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Archive for the ‘Interviews with Scientific Leaders’ Category


Two Connectionists and Two Conversationalists – Brain Science is the Expertise of First-term incoming President of Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Third-term President of Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

Reporter: Aviva Lev- Ari, PhD, RN

 

Two Connectionists and Two Conversationalists

 

Professor Asher Cohen, was elected President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/05/17/professor-asher-cohen-was-elected-president-of-the-hebrew-university-of-jerusalem/

 

Prof. Peretz Lavie – CV

Prof. Peretz Lavie is the 16th president of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, having taken the position on October 1, 2009.  Between 1993 and 1999, Prof. Lavie served as dean of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, and between 2001 and 2008, as Technion’s vice president for resource development and external relations.

Prof. Lavie is a world-respected Lavie authority on the psychophysiology of sleep and sleep disorders. He is the author of several books, including: The Enchanted World of Sleep; and Restless Nights: Understanding Sleep Apnea and Snoring. He has founded several start-up companies, including Itamar Medical Ltd.

http://pard.technion.ac.il/technion-president/

 

President Prof. Peretz Lavie Elected to 3rd Term

 

During Prof. Lavie’s current term in office (2009-2017), Technion recorded impressive achievements led by the recruitment of more than 200 new faculty members. “Outstanding faculty members are the most important asset of any university,” said Prof. Lavie. “The quality of Technion and its future status will be determined first and foremost by the quality of its faculty members.”

The new faculty members, whose recruitment involved the extensive recruitment of resources, are mostly young and were selected based on excellence in research. The increase in the number of faculty members was accompanied by a significant increase in the number of publications in the world’s leading scientific journals. In 2016, Technion was ranked 26th in the world in the list of Rising Stars, published by the leading scientific journal Nature, following a 40% increase in Technion’s publications in leading scientific journals. In the Shanghai ranking, the world’s leading index of academic institutions, within eight years Technion shot up from rank 101-152 worldwide to 69th place in 2016: the top of Israel’s universities. These rankings, along with a significant increase in the awarding of research grants, attest to Technion’s academic excellence and the research achievements of its faculty members.

The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute – photo simulation – Credit: Morphosis [Thom Mayne]

The research world, in Prof. Lavie’s view, is changing. In the past, a scientist could carry out research and achieve breakthroughs on his own, but now significant research requires interdisciplinary cooperation. “The walls between disciplines, faculties, and fields of research are collapsing,” explains Prof. Lavie. “Future achievements in science and engineering will require cooperation between laboratories and researchers from different fields. In order to achieve significant scientific and engineering breakthroughs, enormous knowledge is now required — knowledge that an individual scientist does not possess.” For this reason, Technion has worked to establish interdisciplinary centers where researchers from different faculties work together. These centers include research institutes such as the Technion Integrated Cancer Center (TICC), the Quantum Engineering Center, the Cyber Security Research Center, and the Technion Computer Engineering Center (TCE), in addition to the Excellence Centers of the Council for Higher Education that have been established at Technion.

The number of students at Technion is growing steadily. In the past eight years, the number of students has increased from 12,665 (2009-2010) to 14,121 (2016-2017). In addition, there has been a 30% increase in the number of graduate students (master’s and doctoral).

Since taking office as President, Prof. Lavie has worked to change the atmosphere at Technion and its image as a rigid institution that is not sufficiently considerate of its students. Under his leadership, a committee was established to examine the structure of studies and academic load at Technion, headed by Prof. Yachin Cohen of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering. The committee’s recommendations, which were implemented in conjunction with the Technion Student Association (TSA), included many changes aimed at improving teaching at Technion.

In addition, in 2012 Prof. Lavie instituted the Yanai Prize for Excellence in Academic Education, with the generous donation of Technion alumnus Moshe Yanai. The prize, which is awarded in recognition and appreciation of faculty members who set an example by their contributions to teaching and learning, has already become synonymous with excellence in teaching at Technion and has been awarded to 62 faculty members and three faculties.

http://www.technion.ac.il/en/2017/05/president-prof-peretz-lavie-elected-to-3rd-term/

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Professor Asher Cohen, was elected President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Professor Asher Cohen CV

https://scholars.huji.ac.il/jbc/people/prof-asher-cohen-0

 

  • Hebrew University Search Committee Recommends Rector Asher Cohen for President

    May 17, 2017 — Following a rigorous search process, the presidential search committee has unanimously recommended that the university’s Rector, Professor Asher Cohen, be elected President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The recommendation will be brought for approval to the Board of Managers and the Executive Committee.

    As Rector of the Hebrew University for the past five years, Professor Cohen led a number of important processes. These include recruiting top researchers from Israel and around the world and providing them with the tools to stand at the forefront of global research, refreshing the university’s curricula and developing innovative programs that combine diverse disciplines, and increasing the university’s international cooperation and student and staff exchanges with leading institutions around the world.

    After graduating with a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Psychology from the Hebrew University, Professor Cohen did his doctoral and post-doctoral studies at the University of Oregon in the United States. He served as a senior lecturer at Indiana University before returning in the early 1990s to the Hebrew University’s Department of Psychology, in the Faculty of Social Sciences. From 2008 to 2012, he served as the head of the Department of Psychology. He also held various leadership positions at the University, including being elected by his peers to serve as head of the Association of University Professors.

    Professor Cohen’s research in the cognitive sciences focuses on the relationship between the human perception system and human response mechanisms, in situations that require very fast motor responses. In the framework of his research, Professor Cohen developed a theoretical model that successfully predicts in which situations performing two tasks will lead to a decline in abilities.

    SOURCE

https://www.afhu.org/hebrew-university-search-committee-recommends-rector-asher-cohen-for-president/about/?utm_source=Master+List&utm_campaign=e15c035df9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e19a421-e15c035df9-92801633#.WRyIzRPyu9Z

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Less is More: Minimalist Mitral Valve Repair: Expert Opinion of Prem S. Shekar, MD, Chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery, BWH – #7, 2017 Disruptive Dozen at #WMIF17

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Highlights LIVE Day 3: World Medical Innovation Forum – CARDIOVASCULAR • MAY 1-3, 2017  BOSTON, MA • UNITED STATES

11:45 am – 12:45 pm
Boston Scientific Ballroom
Disruptive Dozen: 12 Technologies that will reinvent Cardiovascular Care
  • Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Chief, Cardiology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

12. Aging and Heart Disease: Can we reverse the process?

11.Nanotechnologies for Cardiac Diagnosis and Treatment

10. Breaking the Code: Diagnosis and Therapeutic Potential of RNA

9. Expanding the Pool of Organs for Transplant

8. Finding Cancer therapies without Cardiotoxicity

7. Less is more: Minimalist Mitral Valve Repair

6. Understanding Why exercise works for Just about every thing

5. Power Play: The Future of Implantable Cardiac Devices

4. Adopting the Orphan of Heart Disease

3. Targeting Inflammation in cardiovascular Disease

2. Harnessing Big Data and Deep Learning for Clinical Decision Support

  1. Quantitative Molecular Imaging for Cardiovascular Phynotypes

SOURCE

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/05/03/highlights-live-day-3-world-medical-innovation-forum-cardiovascular-%E2%80%A2-may-1-3-2017-boston-ma-%E2%80%A2-united-states/

 

Excerpts from Prem S. Shekar, MD Presentation

The success achieved with TAVR

  1. least traumatic
  2. short recovery
  3. quicker return to normal lifestyle

encouraged Medical devices Manufacturers to develop Mitral Valve Repair technologies to address the large unmet need for percutaneous treatment of patients with Mitral Valve disease:

Mild or Severe (4 Million in the US, alone).

  • Mitral Regurgitation (MR) – imperfect closure of the valve permits blood from LV to return back towards the lungs.

Causes for MR

  1. the degenerative myxomatous disease
  2. senile calcific degenerative disease causing enlargement of the LV, infection or Trauma.
  • Mitral stenosis – narrowing of the valve

Causes for Mitral Stenosis

  1. rheumatic fever
  2. senile calcific degeneration – obstruction to the forward flow of blood resulting in increased fluid pressure inside the lungs.

