RPCI Groundbreaking for Clinical Sciences Center

Construction of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) Clinical Sciences Center kicked off today with a groundbreaking ceremony for the 11-story, 142,000-square-foot, $40 million state-of-the-art facility that will house enhanced clinical care resources to help RPCI save lives and find cures for cancer.
The Clinical Sciences Center will be located at Michigan and Carlton Streets. It is the first construction project for RPCI since 2007. It is also the first clinical expansion project underway for RPCI since 15 years ago.

The center will offer a breast center; an expanded mammography center (the capacity to conduct annual mammogram screening will increase to 10,000); a new chemo-infusion clinic; an adolescent and young adult clinic; patient education and survivorship programs to reach patients, caregivers and family members; and state-of-the-art office facilities and space for clinician-scientists to analyze data from clinical studies.

Out of the $40 million raised for the facility, $25 million was raised through the Making Room to Save Lives: The Campaign to Build a Greater Roswell Park – a Roswell Park Alliance Foundation initiative that also received $10 million from the Circle of Ten (a group of 10 Western New York business and philanthropic leaders). There were 425 donors that contributed to Phase I of the fundraising efforts, including Roswell Park employees who collectively donated more than $1 million and a $1.5 million donation from New Era Cap in November 2012.

RPCI Clinical Sciences Center Groundbreaking-1

The groundbreaking is said to put RPCI right on schedule to meet the needs of the growing number of patients served. Within the last 5 years, RPCI has experienced a 39% patient increase and a 58% rise in outpatient wp-contentointments over the last 10 years. Nationally known for its care for cancer patients, the increase is due to a number of factors including an aging population and growth in translational research breakthroughs.

In addition to being able to help patients in the future, the center will presently boost the economy by way of a Project Labor Agreement that has been wp-contentroved by 18 different local trades. This will lead to the use of  local contractors and labor for the shell, core and 4 clinical floors within the center. The Clinical Sciences Center will be responsible for the creation of more than 200 construction and 340 long-term full-time jobs.

The building, which will also be connected to the adjacent main RPCI hospital, is expected to be completed in 2015.

*Pictures from retrieved from RPCI Web site

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. Secures Nearly $400,000 to Support Alternative Transportation Efforts for 12,000 Employees

Banner Letterhead
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 8, 2013

For more information, contact:

Kari Bonaro, Director of Communications
kbonaro@bnmc-old.local or 716.218.7157

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. Secures Nearly $400,000 to Support Alternative Transportation Efforts for 12,000 Employees

Initiatives Designed to Reduce Employees Driving By Themselves to Work, Ensures Ample Patient Parking

(Buffalo, NY) – The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC, Inc.) has secured $393,432 through a combination of cost-shared research agreements from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), and two separate grants from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) Job Access-Reverse Commute (JARC) program over the past two years to advance alternative transportation efforts on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and surrounding neighborhoods.

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is a 120-acre home to the region’s top clinical, research, and medical education institutions, including Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the University at Buffalo, and nearly 60 private sector companies. More than 12,000 people come to work at the Medical Campus every day, an increase from 8,500 in 2008. An additional two million square feet of clinical, research and development space has been added in the past few years, with another two million square feet (and 5,000 more employees) slated to come online in the next five years.

This rapid growth has encouraged the BNMC, Inc., the not-for-profit charged with coordinating the sustainable planning, development, and enhancement of the growing urban campus, to get creative with the diverse ways they can encourage people to access the campus.

Some of these efforts include:

  • Launching GO BNMC, a campus-wide movement to support smart commuting;
  • Forming a transportation management association, a stakeholder group of both Medical Campus and community partners;
  • Strengthening partnerships with Buffalo CarShare and BikeShare and GObike Buffalo;
  • Conducting a mitigation study helping prioritize complete streets infrastructure projects around the Medical Campus to make the area more accessible by modes other than cars;
  • Forging a continued relationship with the NFTA that has already resulted in route changes and additions to better serve the BNMC population; and
  • Collaborating with other businesses and partners off of the Medical Campus, such as the Buffalo Sabres, to develop mutually beneficial transportation options.
  • Increasing the number of neighborhood residents employed at BNMC institutions by better informing them of the career and training opportunities available on and around the Medical Campus.

