As police brutality toward communities of color continues to make national headlines with protests, riots, and trials, Paula Anderson-Worts, D.O., M.P.H., assistant dean of faculty and alumni affairs, along with Elaine M. Wallace, D.O., M.S., M.S., M.S., M.S., dean, have created a program that will promote cultural sensitivity and address the impact of racial injustice and racism in the United States.
The program, titled the KPCOM Unity Program for Change, has involved KPCOM faculty and staff members, as well as students, with the goal of serving as a catalyst for ongoing change toward equality and justice for all. The program began in July, with its first Zoom meeting being a dialogue on racial injustice. The program has since followed with various Zoom meetings with speakers on racial consciousness, discussion groups on healing, taking action, and racial consciousness and Zoom group discussions on related topics—all with the hope of galvanizing others to work to educate, unify, and advocate for change that will help eliminate systemic racism and inequality.
With Miami, Florida being a hot spot for COVID-19, areas with large populations of BIPOC in the city lack the funds to keep up with sanitation and protective equipment for its residents. This was witnessed by second-year student Yara Khalifa as she assessed the historic Overtown community while working on a project in her NSU Master of Public Health degree program.
“What I found was that the government, on all levels, conspired to destroy this vibrant community,” Khalifa explained. “Due to prevailing racism, the government systematically persecuted and ruined Overtown by running a bunch of highways through it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had purposely done that to African American homes and businesses in an attempt to disenfranchise and resegregate.”
As Khalifa learned more about the community along with her grocery drive volunteering at the Masjid Al-Ansar’s mosque—a pillar in the African American Muslim community in Overtown—she learned about the mask shortage and wanted to help. Resistance was met with many of the South Florida mosques due to colorism, which led Khalifa to follow her own life mantra of, “Well, I’m just going to do it myself.”
Through raising awareness in various channels, Khalifa surpassed her initial goal of 1,000 masks, and the mosque’s request of 200, by purchasing around 1,200 masks through monetary and shipped efforts. The masks are to be distributed on the second and fourth Saturday of each month at Masjid Al-Ansar’s grocery food drive in Overtown, with a second mask initiative to follow when the community runs out.
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a worldwide crisis, the country of Yemen has been dealing with another humanitarian catastrophe—the largest cholera outbreak in modern history. The Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, classes of 2023 and 2024, led by second-year student Aneil Tawakalzada, class of 2023 president, and the second-year class boards at both campuses have come together to raise funds for the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation.
Through social media awareness, academic society competitions, and the use of bingo templates for fundraising, the campaign surpassed its initial goal of $17,000 by raising more than $21,000. Funds will go toward providing water filters (to prevent cholera) and food baskets (to prevent malnutrition) for the people of Yemen. Due to the success of the initiative, student leaders partnered with AMBOSS & Sketchy, a medical knowledge platform, who agreed to providing free board prep academic resources to four medical students in Yemen.
As the campaign draws to a close on September 6, it is well on its way to its next fundraising goal of $25,000.
Three Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine students— Class of 2020 alumna Gabriela Lins, D.O.; OMS-III Collin Tacy; and OMS-IV Jason D. Vadhan—earned awards at the David A. Paulus, M.D., Poster Symposium held during the virtual Florida Medical Association (FMA) 2020 Annual Meeting during July 31–August 2. Below are the KPCOM winners and their respective categories.
CLINICAL CASE CATEGORY
First Place: Gabriela Lins
“Pediatric Leukocoria: What You See Is Not Always
What You Get—Understanding Persistent Fetal Vasculature”
Third Place: Collin Tacy
“Total Rightward Mediastinal Shift Due to Recurrent Type 1 Hiatal Hernia,
Misdiagnosed as Congenital Dextrocardia for Decades”
First Place: Jason D. Vadhan
“Multi-Institutional Analysis of Anterior Skull Base Meningioma Resection Approaches”
Carisa Champion, D.O., J.D., M.P.H. (‘16), is working in Los Angeles, California on the long-running TV show Grey’s Anatomy as a medical adviser and a surgical communications fellow. She will help accurately portray surgical procedures and guide the direction of surgical storylines as the show will take another dramatic turn when its 17th season premieres—focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic as the season’s overarching plot point. Additionally, Champion taught her first course as an adjunct professor—Professional Ethics and Health Law—for the KPCOM’s Master of Science in Medical Education program. Champion also serves on the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners’ COMLEX PE Committee.
On May 28, NSU’s New Program Review Committee approved the Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics program, which will commence in fall 2021. The program is a collaboration between the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (KPCOM) and the NSU College of Computing and Engineering (CCE).