Symptoms of MR – managed by drugs or Surgery for correction (Open Heart surgery or MIS – both procedures require use of bypass machine, the heart been stopped for the duration of repair/replacement) for Valve Repair or Valve Replacement

  1. shortness of breath
  2. fatigue

Uncorrected Mitral Valve disease can lead to 

  1. irregular heart rhythms
  2. increased risk for stroke
  3. CHF
  4. Death

Transcatheter Mitral Valve Correction

  1. Valve replacement
  2. use of Repair devices on the Mitral leaflets
  3. implantation of neochords
  4. remodeling of the mitral annulus

Comparison of TARV with Transcatheter Mitral Valve Correction

  1. Aortic Valve vs Mitral Valve: difference in complexity and artistic nature of Mitral repair
  2. Ability to perform a Percutaneous repair on a Mitral Valve with same degree of accuracy and reproducibility as a Percutaneous repair on an Aortic Valve — will remain a challenge.
  3. development of advance imaging technologies will play a key role in achieveing success with Percutaneous repair on a Mitral Valve
  4. Percutaneous repair on a Mitral Valve need to overcome the complex structure and integrated relationship with the LV.

Leading Challenges in the Development of Percutaneous repair on a Mitral Valve Technologies

  1. Mitral is a bigger Valve than the Aortic
  2. It is more difficult to access
  3. It is Asymmetrical
  4. It lacks an anatomically well-defined annulus to which to anchor the artificial valve
  5. Its geometry changes throughout the cardiac cycle
  6. Placement of a replacement valve bears the risk of LV outflow tract obstruction

Patient Candidate Profile forPercutaneous repair on a Mitral Valve

  1. Patient with a failed Mitral Valve bioprosthesis – Severe Mitral Valve Disease
  2. Failed Mitral Valve Repairs
  3. Senile calcific degeneration
  4. Mitral Regurgitation unmanaged by medication
  5. Variable surgical risk related to co-morbidities

 

Other related articles on Mirtal Valve Disease covered in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal Include the following:

Search Category:

Cardiovascular Medical Devices: Cardiac Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgical Procedures and Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) / Coronary Angioplasty – 248 articles

Mitral Valve Repair: Who is a Patient Candidate for a Non-Ablative Fully Non-Invasive Procedure? – Last Updated on 4/8/2017

Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Lev-Ari, A. 5/19/2014. Transcatheter Mitral Valve (TMV) Procedures: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposes to cover Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR)

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2014/05/19/transcatheter-mitral-valve-tmv-procedures-centers-for-medicare-medicaid-services-cms-proposes-to-cover-transcatheter-mitral-valve-repair-tmvr/

 

Lev-Ari, A. 1/26/2014. Transcatheter Valve Competition in the United States: Medtronic CoreValve infringes on Edwards Lifesciences Corp. Transcatheter Device Patents

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2014/01/26/transcatheter-valve-competition-in-the-united-states-medtronic-corevalve-infringes-on-edwards-lifesciences-corp-transcatheter-device-patents/

 

Lev-Ari, A. 1/26/2014. Developments on the Frontier of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) Devices

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2014/01/26/developments-on-the-frontier-of-transcatheter-aortic-valve-replacement-tavr-devices/

 

Larry H. Bernstein and
Aviva Lev-Ari 6/23/2013 Survivals Comparison of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) and Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) / Coronary Angioplasty

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/06/23/comparison-of-cardiothoracic-bypass-and-percutaneous-interventional-catheterization-survivals/

 

Larry H Bernstein and Lev-Ari, A. 6/23/2013 First case in the US: Valve-in-Valve (Aortic and Mitral) Replacements with Transapical Transcatheter Implants – The Use of Transfemoral Devices.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/06/23/valve-in-valve-replacements-with-transapical-transcatheter-implants/

Larry H Bernstein and  Lev-Ari, A. 6/17/2013 Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR): Postdilatation to Reduce Paravalvular Regurgitation During TAVR with a Balloon-expandable Valve

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/06/17/postdilatation-to-reduce-paravalvular-regurgitation-during-transcatheter-aortic-valve-replacement/

Larry H Bernstein and Lev-Ari, A. 6/17/2013 Trans-apical Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement in a Patient with Severe and Complex Left Main Coronary Artery Disease (LMCAD)

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/06/17/management-of-difficult-trans-apical-transcatheter-aortic-valve-replacement-in-a-patient-with-severe-and-complex-arterial-disease/

Larry H Bernstein and Lev-Ari, A. 6/18/2013 Ventricular Assist Device (VAD): A Recommended Approach to the Treatment of Intractable Cardiogenic Shock

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/06/18/a-recommended-approach-to-the-treatmnt-of-intractable-cardiogenic-shock/

Larry H Bernstein and Lev-Ari, A.6/20/2013 Phrenic Nerve Stimulation in Patients with Cheyne-Stokes Respiration and Congestive Heart Failure

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/06/20/phrenic-nerve-stimulation-in-patients-with-cheyne-stokes-respiration-and-congestive-heart-failure/

Lev-Ari, A. 2/12/2013 Clinical Trials on transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to be conducted by American College of Cardiology and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/02/12/american-college-of-cardiologys-and-the-society-of-thoracic-surgeons-entrance-into-clinical-trials-is-noteworthy-read-more-two-medical-societies-jump-into-clinical-trial-effort-for-tavr-tech-f/

Lev-Ari, A. 12/31/2012 Renal Sympathetic Denervation: Updates on the State of Medicine

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/31/renal-sympathetic-denervation-updates-on-the-state-of-medicine/

Lev-Ari, A. 9/2/2012 Imbalance of Autonomic Tone: The Promise of Intravascular Stimulation of Autonomics

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/02/imbalance-of-autonomic-tone-the-promise-of-intravascular-stimulation-of-autonomics/

Lev-Ari, A. 8/13/2012Coronary Artery Disease – Medical Devices Solutions: From First-In-Man Stent Implantation, via Medical Ethical Dilemmas to Drug Eluting Stentshttps://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/13/coronary-artery-disease-medical-devices-solutions-from-first-in-man-stent-implantation-via-medical-ethical-dilemmas-to-drug-eluting-stents/

Lev-Ari, A. 7/18/2012Percutaneous Endocardial Ablation of Scar-Related Ventricular Tachycardia

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/07/18/percutaneous-endocardial-ablation-of-scar-related-ventricular-tachycardia/

Lev-Ari, A. 6/13/2012Treatment of Refractory Hypertension via Percutaneous Renal Denervation

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/06/13/treatment-of-refractory-hypertension-via-percutaneous-renal-denervation/

Lev-Ari, A. 6/22/2012Competition in the Ecosystem of Medical Devices in Cardiac and Vascular Repair: Heart Valves, Stents, Catheterization Tools and Kits for Open Heart and Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS)

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/06/22/competition-in-the-ecosystem-of-medical-devices-in-cardiac-and-vascular-repair-heart-valves-stents-catheterization-tools-and-kits-for-open-heart-and-minimally-invasive-surgery-mis/

Lev-Ari, A. 6/19/2012Executive Compensation and Comparator Group Definition in the Cardiac and Vascular Medical Devices Sector: A Bright Future for Edwards Lifesciences Corporation in the Transcatheter Heart Valve Replacement Market

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/06/19/executive-compensation-and-comparator-group-definition-in-the-cardiac-and-vascular-medical-devices-sector-a-bright-future-for-edwards-lifesciences-corporation-in-the-transcatheter-heart-valve-replace/

Lev-Ari, A. 6/22/2012Global Supplier Strategy for Market Penetration & Partnership Options (Niche Suppliers vs. National Leaders)in the Massachusetts Cardiology & Vascular Surgery Tools and Devices Market for Cardiac Operating Rooms and Angioplasty Suites

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/06/22/global-supplier-strategy-for-market-penetration-partnership-options-niche-suppliers-vs-national-leaders-in-the-massachusetts-cardiology-vascular-surgery-tools-and-devices-market-for-car/

Lev-Ari, A. 7/23/2012Heart Remodeling by Design: Implantable Synchronized Cardiac Assist Device: Abiomed’s Symphony

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/07/23/heart-remodeling-by-design-implantable-synchronized-cardiac-assist-device-abiomeds-symphony/

Lev-Ari, A. (2006b). First-In-Man Stent Implantation Clinical Trials & Medical Ethical Dilemmas. Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115

 

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LAUREATES 2017 – – The Dan David Prize is a joint international corporation, endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

THE PRIZE AND ITS SPIRIT

The Dan David Prize is a joint international corporation, endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University.