“Creating an accessible destination, including ample parking, for the more than one million annual patients and visitors is our first priority,” according to Bill Smith, Director of Campus Access. “To make this hwp-contenten, we realized we have to reduce the number of employees driving by themselves to work. It starts with changing behaviors. We were extremely fortunate that NYSERDA came on as a partner early on in this process. They’ve really enabled us to get our initiative off the ground and find additional funding partners to expand our offerings, including the federally-funded Guaranteed Ride Home program we will launch next month.”

At the beginning of 2012, wp-contentroximately 88 percent of the employees on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus drive to work by themselves.  However, surveys have shown that about 75 percent of employees would consider ridesharing and taking public transit if a ride home was guaranteed in an emergency. Another 50 percent of employees said that financial incentives and rewards would help make a difference in changing their commuting behavior.

“The alternative transportation options being offered to Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus employees complement the innovative transportation programs the state is utilizing to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA. “Governor Cuomo has stressed that public-private partnerships like this one are the cornerstone to creating a more robust economy and a sustainable environment.”

For this incentive program, NYSERDA had partnered with the New York State Department of Transportation.

“By expanding the transportation options available to employees at the Buffalo Niagara Medical campus, we will enhance safety and mobility for thousands of commuters each day and improve their quality of life,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, innovative partnerships like this one are making transportation improvements that have lasting benefits, improving highway safety, encouraging economic growth and protecting air quality and the environment.”

The BNMC, Inc. has set goals to reduce the percentage of employees driving to work by 13 percent over the next five years and up to 25 percent by the year 2030. Since launching the GO BNMC, an online alternative commuter toolkit, in September 2012, more than 360 employees have already signed up. BNMC, Inc.  plans on at least doubling this number with a full scale marketing campaign coming this spring.

Providing as many quality transportation options as possible not only begins to help solve the looming employee parking challenge, it also supports the overall BNMC sustainability goal of ensuring employees have the ability to choose greener, healthier, and more affordable options to get to work.

A breakdown of the three grants include:

Transportation Management Association (TMA) and TDM Toolkit  ($120,999 cost-shared research agreement  through NYSERDA/NYSDOT ) This is for the establishment and first year activities of a Transportation Management Association (TMA) that works to advance the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies of the BNMC. Members of the TMA include: BNMC, Inc., representatives from the Medical Campus institutions, NYSERDA, NYSDOT, NFTA, GBNRTC, BUDC, GoBike Buffalo and Buffalo Carshare. The TMA works to demonstrate the effectiveness of TDM strategies in reducing the number of vehicle miles traveled, enhancing alternative transportation options, and increasing mobility of the BNMC community.  This is done through the development and production of marketing and educational materials and a web-based toolkit (online at www.gobnmc-old.local) to educate employees on their options, enhancing these transportation options, providing free and reduced NFTA transit passes to incentivize new riders, and free Buffalo CarShare and GoBike memberships.

Guaranteed Ride Home  ($36,253 funded through FTA JARC ) The program will provide employees of the BNMC who do not drive alone to work with a timely and free means of transportation (i.e., taxi rides)  in the event of a personal or family emergency, illness or unexpected employment-related delay, such as an unscheduled overtime. This program is designed to promote the use of transit, ridesharing, and alternative modes among BNMC employees by providing a safety net for those who do not drive to work.

Community Transportation Program ($206,180 funded through FTA JARC and $30,000 in local donations) This program is a collaborative effort between the BNMC, Inc., Buffalo CarShare, and GoBike Buffalo to facilitate and encourage the use of alternative transportation modes and public transit among employees on the BNMC and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, the Program aims to increase the number of neighborhood residents employed at BNMC institutions by better informing them of the career and training opportunities available on and around the Medical Campus. This grant includes funding for a state-of-the art, secure, and dry bicycle storage facility located at the corner of Virginia and Ellicott Streets, designed by local architect Brad Wales and currently under construction.

About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC, Inc.) is the umbrella organization created in 2001 by the anchor institutions located within the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The BNMC, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that fosters conversation and collaboration among its member institutions, the 55+ private sector companies on the Medical Campus, 12,000 employees, and the community; coordinates activities related to sustainable planning, development and enhancement of its 120-acre space; and works to create a distinct, innovative environment that provides opportunities for entrepreneurship and active and healthy living. The BNMC, Inc. also works with partners throughout the community to develop healthier, greener, and more economical transportation solutions to meet the needs of our growing urban campus and the region as a whole.

