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OSU Center for Health Sciences News

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015

STATE Magazine: A primary approach to prescription drug abuse


The tragic death of Reggie Whitten’s son may ultimately play a part in saving the lives of many Oklahomans.

Thirteen years ago, the Oklahoma City attorney and philanthropist’s 25-year-old son, Brandon, died after crashing his motorcycle while driving under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol. Though grief-stricken, Whitten did not give up but he began to educate himself and others. In his son’s honor, he formed Fighting Addiction Through Education, or FATE, as a way to raise awareness and increase education about the serious epidemic, particularly in Oklahoma.

A longtime supporter of OSU Center for Health Sciences whose daughter graduated from OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2014, Whitten was invited to bring his poignant story to the medical school to launch a new course on addiction medicine. Read more.

AOA president to speak at OSU-CHS


John W. Becher, D.O., the 119th president of the American Osteopathic Association, will speak at OSU-CHS at noon on Friday, Oct. 23 in Dunlap Auditorium.

A board-certified emergency physician from Newtown Square, Penn., he developed the first emergency medicine program for the osteopathic profession at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is chairman of the department of emergency medicine at PCOM, director of osteopathic medical education at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, N.J. and adjunct professor of emergency medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Becher has held several AOA leadership roles, including as member of the editorial board of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, and is past president of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association.

OSU-CHS researcher studying link between hepatitis C, liver cancer


About 20 percent of all cancers in the world are caused by infections, but the exact nature of that link is poorly understood. Rashmi Kaul, Ph.D., associate professor of immunology at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, wants to determine how infectious diseases lead to the development of cancer.

“Some reports indicate that cancer-causing viruses can hijack the immune system and cause chronic infection and inflammation that lead to cancer,” she said. “I am particularly interested in the immune system, which is a defense system in our body that is supposed to fight infection and kill developing cancer cells.”

Kaul’s research is focused specifically on the role of the hepatitis C virus in the development of liver cancer. There are no vaccines for the virus and only limited treatments exist for chronic hepatitis C infection. Perhaps more importantly, survival rates for liver cancer are low, she said.

“The burning question in my lab is how does the hepatitis C virus evade the immune system and cause persistent infection that leads to the transformation of normal cells to cancer cells,” she said. Read more.

Hall presents interprofessional education activity at conference

Sarah Hall, D.O., right, and co-author Kristin Montarella, Pharm.D., recently presented their work on interprofessional education at a national conference in Virginia.
Sarah Hall, D.O., right, and co-author Kristin Montarella, Pharm.D., recently presented their work on interprofessional education at a national conference in Virginia.

Sarah Hall, D.O., assistant professor of family medicine and OSU-CHS Faculty Senate President, recently presented on innovative interprofessional education activity utilizing distance learning at the fall 2015 Interprofessional Education Collaborative Conference in Herndon, Va.

She co-authored and presented the educational material with Kristin Montarella, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacy practice at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Their work has been accepted to the MedEd portal.

Hall helped coordinate OSU-COM’s Developing the Physician curriculum and Interprofessional Education at OSU-CHS. Interprofessional education helps medical students prepare for collaborative health care with a variety of health care professionals and is an integral part of the Developing the Physician course.

Medical students learn to understand the core competencies of interprofessional education, which include values and ethics, roles and responsibilities, communication, teams and teamwork. Students interview a variety of health care professionals across Tulsa, participate in observed simulations and learn alongside SWOSU pharmacy students in order to fulfill IPE requirements.

Wagner featured at inaugural forensics and defense conference


Jarrad Wagner, Ph.D., associate professor of forensic sciences, recently spoke about field screening of homemade explosive devices during the inaugural Forensic Science in Defence and Security Symposium near London.

The two-day event featured Wagner and a number of international experts who focused on the application of forensic science to defense and security challenges, either evidential or intelligence. Cranfield University’s School of Defence and Security in Shrivenham hosted the event.

The intent of the symposium was to capture the current state of knowledge after Iraq, Afghanistan and the counter terrorism challenge of Al Qaeda within the context of wider forensic research and application. The aim was to develop new perspectives and challenge current thinking in a collaborative manner.

OSU-COM graduate named Texas Osteopathic Medical Association president


OSU-COM alumnus Steven Gates, D.O., was named president of the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association. The organization represents the professional interests of more than 5,000 osteopathic physicians and medical students in the state.

Gates is director of Graduate Medical Education at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. He also is director of medical education and the internal medicine residency program at the Corpus Christi Medical Center- Bay Area. In addition, he currently is vice-chair of the Texas Medical Foundation Health Quality Institute.

A member of Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators Board of Trustees, Gates has been a leader and mentor training medical students and residents for more than 17 years.