The Dan David Prize recognizes and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms. It aims to foster universal values of excellence, creativity, justice, democracy and progress and to promote the scientific, technological and humanistic achievements that advance and improve our world.

The Dan David Prize covers three time dimensions – Past, Present and Future – that represent realms of human achievement. Each year the International Board chooses one field within each time dimension. Following a review process by independent Review Commitees comprised of renowned scholars and professionals, the International Board then chooses the laureates for each field.

The Past refers to fields that expand knowledge of former times.
The Present recognizes achievements that shape and enrich society today.
The Future focuses on breakthroughs that hold great promise for improvement of our world.

Three prizes of one million US dollars each are granted annually in the fields chosen for the three time dimensions. The prizes are granted to individuals or institutions with proven, exceptional, distinct excellence in the sciences, arts, humanities, public service and business, that have made and continue to make an outstanding contribution to humanity on the basis of merit, without discrimination of gender, race, religion, nationality, or political affiliation.

The Dan David Pize laureates donate 10% of their prize money to post graduate students in their respective fields, thereby contributing to the community and fostering a new generation of scholars. It is also unique in its outreach efforts to the wider community. Since its inception, the Dan David Prize has embarked upon two exciting innitiatives:

  • The Dan David Prize, in conjunction with the Unit for Science Oriented Youth at Tel Aviv University has initiated the ‘Name Your Hero’ Essay Competition for High School Youth throughout Israel. High school students are encouraged to make a difference and present their choice of candidate and/or suggestions for fields, to the mutual benefit of the Dan David Prize and the students; the fields selected for a given year are influenced by the students’ input and the students’ scholarship and creative writing skills are advanced.
  • A Scholars Forum has been established comprised of Dan David Prize scholarship recipients worldwide doing research in the various fields selected since the inception of the Dan David Prize. This forum serves as a platform for Dan David Prize scholars to discuss research topics, present individual research and exchange ideas and suggestions

For a better understanding of the drive behind the creation of the Prize, press here for Mr. Dan David’s speech at the Inaugurational Ceremony of the Prize, on May 12th 2001.

PAST – ARCHAEOLOGY AND NATURAL SCIENCES

PROF. SVANTE PÄÄBO

PROF. SVANTE  PÄÄBO
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
GERMANY

PROF. DAVID REICH

PROF. DAVID REICH
Harvard Medical School
USA

PRESENT – LITERATURE

JAMAICA KINCAID

JAMAICA KINCAID
Author
USA

A. B. YEHOSHUA

A. B. YEHOSHUA
Author
ISRAEL

FUTURE – ASTRONOMY

PROF. NEIL GEHRELS (1952-2017)

PROF. NEIL GEHRELS (1952-2017)
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
USA

PROF. SHRINIVAS KULKARNI

PROF. SHRINIVAS KULKARNI
California Institute of Technology
USA

PROF. ANDRZEJ UDALSKI

PROF. ANDRZEJ  UDALSKI
Astronomical Observatory Warsaw University
POLAND

http://www.dandavidprize.org/laureates/2017?utm_source=newsletter_72&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=may-is-upon-us-award-ceremony-and-events-dan-david-prize-monthly-news-april-2017

view online »

 Monthly News   Issue # 32  |   April, 2017

The Dan David Prize is an international prize which annually awards three prizes of US$ 1 million each for outstanding scientific, technological, cultural, and social achievements having an impact on our world. Each year fields are chosen within the three Time Dimensions – Past, Present and Future.

 

MAY IS UPON US

AWARD CEREMONY AND EVENTS WITH THE

2017 DAN DAVID PRIZE LAUREATES

 

 

DAN DAVID PRIZE AWARD CEREMONY

Sunday, May 21, 2017, 20:00

The Miriam and Adolfo Smolarz Auditorium

Tel Aviv University

By Invitation Only

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The Rutgers Global Health Institute, part of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey – A New Venture Designed to Improve Health and Wellness Globally  

Author: Gail S. Thornton, M.A.

Co-Editor: The VOICES of Patients, Hospital CEOs, HealthCare Providers, Caregivers and Families: Personal Experience with Critical Care and Invasive Medical Procedures

 

The newly formed Rutgers Global Health Institute, part of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey (http://rbhs.rutgers.edu/), represents a new way of thinking by providing positive health outcomes to potential patients around the world affected by disease and/or by a negative environmental impact. The goal of the Institute is three-fold:

  • to improve the health and wellness of individuals and populations around the world,
  • to create a healthier world through innovation, engineering, and technology, and
  • to educate involved citizens and effective leaders in global health.

Richard G. Marlink, M.D., a former Harvard University professor recognized internationally for research and leadership in the fight against AIDS, was recently appointed as the inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Global Health and Director of the Rutgers Global Health Institute.

The Rutgers Global Health Institute was formed last year after research by the University into the most significant health issues affecting under-served and under-developed populations. While conducting research for its five-year strategic plan, the RBHS looked for bold and ambitious ways that they could take advantage of the changing health care environment and band together to tackle the world’s leading health and environmental causes, contributing to the betterment of society. One of the results was the formation of the Rutgers Global Health Institute, supporting cross-functionally Rutgers faculty, scientists, and clinicians who represent the best in their respective fields of health innovation, research and patient care related to global health.

More broadly, the RBHS, created in 2013, is one of the nation’s leading – and largest — academic health centers that provides health care education, research and clinical service and care. It is an umbrella organization that encompasses eight schools – Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, New Jersey Medical School, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, School of Health Professions, School of Nursing and School of Public Health.

In addition, the RBHS encompasses six centers and institutes that provide cancer treatment and research, neuroscience, advanced biotechnology and medicine, environmental and occupational health and health care policy and aging research. Those centers and institutes are the Brain Health Institute, Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Research. And lastly, the RBHS includes the University Behavioral Health Care.

 

Rutgers Institute For Health Building

Image SOURCE: Photograph courtesy of the Rutgers Global Health Institute, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.   

 

Below is my interview with the Inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Global Health and Director of the Rutgers Global Health Institute Richard G. Marlink, M.D., which occurred in April, 2017.

You were recently appointed as the inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Global Health and Director of the new Rutgers Global Health Institute at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS). What are the goals of the new Institute?

Dr. Marlink: The overarching goal of the Rutgers Global Health Institute is to improve the health and wellness of individuals and populations in need both here and around the world, to create a healthier world through innovation, engineering, and technology, and to educate involved citizens and effective leaders in global health. We will do that by building on the aspiration of our originating organization — RBHS, which is to be recognized as one of the best academic health centers in the U.S., known for its education, research, clinical care, and commitment to improving access to health care and reducing health care disparities.

As the newly formed Rutgers Global Health Institute, we are embarking on an ambitious agenda to take advantage of the changing health care environment. Working across schools and disciplines at Rutgers University, we plan to have a significant impact within at least four signature programs identified by RBHS, which are cancer, environmental and occupational health, infection and inflammation, and public health. We also will include all other parts of Rutgers, as desired, beyond RBHS.

My background as a global health researcher, physician, and leader of grassroots health care delivery will help develop programs to undertake global health initiatives that assist populations locally and around the world. I believe that involved citizens, including students, can greatly impact major societal issues.

A key role in the strategic growth of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences – an umbrella organization for eight schools, four centers and institutes and a behavioral health network — is to broaden the Rutgers University’s presence in the public health community globally to improve health and wellness. How will the new Rutgers Global Health Institute be part of this growth?

Dr. Marlink: Our RBHS Chancellor Brian Strom [M.D., M.P.H.] believes that we are positioned to become one of the finest research universities in the country, working cross-functionally with our three campuses in Newark, Camden and New Brunswick. In developing the strategic plan, Dr. Strom notes that we become much stronger and more capable and productive by leveraging our strengths to collaborate and working together across disciplines to best serve the needs of our community locally and globally.

Specifically, we are formulating plans to focus on these areas: old and new infectious disease epidemics; the expanding burden of noncommunicable diseases in poor populations; the social and environmental threats to health, poverty and humanitarian crises; and inadequate local and developing country health systems. We will support the development of global health research programs university-wide, the recruitment of faculty with interests in global health, and the creation of a web-based global health resource center for faculty and students with interests in these areas.