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John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital Mock-Up Rooms Revealed

CHOB Mock Room News ConferenceSeven new mock-up rooms were revealed during  a tour inviting the media to view how rooms within the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital may look.
The mock-up rooms shown have walls erected, and some include installed equipment. The rooms presented were the neonatal intensive care unit; pediatric intensive care unit; pre/post operative room; labor and delivery room; an ED urgent care room; medical/surgical/mother-baby room; and an operating room.

Design for the rooms is physician-, nurse-, clinical and support staff-, patient- and family member-inspired. A part of 27 user-groups total, those who provided feedback had it incorporated into the initial mock-up designs in order to meet the needs of its primary users and to provide the best possible care. Additional feedback from the user-groups regarding the mock-ups will help to determine design suggestions to consider. The groups have signed-off in agreement with the interior design and floor plans for the new hospital, completing the design and development phase of planning. The Physician-led Steering Committee and user-groups will move forward with the development of new process flows for patient care and other hospital operations for the Children’s Hospital, and the ambulatory care center to be housed within Ciminelli Real Estate’s medical office building, Conventus.

Spacious and more aesthetically pleasing, the hospital’s room infrastructure is being designed to accommodate new technology as well. In addition to being able to offer input, the  groups get to use the newly constructed rooms to help develop new processes to deliver care within them. The goal for the hospital is for it to be recognized as the most innovative, highest quality, highest value provider and partner, and the regional referral center for women and children’s care for Kaleida Health in Western New York and beyond.

View a live webcam image of the construction site for the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and Conventus, which will be connected by bridges on the second and third floors to the new hospital. It is expected to open in 2016.

(Top Right Photo – Dr. Teresa Quattrin, Pediatrician-in-Chief at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and UB Distinguished Professor, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Allegra Jaros, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo provides an update on plans for the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.)

SSO 2013 Lineup Includes 5 Talks by Roswell Park Cancer Institute Physicians

Presentations by RPCI surgeons cover issues of biomarker identification, quality improvement, treatment decisions

Five Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) physicians were invited to give oral presentations on cancer research March 8 at the 66th annual Cancer Symposium of the Society of Surgical Oncology, an international society for cancer surgeons. They were among 10 RPCI physicians who presented at this year’s meeting in National Harbor, MD. The symposium is a major annual meeting where new advances in cancer care are presented.

John M. Kane III, MD, FACS, Chief of the Melanoma/Sarcoma Service within the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “High Risk Soft Tissue Sarcoma Biomarker Expression Patterns and Outcome Following Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation” (abstract 64; session: Sarcoma). Dr. Kane, a member of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) sarcoma working group, presented research performed through his RTOG Translational Research Program grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Because outcomes for patients with “high-risk” soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) — those tumors that are large, deep and high-grade — are often poor, high priority has been placed on identifying biomarkers that might predict response to therapy and survival. Dr. Kane and a multi-institutional team of collaborators created tissue microarrays using pre- and post-treatment STS tumor samples from participants from two clinical research studies, looking to see how treatment impacted levels of seven different biomarkers. They found that two biomarkers, CAIX (carbonic anhydrase IX) and GLUT 1 (glucose transporter 1), decreased following neoadjuvant chemoradiation. The researchers also found that increased post-treatment p53 expression correlated with a higher chance of cancer recurrence.

“We’re always looking for ways to determine which patients might truly benefit from chemotherapy, sparing other patients that do not need it the potential side effects,” notes Dr. Kane. “In addition, these microarrays can also be used to identify new targeted therapies for these often-deadly sarcomas.”

Co-authors are Qiang Zhang, PhD, Asha George, MS, and William Kraybill, MD, of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, Philadelphia, PA; Thomas DeLaney, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; Alex Klimowicz, PhD, of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Anthony Magliocco, MD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; and Jeff Simko, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.

Shicha Kumar, MD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “Clinical Impact of Real Time Reporting Using the Commission on Cancer’s Rapid Quality Reporting System: Is It Worthwhile?” (abstract 55; session: Quality Improvement/Clinical Outcomes).