Students can expect a rich undergraduate curriculum, where they will have an opportunity to apply core concepts of health informatics to myriad fields, including mental health, public health, nutrition, clinical practice, private sector, and non-health professions. B.S. in Health Informatics students will have a few choices in the degree paths they can take, such as pursuing a straight four-year degree or a dual-admission in the B.S. in Health Informatics and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine programs.
The B.S. in Health Informatics program looks forward to working with the CCE as educators, mentors, and guides for incoming students on their academic journey. The program will offer an interdisciplinary curriculum that is focused on cultivating and developing health information technology (HIT) knowledge, skills, and attitudes, allowing graduates to pursue successful and meaningful careers in HIT.
Graduates will be able to interpret, gather, clean, analyze, and present HIT data and information while
acquiring the necessary applicable knowledge and skills to create or enhance existing HIT processes and systems—improving health care organizational operations while meeting their goals. Students will learn to recognize the importance of lifelong learning and be a champion of HIT adoption.
As a supplement to the already-existing South East Area Marine Industry Safety Training (SEAMIST) grant, the KPCOM’s Department of Emergency Medicine’s SEAMIST team received additional funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for COVID-19 training. The grant was awarded as a collaborative project with Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The Department of Emergency Medicine will receive $135,000 of the $172,000 awarded.
SEAMIST trainings typically address marine industry workers’ awareness of hazardous waste materials and how to handle the chemicals they deal with in their work environments. Due to the pandemic, free COVID-19 awareness trainings will include topics such as workplace exposure, prevention, and virus protection.
Since the trainings began, 10 sessions have been done via Zoom and encompassed more than 700 participants. The four-hour training sessions are done with a live trainer and will continue through July 31, 2021.
Interested participants can contact Philyppe Carre at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On July 27, the class of 2024 students began their osteopathic odyssey by opening their laptops and diligently watching lectures from their homes. Though a different experience than expected without the traditional white coat ceremony or orientation week, the first-year students at both the Fort Lauderdale/Davie and Tampa Bay Regional campuses remained excited. To replicate the classroom experience in some form, they took to social media to document the process of getting their scrubs and white coats delivered, taking photos on campus, meeting their new academic society peers, and sharing their thoughts on their first week of medical school.
One of the many safety measures NSU-KPCOM has instilled during the COVID-19 pandemic is the continuation of online classes with its bachelor’s, master’s, and D.O. programs. The D.O. curriculum has undergone the most changes, as classes have been rearranged to front-load lectures and backload laboratories.
While some lab experiences have been converted to an online platform, all classes requiring interpersonal contact have been moved to the winter term for the time being. With exams, lectures, and rotations converted to online, the college has made sure all student services will be available via Zoom, such as counseling (career, academic, and financial), tutoring, and psychological support, along with the use of campus buildings with masks and social-distancing guidelines in place.
If the college decides to offer in-person classes, it will be an option for students to select during the fall term—not a requirement. The KPCOM aims to resume its usual operations in-person in January 2021.
KCPOM students continue to aid the community during the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on various initiatives, such as providing care packages for frontline heroes. In July, the KPCOM’s American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP) club delivered items to six emergency rooms in South Florida, including Broward Health Medical Center, Kendall Regional, Mount Sinai, Memorial Regional, Memorial West, and Westside Regional.
The packages were meant to give back to emergency medicine physicians and ER staff members who have been serving various roles as mentors and educators during the pandemic. The packages included food items such as granola bars, energy drinks, and an assortment of snacks to fuel local ER teams during an especially demanding time.
The funding came from a joint effort between the ACOEP and the Society of Medical Oncology. “With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, and the large demand once again being placed on our local health care system, we are interested in planning another care package drop-off in the future to continue to show support for our community,” said second-year student Veronica Abello, the KPCOM’s ACOEP president.
Most people are very vigilant about protecting themselves from the COVID-19 virus. Yet, tobacco smoking still remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in our society.
There has never been a greater need for smokers to seek the help they need in quitting tobacco use or vaping than now during this COVID-19 pandemic. Medical experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the American Lung Association agree in highlighting this urgent need.
Quitting smoking tobacco or electronic cigarettes can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection through less-frequent hand-to-mouth contact. It can also offer smokers the opportunity to build up their defenses in case they contract COVID-19, such as through improved lung function and removal of mucous buildup; reduced chronic inflammation and stronger immune system capacity; and improved circulatory and cardiac health—all of which are vital in overcoming COVID-19 disease.
The NSU-KPCOM Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program now offers free, virtual, online group-smoking cessation classes at multiple times during the week using accessible, easy-to-use, web-based teleconferencing technology. These virtual classes are provided in the same interactive, friendly, respectful, and supportive atmosphere that has been a hallmark of AHEC’s community tobacco cessation services for more than a decade. Eligible participants may receive free over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches, gums, and lozenges.
For specific details or to register, please call the AHEC Program at (954) 262-1580 or visit www.ahectobacco.com.