We are still a very young part of RBHS, and of Rutgers overall, so our plans are a work in progress. As tangible examples of our commitment to improving health and wellness globally, we plan to enhance global public health by establishing links between global public health and environmental and occupational health faculty in studies related to air pollution, climate change, and pesticide health.

Another example the Institute has in the works is expanding links with the School of Engineering. In fact, we are creating a senior-level joint faculty position with the School of Engineering and Rutgers-New Brunswick. Still other plans involve forging collaborative relationships between the Rutgers Cancer Program, under the auspices of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, which is New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center, and other organizations and partners around the world, especially in poor and less-developed countries.

How is the Rutgers Global Health Institute strategically prepared for changing the health care paradigm?

Dr. Marlink: We intend to be an international global health leader in the health sciences, in public health, and in other related, but non-biomedical professions. This means that we will incorporate our learnings from laboratory sciences and the clinical, behavioral, and public health sciences, as well as from engineering, business, economics, law, and social sciences. This broad approach is critical in this health care environment as accountability for patient care is shifting to large groups of providers. Health care will be more value-driven and our health care teams must work collaboratively to be innovative. Our focus on health care is now also population-based, rather than only individual-based, and we are moving from large regional centers toward community centers, even in small and remote areas of the world. We are encouraged by rapid changes in technology that will provide new opportunities for shared knowledge, patient care and research.

Additionally, we are exploring ways to identify and recruit key faculty who will increase our breadth and depth of key disease areas as well as provide guidance on how to pursue science grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded program project grants and specialized research programs.

Currently, Rutgers University receives NIH funding for research in public health, population health, health promotion, wellness, health behavior, preventive medicine, and global health.

As a researcher, scholar and leader of grassroots health care delivery, how have your past positions prepared you for this new challenge? Your last position was the Bruce A. Beal, Robert L. Beal, and Alexander S. Beal Professor of the Practice of Public Health at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Executive Director of the Harvard AIDS Initiative.

Dr. Marlink: I have been a global health practitioner, researcher, and executive leader for almost three decades. I am trained in medical oncology and HIV medicine and have conducted clinical, epidemiological and implementation research in Africa since 1985. I was first introduced to global health when finishing my Hematology/Oncology fellowship at what is now the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the mid-1980’s in Boston.

During my Hematology/Oncology fellowship and after the co-organizing the first, hospital-based AIDS care clinic in the New England region, I was trying to learn the ropes in virology and molecular biology in the laboratory group of Max Essex at Harvard University. During that time in the mid-1980s, our laboratory group along with Senegalese and French collaborators discovered the first evidence for the existence of a new human retrovirus, HIV-2, a distinct second type of human AIDS virus, with its apparent origins in West Africa.

As a clinician, I was able to assist in Senegal, helping set up clinical care and create a research cohort in Dakar for hundreds of women sex workers infected with this new human retrovirus and care for them and their families. I discovered that a little can go a long way in poor settings, such as in Senegal. I became hooked on helping create solutions to help people in poor settings in Africa and elsewhere. Long-term partnerships and friendships have subsequently been made in many developing countries. Throughout my career, I have built successful partnerships with many governments, companies, and non-profit organizations, and those relationships have been the foundation to build successful public health partnerships in poor regions of the world.

In the 1990s, I helped create the Botswana-Harvard Partnership for HIV Research and Education (BHP). Through this partnership, the Government of Botswana and BHP have worked together to combat the AIDS epidemic in Botswana. Under my direction, and in partnership with the Botswana Ministry of Health, BHP launched the KITSO AIDS Training Program in 1999. Kitso is the Setswana word for ‘knowledge.”

KITSO is the national training program for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, which has trained more than 14,000 health professionals in HIV/AIDS care and antiretroviral treatment. KITSO training modules address issues, such as antiretroviral therapy, HIV/AIDS-related disease management, gender-specific HIV issues, task-sharing, supportive and palliative care, and various psychosocial and counseling themes.

In addition, I was the Botswana County Director for Harvard Chan School’s 3-country President’s Emergency Plan AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) grant, The Botswana PEPFAR effort includes a Clinical and Laboratory Master Training Program and the creation of the Botswana Ministry of Health’s Monitoring and Evaluation Unit. Concurrently, I was the Principal Investigator of Project HEART in five African countries with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Also in Botswana, in 2000, I was a co-founder of a distinct partnership involving a large commitment to the Government of Botswana from the Bill and Melinda Gates and Merck Foundations.  This commitment continues as an independent non-governmental organization (NGO) to provide support for various AIDS prevention and care efforts in Botswana and the region.

All these global health experiences, it seems, have led me to my new role at the Rutgers Global Health Institute.

What is your advice for ways that the business community or university students can positively impact major societal issues?

Dr. Marlink: My advice is to be optimistic and follow that desire to want to make a difference. Margaret Mead, the American cultural anthropologist, said years ago, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I believe that to be our guiding principle as we embark on this new initiative.

I also believe that students should become specialized in specific areas prior to going fully into “global health,” as they develop in their careers, since they will then add more value later. For example, students should be grounded in the theory of global health in their undergraduate studies and then develop a specialization, such as becoming a statistician, economist, or medical doctor, to make a longer and greater impact in improving global health. As for the business community, we are looking for committed individuals who are specialized in specific areas to bring their knowledge to our organization, as partners in the fight against disease, improving the environment, or helping with humanitarian issues. We are committed to improving health and wellness, increasing access to the best health care, and reducing health disparities.

What is it about your current role that you enjoy the most?

Dr. Marlink: I enjoy building research, learning, and clinical programs, as I have in the HIV arena since the early 1980s. At that time, there were limited resources and funding, but a willingness among universities, non-governmental organizations, hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry to make a difference. Today in my new role, I’d like all of us to have an impact on health and wellness for those in need – to build programs from the ground up while partnering with organizations with the same goal in mind. I know it can be done.

Over my career, when I have a patient here or in a developed country who has been diagnosed with cancer, but is cured or in remission, that puts a huge smile on my face and in my heart. It also impacts you for the rest of your life. Or when I see an infant born without HIV because of the local country programs that are put in place, that also makes me feel so fulfilled, so happy.

I have worked with many talented individuals who have become great friends and partners over my career who have helped create a positive life for under-served populations around the world. We need to remember that progress happens with one person at a time or one program at a time. That’s how you truly improve health around the world.

 

Headshot - 2016

Image SOURCE: Photograph of Inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Global Health and Director of the Rutgers Global Health Institute at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, courtesy of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Richard G. Marlink, M.D.
Inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Global Health

Director of the Rutgers Global Health Institute

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

Richard G. Marlink, M.D., a Harvard University professor recognized internationally for research and leadership in the fight against AIDS, was recently appointed as the inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Global Health and Director of a new Rutgers Global Health Institute at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS). His role is to develop the strategic growth of RBHS by broadening the Rutgers University’s presence in the public health community to improve health and wellness.

Previously, Dr. Marlink was the Bruce A. Beal, Robert L. Beal, and Alexander S. Beal Professor of the Practice of Public Health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Executive Director of the Harvard AIDS Initiative.

At the start of the AIDS epidemic, Dr. Marlink was instrumental in setting up the first, hospital-based HIV/AIDS clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied the impact of the HIV virus in west and central Africa. After helping to start the Botswana-Harvard Partnership in 1996, he founded the Kitso AIDS Training Program, which would become Botswana’s national AIDS training program. Kitso means knowledge in the local Setswana language.

Dr. Marlink was the principal investigator for the Tshepo Study, the first large-scale antiretroviral treatment study in Botswana, in addition to conducting other clinical and epidemiological studies in the region. Also in Botswana, he was the country director for Harvard’s contribution to the joint Botswana and United States governments’ HIV/AIDS and TB training, monitoring and evaluation PEPFAR effort.

In the mid-1980s in Senegal, Dr. Marlink was part of the team of Senegalese, French and American researchers who discovered and then studied the second type of human AIDS virus, HIV-2. Since then, he has been involved in multiple HIV/AIDS care, treatment and prevention programs in many African countries, including in Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He has also organized initiatives to enhance HIV/AIDS care in Brazil, Puerto Rico and Thailand.

Dr. Marlink has served as the scientific director, the vice president for implementation and the senior adviser for medical and scientific affairs at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, where he was principal investigator of Project HEART, a five-country CDC/PEPFAR effort in Africa. That project began in 2004 and by 2011 had placed more than 1 million people living with HIV into care clinics. More than 565,000 of these people were placed on life-saving antiretroviral treatment.