Quality-control measures have been shown to correlate with improved cancer outcomes, yet deviations from desired standards of care often go undetected or are discovered late, limiting or preventing opportunities for effective intervention. The research team set out to assess the clinical impact of the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS), a tool developed by the Commission on Cancer for alerting providers to wp-contentroaching deviations from predetermined quality measures. They found that while relatively few deviations from standards occurred, RQRS is an easy-to-use tool for proactively identifying and improving delivery and documentation of cancer care.

“Our analysis shows the Rapid Quality Reporting System to be a helpful and reliable safety mechanism for identifying patients at risk for lapses in wp-contentropriate care,” Dr. Kumar says. “The providers we surveyed indicated that the system spurred more effective teamwork and improved documentation, and resulted in reduced concern over insufficient or delayed follow-through.”

Co-authors are Marian Betrus, Jaemi Fitzgerald, Camille Rinaldo, Kassia Delgado, Linda Hauck and Stephen Edge, MD, all of RPCI.

Moshim Kukar, MD, a clinical fellow in the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “Fostering Coordinated Survivorship Care in Breast Cancer: Who is ‘Lost to Follow-Up’?” (abstract 57; session: Quality Improvement/Clinical Outcomes).

Patients who stop scheduling or showing up for wp-contentointments are a concern for many oncology providers. They are considered “lost to follow-up” (LTFU) when they stop seeking services or ongoing monitoring from a facility without having a transfer-of-care plan in place. Dr. Kukar and colleagues looked at nearly 13 years of RPCI records for patients treated for breast cancer, classifying them as LTFU if they had a two-year gap in visits to the facility. They then looked at patient, tumor and treatment characteristics to see whether any particular factors were correlated with LTFU status. They identified five characteristics associated with increased incidence of care abandonment: older age, earlier-stage disease, living longer distances from the facility, having no need for additional adjuvant therapies and absence of recurrence.

“We know that many breast cancer patients will self-triage away from oncology care and follow-up,” says Dr. Kukar. “This research shows that we have a real opportunity to prospectively identify who these women are so we can better assist them with the transfer of care to other providers and make sure that continuity of care is maintained.”

Co-authors are Nancy Watroba, MPA, Austin Miller, PhD, Dr. Kumar and Dr. Edge, all of RPCI.

Jacqueline Oxenberg, MD, a clinical fellow in the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy to Define Biologic Behavior Prior to Resection of Primary Angiosarcoma” (abstract 71; session: Sarcoma).

In a retrospective review of RPCI patients treated for angiosarcoma, a rare and biologically aggressive tumor, the research team tested their hypothesis that neoadjuvant chemotherapy would provide insights that could help guide treatment decisions, particularly by defining those who would not benefit from more involved, higher-risk surgeries. They found that chemotherapy administered preoperatively was well tolerated and significantly decreased tumor size, decreased the number of surgeries needed to control tumors and was not associated with any increase in complications.

“We now have evidence that giving chemotherapy prior to surgical removal of angiosarcoma tumors allows us to better identify which patients would benefit most from surgery,” Dr. Oxenberg explains. “It’s an wp-contentroach that wp-contentears to be both effective and easy to implement.”

Co-authors are Dr. Kane, Nikhil Khushalani, MD, Kilian Salerno May, MD, and Kristopher Attwood, PhD, all of RPCI.

Timothy Platz, MD, is first author on “The Use of Modified 4-Dimensional Computed Tomography in 100 Consecutive Patients with Primary Hyperparathyroidism: An Argument for the Abandonment of Sestamibi SPECT” (abstract 25; session: Endocrine Cancer).

For many years, the vast majority of providers performing parathyroidectomy have used ultrasound and/or Sestamibi SPECT imaging technologies to help identify abnormalities and guide surgical planning. Looking at patients treated at RPCI between December 2010 and July 2012, Dr. Platz and colleagues performed a comparative analysis to determine whether a newer imaging option, 4-Dimensional Computed Tomography (4D-CT), might be an effective alternative to those standard imaging technologies. The team found that a modified form of 4D-CT, adapted to include volume rendering highlights the parathyroid abnormality in relation to neighboring structures, was superior to sestamibi SPECT and ultrasound, with similar levels of radiation exposure.

