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CMNH selects Mississippi’s Children’s Miracle Champion for national role

Published on Monday, December 2, 2019

By: Annie Oeth, [email protected]

Aubrey Armstrong can add one more title to her resume: 2020 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals National Champion.

The state’s 2019 Champion, the 15-year-old from Oxford is the first Children’s of Mississippi patient to represent patients of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at the national level. A part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Children’s of Mississippi includes the state’s only children’s hospital as well as general and specialty clinics around the state.

“We are so excited and humbled,” said Aubrey’s mom, Holly Armstrong. “After we got the news, we told her when she got home from school. She said, ‘Oh, my goodness! Really?!’”

The Armstrong family includes, from left, mom Holly, daughters Aubrey, Ann-Michael and Ava, and dad Brad.
The Armstrong family includes, from left, mother Holly, daughters Aubrey, Ann-Michael and Ava, and father Brad.

In October, the Armstrongs went to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals headquarters in Salt Lake City for photos, media interviews and meeting the other 2020 national champions and their families. “The CMNH staff members were amazing, and they have been since day one,” Holly said.

Every minute, 62 children enter a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital for treatment. Included in that number are about 180,000 children treated through Children’s of Mississippi, the umbrella organization that includes all kids’ and teens’ care provided across the state by UMMC.

Whether they suffer from common childhood afflictions like asthma or broken bones, or fight bigger challenges like birth defects or cancer, patients such as Aubrey, who has Down Syndrome, receive the treatment they need to reach their full potential.

“I want to thank Children’s of Mississippi for an amazing year,” Aubrey said, “and I am so excited to help Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as a national Champion!”

Each year, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals chooses 10 of America’s state Champions to be advocates for patients on the national level, said Jason Myers, senior director of content development for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“We look at each of these 170 Champions and their stories and, from them, choose 10 each year based on their personalities, diversity of age, race, ethnicity, gender, condition and geography, and their ability to share their stories and to be advocates for patients and for philanthropy,” Myers said.

Marcus James of WJTV interviews Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion Aubrey Armstrong of Oxford before the start of the topping-out ceremony for Children's of Mississippi's expansion in June 2019.

Marcus James of WJTV interviews Aubrey before the start of the topping-out ceremony for the Children’s of Mississippi’s expansion in June 2019.

Known for her outgoing personality, Aubrey will be “a dynamic Champion,” Myers said. “She radiates joy.”

The 10 national Champions will represent Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals this spring during Children’s Hospitals Week April 6-12, 2020. The group will also attend an annual Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals conference in Orlando, where they will share their stories with attendees, including corporate sponsors.

They’ll also be the faces of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals national fundraising efforts, which can range from being featured on magazine covers and in social media posts to being pictured on Cheerios cereal boxes.

“They’ll also travel to corporate events around the country to tell their stories and to share why it is important to give to local children’s hospitals,” Myers said. 

While serving as Mississippi’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion, Aubrey was the 2019 Mississippi Miss Amazing Junior Teen. Miss Amazing seeks to provide opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build confidence and self-esteem.

During 2019, Aubrey has supported Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Children’s of Mississippi, and those organizations have also supported her, Holly said.

“She has had an amazing year,” she said. “Aubrey has been a Pilot for the Day at Columbus Air Force Base, where she was fitted with a flight suit and even had her name on a plane. She caddied for Cameron Champ at the Sanderson Farm Championship and shot a video for the PGA. She went to Jackson with Rep. Jay Hughes on Feb. 5, where she was recognized by state Legislature, and that day was named Aubrey Armstrong Day. She participated in the Mississippi Miracles Radiothon and the topping out of the Children’s of Mississippi expansion. She threw out the first pitch at an Ole Miss baseball game and was recognized on stage at the Miss Mississippi Pageant, all while having a great freshman year at Oxford High. She was even elected to the homecoming court. We have had a busy year, but we’re looking forward to what’s to come.”

Children’s of Mississippi physicians have made a world of difference for Aubrey, said her father, Brad. “Aubrey is off the charts for highly functioning as a child with Down syndrome, and that is because of Children’s of Mississippi and the care she has received.”

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is shown holding Aubrey Armstrong during a visit to Batson Children's Hospital in 2008.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is shown holding Aubrey during a visit to Batson Children’s Hospital in 2008.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy have been part of Aubrey’s care, and she continues to see specialists in otolaryngology, endocrinology and ophthalmology through Children’s of Mississippi.

“I never thought when Aubrey was small and growing up going to the children’s hospital that she would be able to use her personality and sass to return the favor,” Holly said. “We have been able to reconnect with so many of her physicians, nurses, therapists and friends at the hospital this year, and it has been wonderful. We have been very blessed with all she has gotten to do, and we feel so honored.”

Andrew Russell, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals specialist in UMMC’s Office of Development, said Aubrey lives the Champion lifestyle, raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by selling lemonade on Oxford’s downtown Square and participating in the events of 21 United, a Down syndrome support group.

“Aubrey is truly amazing,” Russell said. “She is a huge ball of positive energy who doesn’t mind the spotlight. She has been a great Champion for Mississippi, and she will be a great national Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion.”

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Finding the right plastic surgeon for you

finding the right plastic surgeon for you

Plastic surgery has come a long way in the decades since it first became popular. Not only have plastic surgery techniques advanced in sophistication and safety, but both men and women have also become much more comfortable with the idea of enhancing their appearance via plastic surgery.