Since 2000, Dr. Marlink has been the founding member of the board of directors of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships, a public-partnership among the government of Botswana and the Bill and Melinda Gates and Merck Foundations to provide ongoing support for numerous HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment efforts in that country.

He has authored or co-authored more than 130 scientific articles; written a textbook, Global AIDS Crisis: A Reference Handbook; and co-edited the book, AIDS in Africa, 2nd Edition. Additionally, he served as chief editor for two special supplements to the journal AIDS and as executive editor of the seminal 320-author, three-volume textbook, From the Ground Up: A Guide to Building Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Care Programs in Resource Limited Settings.

A trained fellow in hematology/oncology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Marlink received his medical degree from the University of New Mexico and his bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

 

Editor’s note:

We would like to thank Marilyn DiGiaccobe, head of Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, at the Rutgers Global Health Institute, for the help and support she provided during this interview.

 

REFERENCE/SOURCE

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (http://rbhs.rutgers.edu/)

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Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil, Switzerland – A World-Class Clinic for Spinal Cord Injuries

Author: Gail S. Thornton, M.A.

Co-Editor: The VOICES of Patients, Hospital CEOs, HealthCare Providers, Caregivers and Families: Personal Experience with Critical Care and Invasive Medical Procedures

 

The Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC, www.paraplegie.ch) in Nottwil, Switzerland, is a privately owned, leading acute care and specialist hospital employing more than 1,500 health professionals in 80 different occupations that focuses on world-class primary care and comprehensive rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries. In addition to the SPC’s extensive range of medical and therapeutic care, treatment and services, the hospital offers advisory services, as well as research in the areas of paraplegia [paralysis of the legs and lower body, typically caused by spinal injury or disease], tetraplegia [also known as quadriplegia, paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso], prevention and related conditions. With 150 beds, the SPC provides modern facilities for rehabilitation and therapy, diagnostics, surgery, ongoing care, orthopedic technology, as well as social services and 24-hour emergency care.

In its 26-year history, the SPC has provided treatment and care to more than 20,000 in-patients. That number continues to grow exponentially due to the reputation of the SPC. In fact, the SPC’s staff performs their duties with effectiveness, expediency and cost-efficiency measures, requiring highly developed process-led medicine, centered around the needs of the patient.

The areas of medical specialty and centers of excellence include the Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC), the Swiss Spinal Column and Spinal Cord Centre (SWRZ), the Centre for Pain Medicine (ZSM) and the Swiss Olympic Medical Center (SOMC). These centers respectively offer patients cutting-edge medical treatment based on the most advanced research in areas covering treatment and rehabilitation cases of acute paraplegia, vertebral and spinal cord surgery, as well as services relating to pain management, sports medicine and preventive health checks.

Alongside the core focus on paraplegiology, the SPC is also equipped with the necessary medical facilities, allowing for the lifelong care of paraplegic patients. The SPC provides individually-tailored, comprehensive treatment in three phases (acute, reactivation and integration) using highly skilled staff and state-of-the-art equipment. The aim is always to re-establish a patient’s personal functionality, self-image and lifestyle to the fullest possible extent, with a holistic approach to treatment that includes mental, physical and psycho-social aspects, such as career, family and leisure activities.

Specialist services available at the SPC include amongst others orthopedics, neuro-urology, pain medicine, sports medicine, prevention, clinical research, emergency medicine, vehicle conversion and rehabilitation techniques. Medico-therapeutic treatments, such as physiotherapy, ergotherapy and training therapy are available, alongside advice and counseling services, such as professional reintegration.

The SPC is the largest of Switzerland’s four special hospitals for paraplegics and tetraplegics located in Nottwil/Lucerne, a town in central Switzerland on the shores of Lake Sempach. The other three facilities are in Basel, Sion and Zurich. Nowadays, the SPC consistently treats more than 60 percent of people with spinal cord injury in Switzerland and is fully occupied year-round. 

Image SOURCE: Photographs courtesy of Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil, Switzerland.  Interior and exterior photographs of the hospital.

 

Below is my interview with Hospital Director Dr. Med. Hans Peter Gmünder, M.D., which occurred in March, 2017.

 As a privately owned clinic with a specialty in the rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries, how do you keep the spirit of research and innovation alive?

Dr. Med. (medicinae) Gmünder: The goal of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, an umbrella organization that encompasses the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, is to create a unique network of services for people with spinal cord injury, from primary care through to the end of their lives. Its aim is to provide comprehensive rehabilitation and to reintegrate those affected into family life, society and the working environment.

We want to maintain our pioneering and leading role in the fields of acute medicine, rehabilitation and lifelong assistance to people with spinal cord injuries. By providing a comprehensive network of services featuring solidarity, medical care, integration and lifelong assistance, as well as research all in one place, we are unique in Switzerland and in other countries around the world.

People with spinal cord injury rely upon our network of services, which are at their disposal throughout their lives. The challenge facing us is to continually adapt these services to reflect current research and treatment to comply with our mission of delivering high-quality services. The trust which has been placed in us obliges us to continue our success story.

We have our own research department, closely linked to the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, and dedicated employees who draw upon their wide-ranging professional networks to stay on top of the latest international research.

We have a few examples that we’d like to share with you.

  • In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its first international health report on the topic of spinal cord injury, “International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury.” It was developed in collaboration with Swiss Paraplegic Research in Nottwil and a team of international experts.
  • In the summer of 2014, the Swiss Paraplegic Centre became the first rehabilitation center in Switzerland to implement exoskeletons [external covering for the body that provides both support and protection] in the rehabilitation and training of patients with spinal cord injury. Our experiences are included in an international study, and will contribute to the development of useful mobility aids for people with spinal cord injuries.

At the end of October 2016, an estimated 9,000 visitors came to Nottwil for two days of celebrations to mark five anniversaries — the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation turned 40, the Swiss Paraplegics Association was 35, the Swiss Paraplegic Centre celebrated 25 years, Swiss Paraplegic Research reached 15 years, and it was the 80th birthday of the founder and honorary president, Dr. Med. Guido A. Zäch, M.D.

What draws patients to the Swiss Paraplegic Centre?

Dr. Gmünder: We support people with spinal cord injuries throughout their lives. It is the unique, holistic approach to acute medicine, rehabilitation and lifelong medical, professional and social assistance that draws patients from Switzerland and many other countries to our clinic in Nottwil.

For example, in cases where we have individuals involved in serious accidents, the comprehensive rehabilitation of a patient with spinal cord injury begins at the scene of the accident. The aim of comprehensive assistance follows in three stages – acute, reactivation and integration phase – through the appropriate, individual deployment of specialist personnel and instruments. We rescue the individual at the scene of the accident and provide the right acute therapy. What follows is an initial rehabilitation through specialists in diagnosis, surgery, therapy and care, and then comes lifelong support and care with the aid of specialists.

Following the disproportionately high percentage of people with tetraplegia admitted to the Centre for initial rehabilitation in 2014, our specialist clinic reported a higher proportion of people with paraplegia in 2015. Spinal cord injuries resulted from an accident in around half of all initial rehabilitation cases: falls led to the spinal cord injury in the case of 43 percent of people affected, sports accidents with 35 percent and road traffic accidents in 18 percent. In fact, 52,482 nursing days were clocked for a total of 1,085 in-patients who were discharged from the clinic after initial rehabilitation or follow-up treatment in 2015.

In fact, some of our patient success stories mentioned on our web site involve these individuals:

“I was a cheesemaker for 33 years with my own dairy; gardening was my second love. That was before I had my accident helping out on my son’s farm. I need a new hobby now that I will enjoy, that will fill my time and give me something to do when I get back home. Making art out of lime wood could appeal to me. While it is difficult for me to make the small cuts in the wood as I lack strength in my hand, patience will reap rewards. My most important objective? To be able to stand on my own feet and take a few steps again. I should have achieved that by the time I am discharged from the clinic in five months.” — Josef Kobler (58), tetraplegic following an accident.

