eNewsletter - News and Notes
Inpatient Unit Opens on Seventh Floor; Patient and Employee Kurt Holtzer Shares His Story
Kurt Holtzer never had a problem racing up multiple flights of stairs to respond to code calls for his job at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. But when he couldn't climb a single flight without doubling over to catch his breath in May 2012, he knew something was wrong.
After an initial diagnosis of asthma, and a battery of tests that lasted several weeks, he was diagnosed with myelogenous leukemia and myelofibrosis, as well as a genetic mutation putting him in a high-risk category for survival. Without treatment, doctors gave him three months to live. Click here to continue reading.
Nurse manager Michelle Kopp, R.N., (center) welcomes guests to the Cancer Institute inpatient unit opening. This new unit is located on the seventh floor of the hospital and is exclusively dedicated to adult cancer care.
Patient Kurt Holtzer, also an employee at the Medical Center, shares his story as part of the new unit opening. Diagnosed on Memorial Day 2012 with acute myelogenous leukemia and myelofibrosis, Kurt had chemotherapy followed by a peripheral blood stem cell transplant in September 2012. He recently celebrated one year of survivorship.
Kurt Holtzer becomes the first patient to ring the new bell, which later was mounted to the wall across from the nursing station. The bell symbolizes the end of a milestone for patients undergoing cancer treatment. The text mounted with the bell reads "Ring this bell. Three times well. Its toll to clearly say. My treatment's done. This course is run. And I am on my way!" Click here to view video.
New Cancer Care Partnership
Mount Nittany Health and Penn State Hershey Health System have joined together to create CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP, a partnership of Mount Nittany Health and Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, to provide state-of-the-art, personalized hematology, medical oncology and infusion services at the Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College.
"With Mount Nittany Health and Penn State Hershey working together, we are maximizing our relationship to jointly recruit more oncology physicians and specialists to State College and to improve access to cancer treatments for our patients that are fighting a cancer diagnosis," said Janet Schachtner, R.N., M.S.N., senior vice president, patient care services, Mount Nittany Health.
CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP provides benign and malignant hematology services, chemotherapy, biotherapy, immunotherapy, infusion services, coagulation medicine and treatment of oncologic malignancies with additional services to be added. A key service in the new Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion at Mount Nittany Medical Center, the practice provides the expertise of five oncologists and an advanced practice nurse all supported by certified oncology nurses and highly trained support staff from both organizations.
"This collaboration with Mount Nittany Health makes it easier for Centre County-area residents to gain access to the resources of our academic health center as close to home as possible," said Robin Wittenstein, Ed.D., FACHE, chief operating officer, Penn State Hershey Health System. "We know that coordinated cancer care results in improved quality and better health outcomes for patients. This program improves our ability to deliver that care."
In 2000, Mount Nittany Health became a member of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute and its search for the cure. In 2006, Mount Nittany Health, Penn State Hershey and State College-based cardiologists initiated interventional cardiology at Mount Nittany Medical Center, improving access to care during a heart attack and preventing myocardial infarctions through preventative interventions. In 2011, Penn State College of Medicine's University Park Regional Campus commenced its first cohort of third year medical students at Mount Nittany Medical Center.
New Appointments, Awards and Recognition
Cothren named administrative director of Cancer Institute
Shiyoko Cothren was named administrative director of Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. Since 2011, Cothren served as operations director for both the Department of Psychiatry and Cancer Institute. In this role, she works with Wafik El-Deiry, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P., interim director of the Cancer Institute, to provide leadership and operational oversight in all areas, including clinical offices, support services, patient care areas and Penn State College of Medicine staff. She also works with the Cancer Institute's research administrative director to coordinate all related grant and contract activity to ensure compliance and delivery of services.
Cothren has a Bachelor's degree from American University and a Master's of Healthcare Administration from the University of North Carolina. She is currently a senior instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and developed the curriculum for the residency programs' administrative rotation.