In fact, plastic surgery procedures like breast augmentation and liposuction are consistently rated as the most popular surgeries worldwide. In 2018 alone, plastic surgeons in the United States saw over 250,000 patients for each procedure.

If you’ve decided to take the plunge, you’ve probably spent a lot of time wondering how to find a good plastic surgeon. Even if you perform an internet search for phrases like “find the best plastic surgeon in Seattle” or “the best plastic surgeons near me,” there are likely dozens of options for you.

Finding the right plastic surgeon for you

The truth of the matter is that there is no “one size fits all” practice or surgeon. Even if you’re getting the exact same breast implants as your neighbor, you may find that her surgeon may not feel like the right fit for you, and that’s okay. Plastic surgery can be a fantastic and positive experience, and potentially life-changing, so remember not to rush the process. It’s also a very individualized experience, so what makes sense for your neighbor may not make sense for you. Experienced surgeons understand this and will not pressure you into making a decision or rush you into a procedure before you’re ready.

There are several criteria that you can use to judge whether or not a particular surgeon is right for you and your procedure. Finding a qualified plastic surgeon can be easier when you look for these minimum criteria:

Look for board certification in plastic surgery

Any plastic surgeon who ends up on your short list should be board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). In fact, before you go through the process of scheduling a consultation, you’ll want to check to see if the surgeon in question has the proper credentials.

Medical credentials can often be confusing if you’re unfamiliar with the jargon, so it’s helpful to know what to look for. In your search, look for board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This means he or she has undergone a rigorous board certification process by the only plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Additionally, while you’re at it, check to see if the provider you’re considering is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. While not a certifying organization, ASPS is well-respected, and its members must also maintain a rigorous set of training and patient safety standards to qualify for membership.

These credentials are important markers that signal you can trust the surgeon in question to be highly trained and qualified to perform your procedure. This is especially crucial in light of the fact that many untrained doctors are calling themselves “cosmetic surgeons” these days.

Study the surgeon’s style and approach

In addition to training and medical knowledge, cosmetic plastic surgery requires some artistry as well. Because every woman’s body is unique, the “best” plastic surgeon for a breast augmentation for example is much more likely to be one whose style of work is in line with your aesthetic goals and who can tailor a treatment to your unique situation to meet those goals. This is one reason why you can’t just search a phrase like “the best plastic surgeons near me” on the internet and choose the top result.

Good plastic surgery requires the provider to be able to customize his or her treatment to your situation and needs. Review the surgeon’s gallery of patient cases and before and after photos to get a sampling of his work and look for a variety of excellent results.

During consultations, don’t hesitate to ask for additional pictures, case studies or patient testimonials. Patient reviews on patient forums can also provide honest feedback from patients regarding their experiences with potential surgeon candidates.

Vet the facility

An accredited and accommodating facility is another important thing to look for when choosing a plastic surgeon.

Because cosmetic plastic surgeries can generally happen outside of the hospital, it’s especially important to ensure that the facility your procedure will take place in is held to the highest standards of safety, quality and patient care.

In order to find out if a facility is accredited by a credible organization, you should look for at least one of the following certifications:

  • State licensure
  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
  • American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAASF)
  • Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care
  • Title XVIII Medicare participation

Find someone you trust

Much like finding the right family doctor or personal trainer, it may take a few tries before you meet a surgeon you feel comfortable enough with to trust. Having a personal rapport and ease of communication with your surgeon and surgical staff can mean the difference between a good plastic surgery experience and a great one.

When you find a surgeon that you connect with, you’ll be able to feel more confident about your surgery and you’ll be able to have open honest and important discussions about aesthetic goals, lifestyle, overall health and any questions or concerns that you might have.

The right provider will also outline a realistic timeline for recovery based on your medical history and help you through the recovery process.

Look for honesty

Finally, it’s not a plastic surgeon’s job to tell you what you want to hear. The best surgeons will give you honest, straightforward guidance on the best approach to your situation and the realistic results you can expect.

Choose a qualified plastic surgeon for your procedure

Understanding how to find a good plastic surgeon is the first step towards achieving your aesthetic goals. Choosing a safe, experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon that you connect with can help you on your journey towards a happier, more confident you.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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AirCare’s innovative model helps caregivers cope with ‘compassion fatigue’

Published on Monday, November 25, 2019

By: Ruth Cummins, [email protected]

Of all the patients Stephen Houck treated as a University of Mississippi Medical Center AirCare flight paramedic, the preschooler is the one that shook him to his core.

“She had been raped by her father, choked and drowned,” said Houck, who five years ago transitioned to management within UMMC’s Mississippi Center for Emergency Services.

Portrait of Stephen Houck
Houck

“That hung with me for a while,” Houck said. “I didn’t talk about it. I dreamed about it. I thought, ‘Are people really this bad?’

“That’s what our people in AirCare are exposed to daily … the worst experiences people might have.”

AirCare, the most advanced medical helicopter transport in the state, is also part of MCES. Houck, who serves as MCES director, had experiences that in some could lead to what’s called compassion fatigue.

It can happen when a person helps another person, or an animal, who is in distress. The caregiver can become preoccupied with the one who is suffering, and that can cause extreme tension, physical and emotional exhaustion and difficulty eating and sleeping.

Portrait of Brock Whitson
Whitson

It can cause the caregiver to depersonalize their care, robbing them and their patients of the element of compassion. “It’s the inability of the critical care provider to be empathetic toward the patient who is suffering the traumatic event,” said AirCare critical care flight nurse Brock Whitson.