“Since being diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, I come back to Nottwil a lot. For instance, to go the Wheelchair Mechanics Department to have the settings of my new wheelchair optimized. It replaces my legs and must fit my body perfectly. However, in most cases I attend the Centre for Pain Medicine of the SPC as an outpatient in order to have the extremely severe pains and muscle cramps, which I suffer from every day, alleviated. They became so severe that I had a pain pump with medication implanted at the SPC. It is apparent now that unfortunately the effect isn’t permanent. We are now giving electrostimulation a try. This involves applying electrodes to the vertebral canal. If I could finally get my pain under control, I would be able to return to work and set up my own business. That is my biggest wish. I have had an idea about what I could do.” — Hervé Brohon (41), paraplegic following an accident.

“I have always been passionate about cooking and have enjoyed treating my family and guests to my dishes and to the aperitifs that I have created myself. I absolutely want to be able to do that again. As independently as possible, of course. That is my objective. I have availed of the opportunity on a few occasions to try out the obstacle-free practice apartment and kitchen at the SPC. If I am able to go home in four weeks, my kitchen will also be adapted to be wheelchair-friendly. Whether I am cooking for two, four or six people is a much bigger consideration as a wheelchair user. I now have to consciously allow for time and effort. However, one thing is certain: I can’t wait to welcome my first guests.” — Isa Bapst (73), paraplegic following an accident.

How is the Swiss Paraplegic Centre transforming health care?

Dr. Gmünder: The Swiss Paraplegic Centre offers an integrated healthcare structure, including a wide range of medical specialists covering every aspect of medical care for those with spinal cord injuries.

In selected core disciplines for the care of people with spinal cord injuries, we also treat a large number of patients without spinal cord injuries. This relates primarily to pain medicine, spine- and spinal cord surgery and respiratory medicine.

In fact, the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, our umbrella organization, has been an unbelievable success story, operating a network of services to benefit people with spinal cord injury.

Our Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Sc. Techn. (scientiae technicarum) Daniel Joggi, knows what it’s like to become totally dependent as he has been in a wheelchair for the past four decades.

Dr. Joggi tells his story: “I have been a wheelchair user ever since I had a skiing accident 39 years ago. I know what it is like to become totally dependent from one second to the next. How doggedly you have to battle to recover as much of your mobility as possible and, more especially, to be able to live a self-determined life again after a long process of resilience. The inner resolve it takes to plot a new course in life, to have relationships with others from a different perspective and to acquire new job skills. Therefore, I am eternally grateful along with all the other people in Switzerland with paraplegia and tetraplegia for the help, support and great solidarity that allow the Foundation to deliver all the services which are so immensely valuable to us.”

At the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, a 24-hour emergency department is staffed to handle any emergency. Please provide your thoughts on this critical component of diagnosis and care for newly diagnosed patients.

Dr. Gmünder: Yes, our Centre is recognized by the Swiss Union of Surgical Societies as a specialist clinic for first-aid treatment of paraplegics.

Statistics and experience clearly show that in 80 out of 100 cases, the damage to the spine and the spinal cord is not definite immediately after an accident. In the first six hours, there are real chances to mitigate or even avoid an imminent cross-paralysis. After that it is usually too late.

In addition to transferring an individual directly to the SPC, appropriate acute care is another important criterion for the success of the individual affected by spinal cord issues. That means that individuals are in the right place for the subsequent, comprehensive rehabilitation.

The benefits for our patients are:

  • Emergency service around the clock by specialists trained to minimize damage to the spinal cord and spine;
  • Admission and treatment of all patients with paraplegia from all over Switzerland;
  • Specific knowledge and practical experience in comprehensive rehabilitation of paraplegics;
  • Comprehensive range of medical and therapeutic services under one roof;
  • Modern equipment for precise, careful diagnostics and operations;
  • Consultancy and network for external experts in areas not covered by the SPC;
  • Interdisciplinary work in well-established teams; and
  • Central location proximity and quick access from all parts of the country.

What is your connection to the Swiss Paraplegic Research and its mission of getting “strategy into research” and “research into practice?”

Dr. Gmünder: The Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPR), connected to the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, is part of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF) and is an integral part of the Nottwil campus.

It is the mission of Swiss Paraplegic Research to sustainably improve the situation of people with paraplegia or tetraplegia through clinical and interdisciplinary research in the long-term. The areas that are aimed to be improved are functioning, social integration, equality of opportunity, health, self-determination and quality of life.

Our Swiss Paraplegic Research has been supported by the Federal Government of Switzerland and by the Canton of Lucerne for eight years as a non-university research institution. We are proud of this accomplishment.

Our main research domains are in the areas of aging, neuro-rehabilitation, musculo-skeletal health, preserving and improving function of upper limbs, pain, pressure sores, respiration, urology and orthopedics.

The goal of Swiss Paraplegic Research is to promote the study of health from a holistic point of view, by focusing on the ‘lived experience’ of persons with health conditions and their interaction with society. We are, therefore, establishing a research network for rehabilitation research from a comprehensive perspective on a national and international level. This network will make it possible to practically apply the latest research findings to provide the best possible care and reintegration for people with paraplegia or tetraplegia.

This year, we received the approval of 18 new research projects and we had a total of 36 studies in progress under review, undertaken by and with the involvement of the Clinical Trial Unit (CTU), the department for clinical research at the Centre. For example, the successful implementation of a multi-center study on the use of walking robots (exoskeleton) merits special mention. Research was carried out in that study into the wide range of effects of maintaining movement for people with spinal cord injury.

The CTU will continue to carry out research in Rehabilitation Engineering in a cooperation with Burgdorf University of Applied Science and the research group headed by Professor Kenneth Hunt. The “Life and Care” symposium on breathing and respiration organized by the CTU provided a platform for an international knowledge exchange with national and international experts. This is crucial for further scientific development in respiratory medicine. In 2015, the CTU also launched the CTU Central Switzerland, in association with Lucerne Cantonal Hospital and the University of Lucerne. It supports clinics which are actively engaged in research with specific services, thereby enhancing Switzerland’s standing as a center of research.

How does the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation support your vision?

Dr. Gmünder: The Swiss Paraplegic Group includes the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, which was established in 1975, two partner organizations — the Benefactors’ Association and the Swiss Paraplegics Association, and six companies owned by the Foundation. Those six companies are the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, the Swiss Paraplegic Research, Orthotec AG, ParaHelp AG, Sirmed Swiss Institute of Emergency Medicine AG, Seminarhotel Sempachersee AG.

The Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, founded by Dr. Med. Guido A. Zäch in 1975, is a solidarity network for people with spinal cord injuries, unrivaled anywhere in the world. Its work is based on the vision of medical care and comprehensive rehabilitation for people with paraplegia and tetraplegia, with a view towards enabling them to lead their lives with self-determination and with as much independence as possible, supported by the latest advances in science and technology.

The unique network of services of the Foundation is a strategic mix of Solidarity, Research, Medicine and Integration and Lifelong Assistance. Let me elaborate on these services.

  • Solidarity
    • The Foundation provides a comprehensive range of services for every area of a person’s life who has a spinal cord injury. The Nottwil campus serves to be a center of excellence for integration, assistance and lifelong learning for our patients.
    • The Foundation ensures that its benefactors and donors are aware of our list of services and can support us longer term.
    • The Foundation establishes a national and international network that will guarantee better basic conditions for people with spinal cord injury.
    • The Foundation encourages training of specialized personnel in the field of spinal cord injury.
  • Research
    • The Foundation contributes to the sustainable improvement of health, social integration, equal opportunities and self-determination of people with spinal cord injury by carrying out rehabilitation research.
    • The Foundation works closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and encourages exchanges with universities and institutions locally and globally for the latest scientific findings and conducts academic training at the University of Lucerne.
    • The Foundation develops high-quality care standards for its patients.
  • Medicine
    • The Foundation offers all medical services needed for professional acute care and rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injury and encourages patients to become involved in their therapy and to take responsibility for their lives.
    • The Foundation strengthens relationships with partners in specific disciplines and local institutions to benefit people with spinal cord injury.
    • The Foundation is a member of committees with political influence to ensure that its patients receive highly specialized medical care.
  • Integration and Lifelong Assistance
    • The Foundation establishes a network throughout Switzerland to help people with spinal cord injury.
    • The Foundation offers comprehensive services to meet people’s needs to improve their integration into society.
    • The Foundation encourages people with spinal cord injury to lead an independent life and educate family and friends so they can provide the necessary support.

