing darkness.”
AAA recommends that motorists prepare for night driving by reducing speed and increasing following distances, ensuring that headlights and taillights are operational, and getting plenty of rest before driving.
Behavioral Changes Increase Risk
Paradoxically, even though we should be gaining an hour of sleep, the disruption to our sleep patterns helps drive fatigue-related crashes.
Researchers at Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University, in partnership with the Insurance Bureau of British Columbia, found that changes in motorist behavior as Daylight Saving Time ends fundamentally increase crashes following the time change. Why? Initially, people stay up later than usual, anticipating they’ll get an extra hour of sleep, and end up driving drowsy. The broader disruption to our body’s sleep/wake cycle and circadian rhythm, meanwhile, can last up to two weeks.
Scientific, evidenced-based instrument rates, recognizes workplace health programs and workforce heart health.
The results of the American Heart Association 2019 Workplace Health Achievement Index were announced and Centura Health achieved Silver recognition for taking significant steps to build a culture of health in the workplace. Centura Health is the largest health care system in Colorado and western Kansas. Its mission is to extend the healing ministry of Christ by caring for those who are ill and by nurturing the health of the people in our communities.
The American Heart Association created the Index with its CEO Roundtable, a leadership collaborative of more than 40 CEOs from some of America’s largest companies who are committed to applying evidence-based approaches to improve their employees’ overall health. The Index uses science-based best practices to evaluate the overall quality and comprehensiveness of their workplace health programs. Studies show that worksites with a culture of health with comprehensive, evidence-based policies and programs, and senior leadership support are more likely to have engaged employees and a healthier, more productive workforce.
A unique feature of the Index is that it calculates an average heart health score for employees of participating companies that securely submit aggregate health data. Companies receive benchmarking reports, which allow them to identify potential areas of improvement so that they can advance their annual performance and recognition.
“Our physicians and associates answer the call to serve our communities with incredible devotion, pouring their heart and soul into their work,” said Amy King, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, Centura Health. “It is paramount that they have access to the resources they need to fuel their passions and replenish their spirits. We are committed to caring for our people as they care for others and fostering an environment that inspires healthier tomorrows.”
As part of its commitment to healthier workplaces, the American Heart Association offers Health Screening Services, an onsite biometric screening solution which allows organizations to collect and submit employee health data seamlessly. The health screenings are combined with a health assessment and education to motivate participants to make behavior changes or seek support for lifestyle changes and follow-up medical care as appropriate.
The American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Solutions offers a suite of evidence-based tools to help optimize current employee health programs. These tools leverage the science behind the Index while improving consumer engagement and promoting healthier behaviors. For more information, visit www.heart.org/workplacehealth.
SUBMITTED BY THE MEDICAL CENTER OF AURORA
The Medical Center of Aurora has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Disease-Specific Care Certification for Lung Cancer by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.
“I’m extremely proud of our lung cancer program,” said Dr. Jenifer Marks, General Thoracic Surgeon at The Medical Center of Aurora. “We are continuously working hard to provide high quality of care and patient safety. This recognition from Joint Commission is a great honor.”
The certification recognizes health care organizations that provide clinical programs across the continuum of care for lung cancer. The certification evaluates how organizations use clinical outcomes and performance measures to identify opportunities to improve care, as well as to educate and prepare patients and their caregivers for discharge.
The Medical Center of Aurora underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review on April 30, 2019. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with related certification standards, some of which included how their lung cancer program involves patients in making decisions about managing their disease, developing a plan of care using an interdisciplinary approach that is individualized to the patient’s assessed needs, and support for the patient’s self-management outside of the hospital by engaging family and community support structures into their plan of care. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.
“Disease-Specific Care Certification for Lung Cancer recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend The Medical Center of Aurora for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for lung cancer patients.”
The Interdisciplinary team at The Medical Center of Aurora worked together to consistently evaluate performance improvement measurements while simultaneously keeping their patients’ as their main focus at all times, and is determined to make a difference in each of their lives.
For more information, please visit The Joint Commission website.
Oct. 1 the Denver City Council passed a measure aimed at curbing the dangerous trend of nicotine vaping among Colorado’s youth. The measure will raise the minimum age of purchase for nicotine products to 21 and require licensing for any retailers selling vaping and nicotine products in the city. The ordinance was put forth by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment and passed its first committee on September 11. In passing this ordinance, Denver follows the lead of eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, and 500 localities, including in Texas, New Jersey, Arkansas, Maine, and California. Several Colorado localities have already passed similar ordinances: Aspen, Avon, Basalt, Boulder, Carbondale, Edgewater, Glenwood Springs and Snowmass. “We took a big step forward today toward a healthier future for kids in Denver,” said Jake Williams, executive director of Healthier Colorado. “Mayor Hancock and the Denver City Council stood up to big tobacco and acted in the best interest of our youth by raising the legal age of purchase for tobacco and nicotine vaping products to 21. Companies like Juul are trying to hook a new generation on nicotine, and unfortunately they are off to a fast start here in our state. By raising the legal age of purchase and instituting a responsible licensure system for retailers selling these products to our kids, they are ensuring important safeguards are in place to protect the health of Colorado’s children.”
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado has the highest rate of nicotine vaping among youth in the country — at twice the national average. With the barrage of recent news reports on vaping-related lung disease and deaths, vaping has quickly become the latest national public health crisis.
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