Recognizing compassion fatigue as a safety issue, Whitson made it a centerpiece of his studies as he completed his master of health sciences at the School of Health Related Professions.

His thesis project on compassion fatigue led to development of an evaluation model that allows AirCare team members to understand their emotional needs and what strategies, support and resources can best address them before compassion fatigue becomes overwhelming.

Airbus, an international manufacturer of commercial aircraft, helicopters and military transports, is recognizing AirCare’s work to combat compassion fatigue with its 2019 Airbus VisionZero Aviation Safety Award. The honor is bestowed on medical air transport programs that are leading the way on safety in the industry.

The Association of Air Medical Services recognized AirCare and Whitson at its Nov. 4 meeting in Atlanta.  Created by AAMS and funded by the MedEvac Foundation International, the Vision Zero initiative addresses building a community culture of safety in that industry.

Aircraft manufactured by Airbus include AirCare’s four state-of-the-art helicopters.

UMMC's AirCare is the state's most advanced medical helicopter transport.
UMMC’s AirCare is the state’s most advanced medical helicopter transport.

With a significant investment and through research, UMMC drew on Whitson’s project to develop an evaluation model that gives individuals immediate information about their psychological and emotional well-being in relation to personal satisfaction, patient care and safety within their workplace.

“Everybody knows what compassion fatigue is, but for decades, it’s just been part of the job,” Houck said. “Rather than just tell people to toughen up, we are being proactive. We’re not just treating those who have outward symptoms, but watching for it.”

Three months after his May 2019 graduation, Whitson had a harrowing on-the-job experience that speaks to compassion fatigue. He went into cardiac arrest August 24 while at work on the AirCare 2 craft, collapsing mid-flight as the helicopter headed back to Meridian after delivering a patient to UMMC in Jackson.

His partners, registered nurse/critical care paramedic James Walters and pilot Davin Mancini, safely landed the aircraft and quickly started CPR, restoring Whitson’s heartbeat. A second three-person AirCare team joined them within minutes, teaming to save Whitson’s life along with UMMC’s Emergency Department and ICU staff.

AirCare’s compassion fatigue program has expanded to include all of its pilots, mechanics, communications staff and clinical flight staff as part of safety training and education requirements. The program’s results will be published and ultimately used to produce a complete training module that other providers can replicate.

“None of this would have been possible without the participation of my coworkers and the support and encouragement from my management and administrative team,” Whitson said.

Houck said AirCare is taking a holistic approach to supporting its employees who cope with compassion fatigue, including future physical fitness and health management initiatives.

“We’re trying to treat the whole person to make sure that they are physically and mentally taken care of, and that they can do their job in a way that encourages them to still love what they do,” he said.

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Investing in your safety when choosing to have plastic surgery

investing in your safety when having plastic surgery

Before embarking on elective plastic surgery, you have choices to make. Who will perform your surgery? Where will your surgeon operate? How much will you pay?

The choices you make will depend on your priorities, but if your top priority is low cost, you might not be making the best decision. Why? Believe it or not, safety costs money.

Who will perform your surgery?

Lots of surgeons may do the procedure you want, and some may be temptingly less than others, but there may be an important difference. Their training and ongoing education. If you need bladder surgery, you would want to go to a board-certified urologist. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? If you have plastic surgery, you should look for a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Here’s why board certification in plastic surgery is so important: It takes years of training and rigorous examinations to become a board-certified plastic surgeon, but that’s not all. To maintain their ASPS membership and hospital privileges, plastic surgeons must complete a minimum of 150 Continuing Medical Education (CME) hours every three years, with 20 hours devoted to Patient Safety.

That training and continuing education can impact you and your safety. Just as the best-trained pilots not only know how to fly a plane, they are better able to prevent problems and handle them if they do arise. The same is true in surgery. The surgeon who has invested in the most comprehensive training is more likely to assess your risk for complications and use protective measures to prevent them. For example, they may use special leg massagers (“sequential compression devices”) to prevent blood clots from forming.

To take advantage of potential discounts for multiple procedures, it makes sense, doesn’t it, to have as many procedures at once as you can afford? It would if we were talking about having your house cleaned. But humans are different. The longer surgery lasts, the greater the risks, some of them potentially fatal, so the well-trained surgeon is less likely to offer you that multiple-procedure “deal.”

If you have a surgical complication, you’ll want someone responsive who will take care of you. If your surgeon says they don’t have complications, look for someone who will tell you the truth.

Where will your surgeon operate?

The walls don’t do the surgery, it’s true, but your safety is dependent on more than your surgeon’s hands. An accredited facility has all equipment essential for an unexpected emergency, and it must have current safety and emergency protocols in place. And there is no slacking since it must be re-accredited every three years. These costs are an investment in your safety.

In the United States and Canada, you can look for facilities accredited by agencies, like AAAASF, AAAHC, IMQ, JHACO and Medicare. But if you are going abroad, the rules vary.

It is tempting to fly elsewhere to have surgery performed for a fraction of what it costs in the States, but what you don’t know can hurt you. Even the best surgeon’s skills won’t make up for a facility that doesn’t adhere to sterility standards or that uses old equipment that isn’t regularly maintained.

Would you fly on an airline whose pilots didn’t receive the training to operate the plane in which you’re seated? As in the airline industry, developing countries have limited resources for rigorous training, updated equipment and regular facility inspections. Even if you know friends who have a great experience, the thing to look at is what happens if something goes wrong. Who will be handling the emergency and how? Recent reports of unusual infections and deaths in the Dominican Republic emphasize that your life may depend on the answer.