Anderson appointed associate director for population science
Roger Anderson, Ph.D., was recently appointed associate director for population science at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. Anderson is a tenured professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and chief of the Division of Health Services and Behavioral Research in the College of Medicine. He also serves as the program leader for the Cancer Control and Population Health Program at the Cancer Institute.
As associate director, Anderson provides strategic program oversight, research consultation and collaboration necessary to advance interdisciplinary research across the cancer control continuum within the Cancer Institute from prevention to survivorship. This includes formulating the direction and development of a cancer control research to target modifiable cancer risk and improve methods for access to optimal cancer detection, treatment and survivorship support within the population.
Anderson received his bachelor's degree in sociology from Michigan State University in 1984 and his doctoral training (Ph.D.) in 1992 from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in the field of public health. He was an assistant professor, associate professor and professor of social sciences and health policy in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine prior to joining Penn State University in 2007. He has been well-funded for the past twenty-five years by the NIH, ACS, and Komen Foundation, and leads a research team focused on understanding and reducing cancer disparities at the patient, health systems and community level.
Anderson has served on numerous national and international scientific review committees and the editorial boards of scientific journals. He has over 115 peer-reviewed manuscripts, fifteen book chapters and one edited book. Among his research accomplishments, he recently showed in 2013 a relationship between poverty and the incidence of late stage breast cancer in Appalachian communities including rural Pennsylvania. This type of research highlights the impact of poverty on health disparities including access to mammography, and begins to provide a rationale for impacting on cancer health care in this underserved population.
Anderson is the founding director of the Penn State University Master's of Public Health program that currently trains over forty graduate students to learn and apply public health methods to disease. He developed a pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training program and Core for our funded U01 Tobacco Centers for Regulatory Science (TCOR) program supported by FDA and NCI funds to advance cancer risk reduction at the national policy level.
Frazee named BMT program manager and clinical program coordinator manager
Belinda Frazee, R.N., M.S.N., recently accepted the position of bone marrow transplant program manager and clinical program coordinator manager in the Cancer Institute. Frazee started working at Penn State Hershey in November 2012 as a clinical head nurse on the Cancer Institute inpatient unit. Prior to joining Penn State Hershey, she spent three years working at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She brings fourteen years of hematology/oncology and bone marrow transplant experience.
Moldovan named 2013-2015 V Scholar by the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research
From left to right: Katherine Choe (graduate student), Erin Aho (research technician), Dr. Claudia Nicolae (postdoctoral research associate), Dr. George-Lucian Moldovan (assistant professor)
George-Lucian Moldovan, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and member of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute Experimental Therapeutics Program was awarded the V Scholar Career Development Grant from the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Founded in 1993 by the famous college basketball coach Jim Valvano and ESPN, The Jimmy V Foundation supports basic cancer research with the ultimate aim of eradicating this disease. Jim Valvano, diagnosed with terminal cancer at the young age of 46, recognized the need to invest in young physicians and scientists to help establish their careers. The V Scholar concept was developed in 1994 to address this need to help early-career cancer investigators develop into promising future research talents. Today, this highly respected award is eagerly sought by young scientists at the nation's leading cancer centers. The grants are $200,000, two-year commitments to enable talented young scientists to establish their laboratories and gain a competitive edge necessary to earn additional funding from other sources.
Moldovan will use the V Scholar award to investigate how DNA repair dysfunctions participate in cancer formation, with a major focus on leukemia. Cancer cells acquire genetic mutations with much higher frequency than normal cells. This genetic instability enables them to inactivate cellular mechanisms that would normally keep in check proliferation and growth, and became cancerous. Moldovan's laboratory previously described a novel mechanism that preserves genomic stability, centered on the DNA repair factor PARI. Recently, Moldovan found this mechanism to be improper in leukemia cells. The goal of his research is to understand how leukemia cells benefit from PARI dysregulation. This will allow designing improved strategies for leukemia treatment and prevention. Learn more about Moldovan's lab.