Moreover, in cases of hardship, the Foundation makes contributions towards the cost of walking aids, equipment and amenities for people with paraplegia and tetraplegia. It also takes on uncovered hospital and care costs.

 Current market research shows that the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation ranks among the three most highly rated aid organizations in Switzerland. Can you please elaborate on why?

Dr. Gmünder: That is true. The Foundation is highly rated in terms of goodwill, innovation, competence and effectiveness. In addition, it is regarded as undoubtedly the most competent organization representing people with disabilities in Switzerland, according to several market research surveys.

So that we can continue to meet the demand for our patients, families and other visitors, plans are under way to upgrade our clinic and hotel on our premises.

We generally have interest from visitors to visit our Centre. Our guided tours and events enabled the general public to see how the foundation concept is put into practice, day in, day out. In Nottwil, 160 guides provided more than 11,000 visitors with a glimpse into the operations at our specialist clinic.

Additionally, we organized more than 5,000 scientific meetings attended by more than 170,000 people in 2015. And our wheelchair athletes take part in two major competitions, the IPC Athletics Grand Prix and the UCI Para-cycling World Championships, at our Nottwil site. It is our hope to continue to motivate individuals with spinal cord injuries to be involved in healthy exercise.

Since you became Hospital Director, how have you changed the way that you deliver health care or interact with patients?

Dr. Gmünder: It is important to me that the patients and their needs are the focus of our efforts. As such, one of my main tasks is to align our processes with our patients.

Here are some examples:

We started construction with a newly expanded Intensive Care Medicine, Pain Medicine and Surgical Medicine department last year to provide patients with an expanded variety of cross-linked treatments.

Certified as a nationwide trauma center, our Swiss Spinal Column and Spinal Cord Centre has become increasingly recognized throughout the country with large numbers of non-paralyzed patients, who have severe spinal cord injury, being referred to our facility. It is under the medical leadership of the Head of Department Dr. Med. Martin Baur, M.D. This highly specialized acute care facility recently received certification as a specialist center for traumatology within the Central Swiss Trauma Network.

We believe in developing the next generation of professionals and our Department of Anesthesia was recognized as a center of further training; the first two junior doctors have been appointed and postgraduate courses in anesthesia nursing are already available.

Our Swiss Weaning Centre, where individuals learn to breathe without a machine, has brought specialists from Intensive Care Medicine, Speech Therapy, RespiCare and Spinal Cord Medicine even closer together in a new process structure for respiratory medicine. At the same time, the Swiss Weaning Centre reported increased referrals from university hospitals and private clinics, as well as numerous successes with patients who had proved to be difficult to wean from respiratory equipment.

Our Centre for Pain Medicine, one of the largest pain facilities in the country, reported a further increase in inpatient treatments. Epiduroscopy, which was introduced in 2014, has proved to be a success. It is a percutaneous, minimally invasive procedure which is used in the diagnosis and treatment of pain syndromes near the spinal cord.

We reached a milestone in tetra hand surgery. The team of our doctors has been consulting at two other spinal cord injury centers and have used these occasions to show doctors around the country what possibilities there are for improved hand and grip functions, leading to an enhanced quality of life.

In what ways do you rehabilitate the whole patient? Why is this important early on in treatment?

Dr. Gmünder: In accordance with our vision, we are not just focusing on physical rehabilitation but on the entire person in their social environment (leisure, work, housing, mobility). Due to our broad organizational structure, we have many resources at our disposal. The rate of reintegration for people who did their primary rehabilitation at the Swiss Paraplegic Centre is almost 65 percent – one of the highest in the world.

Because we work to address diagnosis, treatment and management of traumatic spinal cord injuries with our patients, we take great care in working with patients on their medical disabilities, physical disabilities, psychological disabilities, vocational disabilities, social aspects and any health complications. That means that we not only treat patient’s medically, but also we treat them through therapy and complementary medicine, such as art therapy, sports and water therapy and homeopathic medicine.

At the SPC, we nurture a culture which is characterized by common values and shared objectives, namely commitment, leadership, a humane approach, cooperation and openness and fairness in our dealing with one another and with our patients.

As you follow patients throughout their rehabilitation and treatment, what are you most proud of at the Centre? 

Dr. Gmünder: Research has shown that early referral of a patient with a traumatic spinal injury lessens the complications, shortens the length of time in the hospital and is, therefore, more cost-effective.

We are confronted by individuals every day whose abilities have been limited by disease, trauma, congenital disorders or pain – and we are focused on enabling them to achieve their maximum functional abilities. Our patients have a better outcome and quality of life, patient-focused treatment, ongoing case management, and lifelong care.

It’s important to emphasize that our comprehensive rehabilitation of individuals with spinal cord injuries begins on the first day after the accident or trauma. On one hand, the medical treatments with paraplegia or tetraplegia are performed by a multidisciplinary medical team. And on the other hand, it is our goal to give those individuals their personality and life structure as quickly – and as best – as possible. An individual’s medical condition affects their psychological, physical and social aspects of life.

We focus on individualized treatment for the greatest possible independence for our patients. When patients are satisfied with our work and its results, they can resume a self-determined life. That is our greatest joy.

Hans Peter Gmuender

Image SOURCE: Photograph of Hospital Director Hans Peter Gmünder, M.D., courtesy of Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil, Switzerland.

Hans Peter Gmünder, M.D.
Hospital Director

Hans Peter Gmünder, M.D., assumed the role of Hospital Director of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre in 2011.  He is a German-Belgian double citizen.

Previously, Dr. Gmünder was Chief Physician and Medical Director of the Rehaklinik Bellikon, a rehabilitation and specialist clinic for traumatic acute rehabilitation, sports medicine, professional integration and medical expertise for 10 years in the canton of Aargau, Switzerland. He began his career at the Swiss Paraplegic Centre in the 1990s as Assistant and Senior Physician, and later as Chief Physician and Deputy Chief Physician.

He completed a B.S. degree in Business Administration at SRH FernHochschule Riedlingen in 2010 and an M.D. degree at Freie Universität Berlin in 1987.

He is married to Sabeth and is the father of two children.

 

Editor’s note:

We would like to thank Claudia Merkel, head of public relations, Swiss Paraplegic Centre,  for the help and support she provided during this interview.

 

REFERENCE/SOURCE

The Swiss Paraplegic Centre (http:// www.paraplegie.ch), Nottwil, Switzerland.

Choosing the right rehabilitation facility is one of the most important decisions a survivor of a brain or spinal cord injury will make as the type and quality of care will have a significant impact on the patient’s long-term outcome. The top 10 rehabilitation centers in the United States are (http://www.brainandspinalcord.org/2016/04/15/top-ten-rehabilitation-hospitals-usa/):

  1. Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  2. TIRR Memorial Hermann
  3. Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation
  4. University of Washington Medical Center
  5. Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital
  6. Mayo Clinic
  7. Craig Hospital
  8. Shepard Center
  9. Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center
  10. Moss Rehab

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (https://www.sralab.org/new-ric), located in Chicago, Illinois, has been ranked as the number one rehabilitation hospital in the United States for the past 24 years by U.S. News and World Report. It is a 182-bed research facility that focuses solely on rehabilitation in many areas, including spinal cord, brain, nerve, muscle and bone, cancer and pediatric. For example, the rehabilitation course for patients with spinal cord injury requires precise medical and nursing expertise, respiratory and pulmonary care and sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. For several years, the hospital has dedicated investments in talent, space and equipment that attract a high volume of patients with challenging conditions. The high volume, diversity of condition and greater complexity enables them to expand their experience in helping patients recover from spinal cord injury. Primary goals for patients include the emergence of meaningful motor function, sensation, coordination and endurance, resolution of respiratory and vascular instability, and overall continued medical recovery from the injury or disease.

The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston (http://spauldingrehab.org/about/facts-statistics) is ranked number five in the country by U.S. News and World Report and number one in New England.  As a unique center of treatment excellence and a leading physical medicine and rehabilitation research institution, Spaulding Boston is comprised of major departments in all areas of medicine requiring rehabilitation. They are a nationally recognized leader in innovation, research and education.  The facility also has been the source of significant treatment innovations with dramatic implications for a range of conditions, including amputation and limb deficiencies, brain injury, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation and spinal cord injuries, to name a few. http://spauldingrehab.org/conditions-and-treatments/list.