How much will you pay?

Now you can see why choosing the cheapest surgery can end up being very costly. If you can’t afford to have plastic surgery by the best-trained surgeon in the safest facility, then do yourself a favor and save up, borrow the funds or don’t have surgery at all.

You deserve the best!

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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UMMC experts agree: Gratefulness, good health go hand in hand

Published on Monday, November 25, 2019

By: Ruth Cummins, [email protected]

Dr. Akeem Adebayo took a leap of faith, one he says left him grateful and blessed.

The native of Ibadan, Nigeria, accepted the offer of a two-year residency in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He’s in his final year and preparing to begin fellowship training next summer.

Portrait of Dr. Akeem Adebayo
Adebayo

“That leap of faith has turned to joy,” said Adebayo, who will be a fellow in addiction medicine at Tulane University. “Working with everyone here, and in my department, has been nothing more than blessings upon blessings.”

For Adebayo and others, the feeling of gratefulness is more than joy. It’s a healthy emotion that can pay dividends as you cope with day-to-day medical challenges.

“A depressed mind isn’t good for the body. You can’t focus on your job or healthy living,” Adebayo said. When feelings of gratefulness bring a person happiness, “your body secretes certain hormones that can help with well-being.”

Feeling grateful also can boost your personal relationships, said Dr. Daniel Williams, associate professor and director of the Division of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior.

Portrait of Dr. Daniel Williams
Williams

“We know there are a lot of interpersonal benefits of being grateful for the nice things that people do for us,” said Williams, also associate director of the Medical Center’s Office of Well-Being. “It brings us closer together, creates a social bond, and makes us feel more emotionally connected. We have a deeper and better relationship.”

If someone you are close to is “low in gratitude, they can be the weak link in the relationship. They don’t recognize the good things about the relationship,” he said.

Gratitude “allows you to sometimes not notice some of the negative emotions and experiences as much,” Williams said. “Focusing on the positive allows some of the negative to slip away easier, like water off a duck’s back.”

Students, faculty and staff have penned messages of gratefulness on large posters scattered over the UMMC campus.

Students, faculty and staff have penned messages of gratefulness on large posters scattered throughout the UMMC campus.

For some, Williams said, gratitude can play a role in how you cope with specific conditions. “Taking time to recognize what is good in your life can improve anxiety and depression. It can affect blood pressure and other health outcomes.”

Look around campus this Thanksgiving season, and you’ll see such recognitions on large posters inviting students, faculty and staff to pen their messages of gratitude. It’s sponsored by the Office of Well-being, Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation, and Everyday Wellness.

Shannon Strong, a pharmacy technician and patient advocate at UMMC’s Cancer Center and Research Institute, believes in showing gratitude and giving patients the chance to do the same.

Strong several weeks ago placed a small artificial tree in a space where patients circulate. She crafted paper leaves that hang from the tree, each bearing a patient or employee personalized message of gratitude.

Shannon Strong, a pharmacy technician and patient advocate at the UMMC Cancer Center and Research Institute, created a small artificial tree at the center that bears leaves with gratitude messages from patients and employees.

Shannon Strong, a pharmacy technician and patient advocate at the UMMC Cancer Center and Research Institute, created a small artificial tree that bears leaves with messages of gratitude from patients and employees.

It may seem like a small thing, Strong said, but writing out emotions can go a long way in making patients feel happy. “Sometimes, they are thankful that their chemo treatments are over with,” she said. “It makes us feel good to let our patients feel good.”

Strong is a two-time heart attack survivor. “I’m thankful for my coworkers. I’m just thankful that I’m still here,” she said.

The holiday season, Williams said, gives us the chance to practice gratitude, rather than giving it a fleeting thought now and then.

“Take time over the next few months to recognize what we have in life that we really appreciate,” he suggests. “If we do it regularly, we might find that our quality of life improves, and we will feel more optimistic about life.”

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What’s so special about Retin-A?

what's so special about retin-A

Retin-A, or Tretinoin, is a form of vitamin A that was developed at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1960s. One of the most successful patents of all time, it revolutionized topical skin care and still has great utility today.

To understand how Retin-A works, it helps to understand the effects of aging on the skin. The most superficial cells—the keratinocytes of the epidermis—tend to become more adhesive and hang around longer. This leaves the skin looking dryer and rougher. The epidermal cells at the base also do not replicate as quickly, so the lifespan of these cells in the outer layer is much longer—and it shows. The pigmentation can become irregular and mottled because of this.

The deeper layer of cells, called the dermis, and the collagen bundles become thinner and disordered, allowing for creases and fine wrinkles to more easily show the muscular activity from below.

How does Retin-A work?

Retin-A is a topical medicine available by prescription only that is applied sparingly to the facial skin, sparing the eyelids and the corners of the nose and lips. It works at the cellular level and takes several months to see the full effect. In many ways, Retin-A can be thought of as reversing the outwards signs of aging on the skin.

The earliest effect of Retin-A is that the outer layer of keratinocytes start shedding off, leaving the skin fresher, smoother and more evenly pigmented. The next effect seen is that the epidermal cells start to replicate faster causing the skin to look and feel softer, more robust and healthier. Finally, the collagen bundles in the dermis will thicken and organize, causing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to lessen with time.

Retin-A improves the cosmetic appearance of the skin, but it also helps treat some functional problems of the skin such as acne and precancerous conditions, such as actinic keratoses.

How is Retin-A used for beauty treatments?