“We found that this modified 4D-CT wp-contentroach was much more reliable than the other modalities in providing a preview of the anatomy that we’d encounter when actually performing the surgeries,” notes Dr. Platz. “The distinctions between these wp-contentroaches proved to be so significant that we can present a persuasive case for other providers to consider abandoning sestamibi SPECT for these types of cases.”

Co-authors are Ahmed Abdelhalim, MD, Adrienne Groman and William Cance, MD, all of RPCI.

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

Brain Imaging to Identify Physical Reasons Why IBS Symptoms Improve with Drug-free Treatments

UB researchers and colleagues will correlate objective measures of brain changes with patients’ reports of relief from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Patients who suffer from the painful, often disabling, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often are surprised to find that behavioral changes, not drugs, provide significant relief. Jeffrey Lackner

Now, researchers at the University at Buffalo who have pioneered some of these behavioral treatments, along with colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Northwestern University, are using functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reveal the biological basis for the relief. The research could help doctors choose the best treatment method for individual patients and could improve the quality of life for millions of people with IBS.

“We’re going to look at biological mechanisms that underlie these non-drug treatments, to discover what is going on in the brain that explains treatment benefits achieved by teaching patients specific skills to control and reduce their symptoms,” says Jeffrey M. Lackner, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a project principal investigator. “By using a brain scan to compare brain activity before and after treatment, we expect to get a picture of changes in the brain that correspond to improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms.”

The work is funded by a $2.3 million grant to UCLA, the lead institution; Northwestern; and UB by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It builds on the work of UCLA researchers at its Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress and a pilot neuroimaging study conducted by Lackner and colleagues at UB.

The brain imaging study came about partly as a result of a major, $8.9 million, seven-year, multi-site clinical trial Lackner is leading at UB to test behavioral treatments in IBS patients. It is the largest IBS clinical trial conducted to date and one of the largest behavioral trials ever funded by the NIH without a drug component. Developed at UB, these treatments are regarded as some of the most powerful treatments available to IBS sufferers.

Lackner is currently recruiting IBS patients for the behavioral and imaging studies at the Behavioral Medicine Clinic of the UB Department of Medicine at Erie County Medical Center. For more information on participating in one of the studies, call 716-898-4458 and leave a name, telephone number and convenient times to be contacted.

IBS is among the most common, disabling and intractable gastrointestinal disorders. Twice as common among women as men, it is estimated to affect between 25 million and 50 million Americans. Symptoms include pain, stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation.

“We’re excited about the possibility of providing the first evidence for biological markers that correlate with treatment-induced symptom changes, and developing a better understanding of the mechanism behind IBS,” says Lackner. “Such cutting-edge translational research is going to help foster individualized, specific treatments for patients.”

One treatment developed at UB aims to control symptoms by changing specific thinking patterns and behaviors found to aggravate IBS. Using state-of-the-art brain-imaging methods, UCLA researchers, under the leadership of Emeran Mayer, MD, hope to identify the biological mechanisms underlying their effectiveness. Mayer is a professor of medicine and psychiatry at UCLA, director of the Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and principal investigator of the imaging study.

Scientists believe that IBS symptoms are the result of dysregulation of brain-gut interactions, resulting in abnormal muscle contractions in the gut and heightened sensitivity to painful stimuli.

“Just as faulty wiring between the neural connection of the brain and gut can bring on symptoms, so learning new ways of thinking and behaving may ‘rewire’ brain-gut interactions, resulting in reduced pain and bowel symptoms that otherwise take a major toll on patients,” says Lackner. “Determining whether behavioral treatments work by targeting specific areas of the brain that have a direct effect on gut function and sensation is a major goal of this study.”

Correlating structural brain changes with symptom reduction is, for both Lackner and Mayer, a primary goal that they say will demonstrate an ‘organic’ component to IBS, which is critical. “IBS is often unfairly dismissed as a psychosomatic condition,” says Mayer. “These findings will be important in dispelling the notion once and for all that IBS symptoms are not real and are ‘only psychological.’”