Whether individuals are adjusting to a life-altering illness or recovering from a back injury, they will find the care they need within the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.  Rehabilitation specialists have the training, experience, resources and dedication to help individuals:

  • Regain function after a devastating illness or injury,
  • Develop skills to be active and independent when living with chronic illness and/or disability,
  • Recover from surgery, work and sports injuries, and
  • Grow to the fullest physical, emotional, cognitive and social potential. http://spauldingrehab.org/conditions-and-treatments/

The ACGME accredited Harvard Medical School/ Spaulding/ VA Boston Fellowship Program in  Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Medicine is a 12-month training program that offers advanced clinical training in SCI, a strong didactic component, and opportunities for research with protected elective time.  The curriculum is designed to provide exposure to the full spectrum of SCI care and includes rotations at VA Boston, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Brigham & Woman’s Hospital. Requirements include prior completion of an approved residency program in a specialty such as physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, internal medicine, family practice, surgery, or other specialties relevant to spinal cord injury.  http://spauldingrehab.org/education-and-training/spinal-cord-fellowship.

Specifically, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network is at the forefront of innovative treatment for major disabling conditions, including spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), other traumatic injuries, stroke, and neuromuscular disorders such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease. At Spaulding, the treatment goals go far beyond immediate rehabilitation to address long-term health and function, as well as giving patients encouragement and hope as they return to their lives in the community.

The hub of their spinal cord injury program is the Spaulding-Harvard Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) Rehabilitation Program, led by experts at Spaulding Boston, a Center of Excellence in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. With the guidance of their  physicians and other rehabilitation specialists and access to some of the most advanced technologies available today, their patients have the resources to strive for their highest level of neurorecovery – and to develop successful, enriching strategies for independent living.

When potentially life-altering spinal cord injury occurs, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network clinicians are dedicated to pioneering improved therapies that can make all the difference to a patient’s immediate and long-term recovery. Their goal is to support a patient’s return to an active, productive and fulfilling life.

Whether the spinal cord injury is due to traumatic injury or illness, their team of experts will develop a treatment plan in collaboration with the patient and family. Depending on the severity of the injury, their teams work on improving function in: walking, balance and mobility; speech, swallowing and breathing; thinking (cognition), behavior and safety; dressing, bathing and other activities of daily living; incontinence, bowel and bladder function.

Their commitment is to offer a full spectrum of rehabilitation services for adults and children with spinal cord injury:

  • Intensive, hospital-level rehabilitation with goal-directed therapy 3 – 5 hours a day, at least 5 days a week for inpatients.
  • Long-term care and rehabilitation for patients with complicating conditions.
  • Cutting-edge spinal cord injury technologies and therapeutic techniques.
  • Emphasis on family participation throughout the course of care. with an inpatient comprehensive training and education series.
  • Seamless transition to multi-disciplinary outpatient rehabilitation.
  • Coordination of care with Spaulding’s outpatient centers.
  • Vocational training, participation in research, support groups.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Network is the official teaching partner of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). The Spaulding network’s facilities are members of Partners HealthCare, founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The knowledge and expertise of this entire healthcare system is available to patients and caregivers. Their continuum of superb healthcare ensures that patients will find the care they need throughout their journey and the strength they need to live their life to the fullest.

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Other related articles were published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

2016

Use of Sensors, Data and Devices to improve Health, San Francisco, April 5-6, 2016: Wearable Tech + Digital Health Conferences

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/01/25/use-of-sensors-data-and-devices-to-improve-health-san-francisco-april-5-6-2016-wearable-tech-digital-health-conferences/

2015

New Spinal Cord Repair Strategy using 3D Cell Growth

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/10/31/new-spinal-cord-repair-strategy-using-3d-cell-growth/

Unsupervised, Mobile and Wireless Brain–Computer Interfaces on the Horizon

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/11/21/unsupervised-mobile-and-wireless-brain-computer-interfaces-on-the-horizon/

Diffuse optics detects spinal cord ischemia – Optics.org

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/05/07/diffuse-optics-detects-spinal-cord-ischemia-optics-org/

Essential for Rehabilitation

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/12/03/essential-for-rehabilitation/

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Women in Science

Acclaimed biologist Rosalind Franklin’s grave in Willesden United Synagogue Cemetery has been given listed status, Historic England announced in marking International Women’s Day this week. Franklin’s tomb commemorates her life and achievements – they include X-ray observations she made of DNA which contributed to the discovery of its helical structure by Crick and Watson in 1953. Meanwhile, Historic England has teamed with The Royal Society to highlight the achievements of 28 remarkable women noted for their achievements in the fields of chemistry, biology, physics and astronomy. The women’s stories have been explored and key historic locations mapped. They include the Marianne North Gallery in Kew Gardens (named for 19th century botanist Marianne North), the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital – founded in 1872 as the New Hospital for Women in London by Anderson, a suffragette and the first English woman to qualify as a doctor, and the Royal Academy of Arts where natural history illustrator and painter Sarah Stone was an honorary exhibitor in the 1780s.

This Week in London – Rosalind Franklin’s grave; American printmaking; and Disabled Access Day at royal residences….

 

12 incredible women you’ve never heard of who changed science forever

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

SOURCES

http://www.businessinsider.com/women-who-changed-science-2017-3/#cecilia-payne-gaposchkin-figured-out-what-the-sun-was-made-of-3

http://www.businessinsider.com/women-who-changed-science-2017-3?op=0#/#florence-bascom-helped-us-understand-how-mountains-form-1

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World,” by artist Rachel Ignotofsky.

 

  • 12 incredible women you’ve never heard of who changed science forever

    women in science lego female scientistShutterstock

    Sure, most people have heard of Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, Jane Goodall and Sally Ride.

    But for every female scientist whose work has been recognized and celebrated, there are thousands who have been accidentally or purposefully forgotten.

    For a few, that might change, thanks to a beautiful new book, “Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World,” by artist Rachel Ignotofsky.

    While she highlights some of the classic women in science, she’s also profiled some less familiar faces — and discoveries.

    Here are a dozen of our favorites.

    Meghan Bartels wrote an earlier version of this post.

    View As: One PageSlides

     

    Florence Bascom: Helped us understand how mountains form

    Florence Bascom (1862-1945) discovered her love for geology on a childhood trip with her father and a geologist friend of his.

    She worked for the US Geographical Survey, particularly specializing in the Piedmont Plateau between the Appalachians and the Atlantic coastal plain. She was voted one of the top 100 geologistsin 1906 in an edition of a magazine called, ironically, American Men of Science.

    In addition to her research, she also taught several important geologists of the next generation at Bryn Mawr College.

    Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Championed the ecological importance of The Everglades

    Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Championed the ecological importance of The Everglades

    President Clinton talks with Marjory Stoneman Douglas after presenting her with a Medal of Freedom.Doug Mills/AP

    Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998) moved to Miami to write for the Herald, where her father worked. She left to work for the Red Cross during World War I, then returned to the Herald before branching out on her own as a writer.

    She was able to see the value and importance of the Everglades despite finding them“too buggy, too wet, too generally inhospitable.” She wrote a book called “The Everglades: Rivers of Grass,” which raised awareness about the threats the ecosystem faced.

    She successfully led the opposition to an Army Corps of Engineers planthat would have reduced flooding but destroyed the Everglades. In addition to conservation, she also fought for women’s rights and racial justice.

    Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin: Figured out what the Sun was made of

    Celia Payne-Gaposchkin (1900-1979) was the astronomer who discovered that the sun is made of hydrogen and helium.

    She went to college in Britain for botany, then attended by chance a lecture given by a prominent physicist, which she found so intriguing she changed fields (the lecturer, Arthur Eddington, became an important mentor for her). She moved across the Atlantic to study at Harvard, where she spent the rest of her career.

    Her dissertation was called “the most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy.” In addition to our sun, she also studied variable stars, taking more than a million photographs of them with her team.

    Rita Levi-Montalcini: Made a breakthrough in understanding the nervous system

     

    Continue reading

    http://www.businessinsider.com/women-who-changed-science-2017-3/#cecilia-payne-gaposchkin-figured-out-what-the-sun-was-made-of-3

    http://www.businessinsider.com/women-who-changed-science-2017-3?op=0#/#florence-bascom-helped-us-understand-how-mountains-form-1

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