Typical treatment regimens include a period of tapering up. The topical product is applied sparingly 2-3 nights per week for several weeks and then the frequency is gradually increased until a nightly regimen is attained. A cream or gel delivery system is chosen based on the skin’s underlying dry or oily predisposition and the concentration can be increased over time.

Common side effects are raw itchy burning skin, generally from more aggressive application in the early phase of exposure. Often taking a break for a few days before continuing the medication at a slower ramp-up will remedy this. Sensitive areas like the corners of the nose, eyelids, lips and corners of the lips should not be treated. Patients should avoid exposure to the sun following Retin-A treatments. The use during pregnancy should also be avoided.

Pretreatment with Retin-A is extremely helpful prior to moderate to deep chemical peel, laser treatments, dermabrasion or facelifting to hasten healing and help prevent scarring or dyspigmentation. Retin-A is certainly a useful addition to any beauty regimen.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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AirCare recognized for innovative model to help caregivers cope with compassion fatigue

Published on Monday, November 25, 2019

By: Ruth Cummins, [email protected]

Of all the patients Stephen Houck treated as a University of Mississippi Medical Center AirCare flight paramedic, the preschooler is the one that shook him to his core.

“She had been raped by her father, choked and drowned,” said Houck, who five years ago transitioned to management within UMMC’s Mississippi Center for Emergency Services.

Portrait of Stephen Houck
Houck

“That hung with me for a while,” Houck said. “I didn’t talk about it. I dreamed about it. I thought, ‘Are people really this bad?’

“That’s what our people in AirCare are exposed to daily … the worst experiences people might have.”

AirCare, the most advanced medical helicopter transport in the state, is also part of MCES. Houck, who serves as MCES director, had experiences that in some could lead to what’s called compassion fatigue.

It can happen when a person helps another person, or an animal, who is in distress. The caregiver can become preoccupied with the one who is suffering, and that can cause extreme tension, physical and emotional exhaustion and difficulty eating and sleeping.

Portrait of Brock Whitson
Whitson

It can cause the caregiver to depersonalize their care, robbing them and their patients of the element of compassion. “It’s the inability of the critical care provider to be empathetic toward the patient who is suffering the traumatic event,” said AirCare critical care flight nurse Brock Whitson.

Recognizing compassion fatigue as a safety issue, Whitson made it a centerpiece of his studies as he completed his master of health sciences at the School of Health Related Professions.

His thesis project on compassion fatigue led to development of an evaluation model that allows AirCare team members to understand their emotional needs and what strategies, support and resources can best address them before compassion fatigue becomes overwhelming.

Airbus, an international manufacturer of commercial aircraft, helicopters and military transports, is recognizing AirCare’s work to combat compassion fatigue with its 2019 Airbus VisionZero Aviation Safety Award. The honor is bestowed on medical air transport programs that are leading the way on safety in the industry.

The Association of Air Medical Services recognized AirCare and Whitson at its Nov. 4 meeting in Atlanta.  Created by AAMS and funded by the MedEvac Foundation International, the Vision Zero initiative addresses building a community culture of safety in that industry.

Aircraft manufactured by Airbus include AirCare’s four state-of-the-art helicopters.

UMMC's AirCare is the state's most advanced medical helicopter transport.
UMMC’s AirCare is the state’s most advanced medical helicopter transport.

With a significant investment and through research, UMMC drew on Whitson’s project to develop an evaluation model that gives individuals immediate information about their psychological and emotional well-being in relation to personal satisfaction, patient care and safety within their workplace.

“Everybody knows what compassion fatigue is, but for decades, it’s just been part of the job,” Houck said. “Rather than just tell people to toughen up, we are being proactive. We’re not just treating those who have outward symptoms, but watching for it.”

Three months after his May 2019 graduation, Whitson had a harrowing on-the-job experience that speaks to compassion fatigue. He went into cardiac arrest August 24 while at work on the AirCare 2 craft, collapsing mid-flight as the helicopter headed back to Meridian after delivering a patient to UMMC in Jackson.

His partners, registered nurse/critical care paramedic James Walters and pilot Davin Mancini, safely landed the aircraft and quickly started CPR, restoring Whitson’s heartbeat. A second three-person AirCare team joined them within minutes, teaming to save Whitson’s life along with UMMC’s Emergency Department and ICU staff.

AirCare’s compassion fatigue program has expanded to include all of its pilots, mechanics, communications staff and clinical flight staff as part of safety training and education requirements. The program’s results will be published and ultimately used to produce a complete training module that other providers can replicate.

“None of this would have been possible without the participation of my coworkers and the support and encouragement from my management and administrative team,” Whitson said.

Houck said AirCare is taking a holistic approach to supporting its employees who cope with compassion fatigue, including future physical fitness and health management initiatives.

“We’re trying to treat the whole person to make sure that they are physically and mentally taken care of, and that they can do their job in a way that encourages them to still love what they do,” he said.

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Best minimally invasive procedures to look your best for the holidays

best minimally invasive procedures to look your best for the holidays

Are you having trouble looking your best for holiday gatherings due to cold weather, dry skin, dull complexion and everything in between? Don’t fear, minimally invasive procedures are here!

Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures are a fantastic way to look rejuvenated and brighten up your look during the holidays with minimal to no downtime. An added perk is that most plastic surgeons offer holiday pricing or bundled packages to help save money while achieving glowing skin.

Skin rejuvenation

Winter can often dry out your skin, cause dullness and show more wrinkles. Improved skin quality can be quickly achieved with a chemical peel in the office, a microneedling procedure or even a laser treatment.