Lackner’s UB’s colleagues on the study include Michael Sitrin, MD, professor, Christopher Radziwon, PhD, research assistant professor, Greg Gudleski, PhD, clinical research assistant professor, Leonard Katz, MD, professor emeritus and Rebecca Firth, senior research support specialist, all in the Department of Medicine and Susan Krasner, PhD, clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology.

Ellen Goldbaum (UB); goldbaum@buffalo.edu; 716.645.4605

Roswell Park in Top 6% of U.S. Centers for Blood and Marrow Transplant

RPCI’s BMT patient results superior to expected outcomes

For the third consecutive year, outcomes for patients receiving blood and marrow transplants through the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) are among the best in the nation. The latest report compiled by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) puts RPCI in the top 6% of U.S. centers performing allogeneic blood and marrow transplants, based on patient survival rates.

Allogeneic blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) involves infusion of bone marrow or blood cells from a donor, and is commonly used to treat many blood cancers, including some forms of leukemia, multiple myeloma and lymphoma. The CIBMTR (website: http://www.cibmtr.org) is an international research organization that collects and publishes data from centers that perform blood and marrow transplants. Its 2012 report includes outcomes data for 169 U.S. centers. The report, which analyzed related and unrelated donor BMTs performed between 2008 and 2010, places RPCI among 10 centers whose one-year survival results were above what could be expected based on the level of acuity or risk represented among the transplanted population.

The RPCI population was once again assigned to the highest risk category, indicating that the Institute’s BMT cases during the period covered were among the most complicated. Factors such as degree of tissue match/mismatch between donor and recipient and the type of transplant being performed can add risk to these already-complex procedures.

“These outcomes, which have been consistently high for the last three years, are a direct product of the multidisciplinary interaction on which our care is based,” noted Theresa Hahn, PhD, an Associate Professor of Oncology at RPCI and Director of Quality Assurance for the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. “Our outstanding clinical team has put every effort into constantly improving the experiences of our patients, and that work involves many of Roswell Park’s teams, including our Department of Medicine clinicians, nursing staff, case management, our blood cell apheresis and processing lab, the departments of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, Radiation Medicine, Radiology and Psychosocial Oncology, our clinical pharmacy staff, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians and housekeeping staff.”

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

UB Medical School to Develop Tools for Cloud-Based Simulations of Patient Visits

UB is one of eight institutions in the U.S. chosen to write patient cases

The American Medical Association is providing funding to support the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and other institutions in a national consortium to develop simulated, interactive “encounters” with virtual patients to supplement the education of students in the third year of medical school.

The i-Human Patients platform is a cloud-based service for medical students that simulates a patient visit. Students use the software to interview and examine animations of patients, order and review diagnostic tests, develop diagnostic hypotheses and create a treatment plan. Online guidance and comprehensive feedback occurs at every step of the process.

Avery Ellis, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and physiology and senior associate dean for medical curriculum at UB, is one of 8 faculty members at prestigious institutions throughout the U.S., who will be working together to develop simulations for internal medicine. Ellis and Susan J. Gallagher, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at UB and director for internal medicine clerkships in the third and fourth years, will be writing cases on chest pain, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, edema, electrolyte abnormalities, syncope, dizziness and hyperlipidemia.

The new cases are expected to be completed, peer-reviewed and included in the curriculum that third-year medical students at UB experience starting in July, Ellis says.

“These very sophisticated patient simulations will round out the education of third-year medical students,” says Ellis. “For our students, working on these patient simulations, complete with actual test results and realistic clinical data, such as audible heart sounds, angiograms and ultrasound studies, is far more beneficial than just reading about the same disease in a textbook.”

The cases are being prepared by faculty at UB and at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Northwestern University, Tufts University, Rush University and Stony Brook University.

“These interactive web-based patient encounters will nicely complement the other kinds of experiences our students are getting at UB’s Behling Simulation Center,” Ellis adds.

“The American Medical Association is funding the development of medical school cases and other interactive content for the i-Human Patients educational services platform because we see a need to accelerate student training in patient assessment and diagnostic skills,” says James Madara, chief executive officer/education vice president for the AMA.

i-Human Patients Inc. is a designer and developer of “virtual” medical training products and services.

Ellen Goldbaum (UB); goldbaum@buffalo.edu; 716.645.4605

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