The best treatment for you depends on your skin type, previous treatments and other factors. Make sure to tell your plastic surgeon about your skin care goals, and they will help you pick a procedure that provides the best results with the least recovery time, allowing you to maximize your time off and enjoy the holidays looking refreshed.

Skin care products will help with overall skin health and make perfect gifts for you and others. Often, optimal skin care before and after any treatment will help you get better results and recover faster after any office treatment.

Botulinum toxin

Wrinkles caused by muscles, such as the crow’s feet area or the forehead, respond well to neuromodulators. The FDA-approved neuromodulators available in the US are Botox, Dysport, Jeuveau and Xeomin. Make sure to ask your plastic surgeon which one is best for you. Just a few days after the injections, your wrinkles will look substantially better.

Dermal fillers

Deeper wrinkles in the lower face or any loss of youthful facial features often respond well to dermal fillers. A quick injection in the office will give you immediate results and should last for months, and sometimes years, to help perfect your look for the holidays and beyond!

Common brands available in the US include Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, Sculptra, Versa, Belotero, Bellafill and even your own fat! These dermal fillers all have different factors for placement, how long they last, the need for allergy testing and other factors, so talk with your plastic surgeon about the best option for you.

Nonsurgical fat reduction

Your body doesn’t have to miss out on the fun! There are minimally invasive procedures that can help sculpt your body as well while offering quick recovery times.

Kybella is an injectable that melts fat, which is great for under the chin, as well as other areas such as the armpit fat and even the abdomen. Emsculpt can give you improved muscle tone in your abdomen and other areas of your body. Minimally invasive fat reduction can be achieved with CoolSculpting, SculpSure and other technologies.

Some of these technologies for your body may not give you very fast results or may require slightly longer recovery time compared to skin care, injectables and other facial treatments. Make sure you get educated to make the right choice for your timeframe.

Your board-certified plastic surgeon will be able to give you all minimally invasive and surgical treatments you need to look your best. Please check out other articles in the ASPS blog for more information about the surgical procedures and minimally invasive treatments that you are most interested in.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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Emerging leaders represent health equity program’s true legacy

Published on Thursday, November 14, 2019

By: Bruce Coleman ([email protected])

A program designed to increase the involvement of males of color in the health professions championed by Dr. Juanyce Taylor, chief diversity and inclusion officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is continuing to pay dividends even after its four-year term has expired.

Funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation as a $150,000 equitable communities grant to UMMC from April 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2017, the Health Equity and Leadership Initiative sought to improve racial and ethnic disparities in the health care profession and education.

Taylor initially answered the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s call for proposals seeking initiatives to bolster black male participation in the health sciences when she was a faculty member in UMMC’s School of Health Related Professions.

“I happened to be working with data at the institution at the time and I noticed black males were particularly underrepresented – less than one percent of our student population at UMMC was African-American males,” Taylor said. “So I responded to the call for proposals.”

Shortly after receiving the grant, the Association of American Medical Colleges underscored the need for enhanced interest among African-American males in medicine when the organization issued the report, “Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine.” Among other findings, the article indicated more black males per capita had been enrolled in medical school in 1973 than in 2014, the year the report was published.

Former-HELI-12.jpg
Two years after funding for the HELI program expired, Taylor still keeps track of its participants.

“A lot of medical schools started initiatives, such as ‘Black Men in White Coats,’ to support African-American men in pursuing careers in medicine,” Taylor said. “My program was specific to the School of Health Related Professions, but we did have interest and participation from other areas of health care.”

Each of the HELI participants was a student from a Mississippi community college. After an initial symposium, the HELI program consisted of monthly leadership-training meetings in which participants received access to SHRP’s various departmental curriculum. The HELI participants interacted with SHRP faculty and became fully immersed in the culture and environment of the state’s largest academic health center.

According to Taylor, of the 15 young men who participated in the HELI program, all proceeded to earn at least an associate’s degree and most are either in the health care workforce or in professional school. Two are enrolled in a degree program in SHRP, two more are employed at UMMC and two others are still in the health career “pipeline” – one at Jackson State University and the other at Mississippi State University – with the goal of attending medical school at UMMC. Four former HELI participants are registered nurses, including one who is in the armed forces, and another is an emergency medical technician and volunteer firefighter.

The most impressive statistic? Almost two years after the program’s conclusion, Taylor is still involved with each participant, encouraging him, supporting him, challenging him.

“I know where they are, I talk with them, I mentor them in their undergraduate and professional efforts,” Taylor said. “It’s just inspiring for me to see these young people live out their dreams, getting to support their professional development.

“I even hear from their parents and families quite often. They’re always thanking me for supporting their child. That means the world to me. We welcomed their children into the UMMC family early in their academic careers and they trusted us to help them get where they wanted to be. I think that’s why they’ve been so successful today.”

The importance of the HELI program as a “pipeline” for males of color into the health professional workforce could not be overstated. While many young black males in Mississippi may have an interest in science or health care, Taylor said a majority of them may not be fully aware of their career options.

Geoffrey Pratt, a first-year physical therapy student in SHRP, was a member of the HELI program’s third cohort. After graduating from Northeast Mississippi Community College, Pratt earned a degree in kinesiology at Mississippi State University.

He credited the HELI program for helping define his collegiate pathway.

Portrait of Geoffrey Pratt
Pratt

“Not everybody knows the opportunities they have when they’re going through college,” Pratt said. “They don’t know the options they have as far as career choices. HELI’s hands-on exposure introduced us to different health care professions, from nurses to doctors to physical therapists and others.

“We had (job) shadowing opportunities and even had the privilege of going to medical conferences and other networking opportunities, so when it came closer to time for us to decide what we wanted to study, we were able to know how to apply to programs successfully.”

In Justin Johnson’s case, the HELI program changed his entire career plan. A biology major when he joined the program’s third cohort, he initially had his sights set on majoring in pre-med. After becoming familiar with the medical laboratory sciences profession through HELI, he found a new calling. A Coahoma Community College and Alcorn State University graduate, Johnson is now in SHRP’s MLS program.

Portrait of Justin Johnson
Johnson

“The HELI program wasn’t just geared toward the mainstream professions like medicine and nursing; we learned about all the other professions that went on behind the scenes,” Johnson said. “That’s what opened my eyes and brought up all my options. Being introduced to MLS through the HELI program changed my mind.

“I’m more of an introvert and I like working in the lab. (Switching to MLS) was an opportunity to work in a lab all the time.”

Taylor said the manner in which SHRP faculty and students embraced HELI had a dramatic effect on the participants. The HELI students said they were impressed by how readily the SHRP faculty were willing to share their knowledge and passion for their given career pursuits.

“Dr. Jessica Bailey (SHRP dean) never missed an opportunity to be with the HELI students when they were on campus,” Taylor said. “To have these young men know they had a dean call them by their first names and enjoy speaking to them was very reassuring.

“To have SHRP faculty take a special interest in them, to welcome them, to help make them feel a part of the school – and to have faculty and staff call them by name – it was very much like a family, a warm, welcoming environment.”

Will Lindsey of Jackson, a member of the first HELI cohort, received his master’s in nuclear medicine technology at UMMC. He is working as a nuclear medicine technologist at four different facilities while preparing to complete necessary prerequisite courses to apply for medical school at the Medical Center.

A student at Hinds Community College during his time in HELI, Lindsey had the opportunity to meet his future NMT faculty members in SHRP.

Portrait of Will Lindsey
Lindsey

“HELI allowed me to learn about the program I pursued later – the nuclear medicine program,” he said. “In that aspect, it was vital. I’m where I am today because of that. It started me on the pathway I’m on today, which is medical school.

“It gave me the opportunity to build my resume, learn more about the health care field, the medical field, and get more experience with the medical field so I can pursue my ultimate goal of being a physician.”

Perhaps the secret to the short-term program’s long-term effectiveness lies in camaraderie. Taylor isn’t the only one charting each participant’s career path – for several years now, they’ve each checking up on one another.

“They all still talk to each other,” Taylor said. “They’ve formed a kind of brotherhood. They support each other. That’s also something that’s been very special.”

“I love those guys to death,” Lindsey said. “It’s amazing to be around them; they’re very inspirational, very helpful. We’ve grown to be very good friends, always trying to push each other to do better.

“If we can help each other out in any kind of way, we will.”

That camaraderie is not limited to the participants; they each maintain a connection to Taylor in her role as mentor.

“You know she’s always there for you when you need her,” Lindsey said. “There’s never a hesitancy to reach out to her. She’s always said if we ever need anything, if we have a question or would like to meet with somebody at UMMC or pursue any shadowing opportunities, she would be there.”

“During the program, she became like a second mother to us,” Johnson said. “She’s always checking in on us. She was really invested in the program and that, in turn, upped our motivation and we became invested, too.”

At least one critical component of the program has taken root: As the HELI participants have made their way into the world of health care, they’ve doubtlessly inspired continued interest in the health care professions by other minority males.

“I imagined that the HELI participants would end up being peer mentors, whether formally or informally, for other students like them,” Taylor said. “It raises awareness among black males that their peers have actually gained careers in health care, so they can accomplish that, too.”

Like Lindsey, Andre Funches of Jackson was in the first HELI cohort. At the time, he was attending Meridian Community College. After graduating from Meridian CC, he attended Southern University at New Orleans on a basketball scholarship, earned his degree in biology and returned to UMMC as a hospital technician in respiratory therapy.

Portrait of Andre Funches
Funches

“When I joined the first cohort, I really didn’t know as much about UMMC,” Funches said. “It was a great opportunity to meet people here, an opportunity to learn about health care career options.

“The people here are family-oriented. They showed they care, they showed love.”

It’s a feeling Funches would like to pass along to other young African-American males interested in a health-care career but not sure how to take that initial step.

“Most definitely, I’d like to help anybody I can,” he said. “It’s important to me. For some kids, they only see what they see on the street. You can basically show them something different, something better than they’re normally used to – a career in health care.

“And they can get an education on top of that, too.”

The need for another program similar to HELI is apparent by the response Taylor received when her initial call for participants was distributed among community colleges throughout the state.

“I had more interest than I could support (with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation grant),” Taylor said. “The program was for community college students only, but I received a lot of inquiries about how other college students could enroll. Unfortunately, they were not eligible because they were at four-year institutions.

“But if I had the means to support them, I would have supported every last one of them as well.”

Unlike most of the HELI participants, Lindsey had grown up in Jackson and was very familiar with the Medical Center. His mother had been a nurse at UMMC, and his sister had been a patient at Batson Children’s Hospital, where he had been a child life volunteer, reading to Batson patients and playing video games and board games with them.

Therefore, Lindsey said he felt he had a “leg up” on his HELI peers when it came to considering a career in health care.

“For the others, it was like a stepping stone, helping them get to where they felt like they belonged (in health care),” he said. “African-American males who may be from lower-income backgrounds or maybe from lower-graded schools need to see this, to see more African-American males who are successful in the health care field or any other fields they may be interested in.

“A couple of the guys who weren’t considering the medical field at any point but were interested in what the HELI program had to offer learned that this is truly where they needed to be – the health care field ended up being where they wanted to be. It provided a route to where they could become successful in life.”

In this archived photo, members of HELI’s first cohort, including Lindsey and Funches, pause between sessions during the early days of the program.
In this archived photo, members of HELI’s first cohort, including Lindsey, center, and Funches, right, pause between sessions during the early days of the program.

While the HELI program no longer exists, Taylor said the need to encourage African-American men to pursue careers in the health sciences remains, especially in Mississippi.

“We have to be intentional about this effort,” she said. “If we want to improve health outcomes, we need to look at those populations that are at greater risk. In a state like Mississippi, there should be no second thought – it really is our obligation to think about this population in a more intentional way.

“We definitely need more African-American male mentors to support students who want to go into health care, because once these students are exposed to it, they will work to improve health outcomes. That’s what the literature tells us.”

Pratt said the HELI program had a monumental impact in his decision to pursue a health care career.

“I don’t believe I would have been accepted into any (health care) program without the exposure to the HELI program,” he said. “Just the experiences I have had with the people I’ve met through that program has pushed me to stay motivated.

“(The HELI program) was the first time I had gotten together with people who had the same mindset that I have. It’s an accountability thing – if you want to keep up with a group like that, you’ve got to keep pushing.”

Johnson said the program helped encourage him in ways that may not be easy to express.

“Going to UMMC, honestly, you don’t see many people like me,” he said. “Being in MLS, it’s very diverse, but there are still only two African-American males in the program.

“Having a program like HELI can open the door to so many others who may have a lack of resources. Health care may be their passion, and they don’t even know it yet. It could open the door to people in small towns who may not know what their opportunities are.”

Taylor said programs like HELI can help lead the way to creating a more representative health care workforce.

“I think pipelines, real pipelines, are important,” Taylor said. “These are true success stories. Even though it was a small program, HELI accomplished what it set out to do. That, to me, is a success story.”

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Two types of rhinoplasty explained – cosmetic vs functional

two types of rhinoplasty explained – cosmetic vs functional

When speaking about rhinoplasty, I explain to patients that the single term can refer to a wide range of elements. Nose surgery may involve altering the size and shape of the nostrils, bridge, nasal tip and/or other structures. The goal is harmonizing the shape and proportion of the nose with the entire face.

More broadly, rhinoplasty can be used to describe not only cosmetic procedures designed to impact the look of the nose, but also medical procedures to improve the function of the nose.

Why do patients choose rhinoplasty?

The two surgical focuses are closely linked because the form and function of the nose are intertwined. A visible asymmetry on the outside very likely indicates misaligned structures on the inside. Such irregularities can disrupt and impede the free flow of air, making breathing a more laborious task than it should be. In many cases, correcting the internal problem leads to a corresponding, aesthetically pleasing external shift, as well.

Functional rhinoplasty

Common problems seen in patients seeking functional rhinoplasty include nasal passages that are too narrow and a crooked (or “deviated”) line of cartilage known as the septum. A person’s septum may be misaligned due to its natural development, or it may have been pushed out of alignment due to trauma.

On its own, a procedure for straightening the septum is known as a septoplasty. Positioning the cartilage so that it sits properly vertical, instead of at an angle, can allow air to move more easily through each nostril.

Another common functional problem involves allergies, hormones or sinus infections causing turbinates to become enlarged. Also known as nasal conchae because of their shell-like shape, these structures warm and humidify the air as it moves through the nasal passages. Turbinates are made of bone, blood vessels and other tissue and come in three pairs: two superior, two middle and two inferior. If the inferior turbinates—which are the lowest and largest of the structures—become swollen, they can inhibit nasal airflow on both the right and left side of the nose.

Turbinate reduction can resolve this problem. The procedure involves removing tissue to provide more open space that allows air to pass by.

Cosmetic rhinoplasty

Patients pursuing cosmetic rhinoplasty also frequently cite asymmetry as a problem they want corrected. A nose that tilts, leans or points too far to the left or right can draw unwanted attention, especially when the rest of the features of the face are aligned symmetrically.

Other cosmetic issues nose surgery can address include overly wide nostrils, a nasal tip that is either pinched or bulbous and a pronounced bump or dip on the dorsum. Men and women who simply feel that their nose is “too large” often discover that there is one particular feature that is out of proportion.

Oftentimes, correcting a key area can yield results that make the entire nose appear to better balance with the eyes, mouth, forehead, and other parts of the face—including distance between these elements, their angles relative to each other and more.

What should you expect during your recovery?

No matter their procedural specifics, rhinoplasty patients should expect to wear a splint for approximately a week after their surgery. This will hold the nasal tissues in place and ensure that they properly heal in their new alignments.

Bruising and swelling are also to be expected, lasting for about two weeks. Once the skin returns to its typical color and the swelling goes down, the cosmetic results will be more apparent. Note, however, that the nose can take considerable time to heal, so full resolution may not happen for a matter of months, or perhaps even a year.

Is rhinoplasty right for you?

Rhinoplasty can be a life-changing procedure, and it’s no surprise that rhinoplasty is consistently among the top plastic surgery procedures performed every year. If you think rhinoplasty is right for you, be sure to use the ASPS Plastic Surgeon Match referral service to find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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