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Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle earns Pathway to Excellence™ re-designation




successfully underwent a thorough review process that documents quality initiatives that are key to creating a positive work environment — as defined by nurses and supported by research.

“This re-designation validates our efforts to continue striving for the best working environment possible,” said Valarie Gilbert, RN, chief nursing officer at Texas Health Azle. ““We hope the honor encourages other nurses to join their colleagues in this desirable and nurturing environment.”

Nurses rated their working environment by participating in a confidential online survey. Achieving the Pathway designation demonstrates the professional satisfaction of Texas Health Azle nurses and identifies it as one of the best places to work.

The Pathway to Excellence designation looks at 12 factors that influence the nursing environment in a hospital, including the knowledge, involvement and effectiveness of nursing leadership; compensation and work/life balance of nursing staff; and opportunities for professional development.

“Our culture here at Texas Health Azle is one where nurses thrive, and this designation confirms to the public that our nurses know their efforts are supported,” said Bob Ellzey, FACHE, hospital president. “It’s an honor for them to be recognized for their day-to-day efforts.” 

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle: Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle has served Azle, Springtown, Lake Worth and greater northwest Tarrant and Parker Counties since 1954. The hospital’s services include cardiology, orthopedics, imaging and rehabilitation. Texas Health Azle is an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Azle.

About Texas Health Resources: Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 24 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, a large physician group, outpatient facilities, and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education.

About ANCC: The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA), provides individuals and organizations throughout the nursing profession with the resources they need to achieve practice excellence. ANCC's internationally renowned credentialing programs certify nurses in specialty practice areas; recognize healthcare organizations for promoting safe, positive work environments through the Pathway to Excellence Program™; and accredit providers of continuing nursing education. In addition, ANCC provides leading-edge information and education services and products to support its core credentialing programs. www.nursecredentialing.org
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle announced that it has again achieved Pathway to Excellence™ designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). To earn the designation, Texas Health Azle
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center Wins Readers’ Choice ‘Best Hospital’ Awards





“I am proud of our staff, physicians, and volunteers who are dedicated to consistently and compassionately serving the community,” says Methodist Mansfield President John Phillips, FACHE. “We are honored to be recognized as the best hospital by the communities we serve.”

To compile the best list in the community, the local newspapers asked readers to vote for the best company in  dozens of categories. They received hundreds of votes, and the editors selected the best companies based on votes.  “These companies make a difference in our community and go above and beyond to be the best in their industry,” says Amanda Rogers, editor of the Mansfield News Mirror. 

"These honorees are being praised for much more than their business prowess; these organizations and individuals can revel in the fact that they have succeeded in being community builders," said Joshua C. Johnson, Editor of Focus Daily News. "We congratulate them all." 

The awards were presented by the Mansfield News Mirror and by the Focus Daily News at the fourth annual Reader’s Choice Awards celebration at Cedar Hill Recreation Center on Saturday. 

About Methodist Health System: Guided by the founding principles of life, learning, and compassion, Methodist Health System (Methodist) provides quality, integrated care to improve and save the lives of individuals and families throughout North Texas.   Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, and Methodist Family Health Centers are part of the nonprofit Methodist Health System, which is affiliated by covenant with the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. Additional information is available at www.methodisthealthsystem.org. Connect with them through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at www.methodisthealthsystem.org/socialmedia.
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center recently received the Best Hospital award from Focus Daily and Mansfield News Mirror newspapers. The awards were based on votes from readers and members of the community.
Thank a Volunteer for Making Life Better
By Angel Biasatti
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center’s Director of Community Relations and Marketing








and supporting the hospital in fundraising and administrative efforts.  

The volunteer program began in December 2006 and is still going strong with more than 100 members. The volunteers have accumulated more than 107,000 hours of service to our hospital and have contributed more than $225,000 through fundraising events. 

Whether they’re working in fundraising; operating the gift shop; or assisting patients, visitors, and staff, volunteers are essential in almost every area of the community, touching lives with acts of kindness, generosity, and compassion. 

Their dedication is second to none, and they care for others as if they were family, surrounding staff and patients with love, compassion, and understanding. They touch lives, allow patients to cry quietly on their shoulders with dignity, and help bring hope and relief to those suffering and in need. National Volunteer week in April gives us an opportunity to shine the spotlight on these outstanding individuals and recognize and honor them for their efforts. They’re one of our most valuable assets — the hundreds of men, women, and youth who selflessly give of their time and talents to serve us.

Our hospital has embraced the spirit of volunteerism and the opportunity to give back to others. From special events and programs throughout our hospital, to local schools and businesses who give employees time to volunteer, to individuals who quietly do good deeds behind the scenes, every single volunteer act improves the quality of life of our community and hospital. We are especially proud of our volunteers who quietly go about their day doing acts of kindness to help others and are grateful for their passion and dedication.

During National Volunteer week, we take time to celebrate and thank them for the honorable work that they do. It’s an opportunity to remind ourselves — as well as our community — that Methodist Mansfield volunteers are true blessings who give of themselves and help make life shine bright for all of us. Let’s all take a moment this week to recognize and thank our volunteers.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, visit MethodistHealthSystem.org/Volunteer.
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center is blessed to have volunteers who make a difference in people’s lives, giving their time, energy, and effort to help others.

The dedicated volunteers and Auxiliary members at Methodist Mansfield are ambassadors for the hospital and well known for their concern for others, always offering an extra touch of compassion to everyone with whom they come in contact. Volunteers work throughout the hospital giving of themselves, lifting the spirits of others during difficult times, bringing companionship to patients,
Argosy university, Dallas announces new Nursing program
New program provides a blend of online and on-campus courses





Designed for licensed registered nurses (RNs) who have earned either a diploma or an associate’s degree in nursing, the university’s new bachelor’s degree program will build upon pre-licensure nursing coursework to help prepare students for professional advancement while meeting the goals articulated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

“With the growing demand for nurses and a changing health care environment, it is critical to provide the latest communication and collaboration skills required to improve the delivery of healthcare,” says Dr. Kristin Benson, Dean of the College of Health Sciences at Argosy University. “By preparing our nursing students to exercise leadership and establish care priorities, such as delegating responsibility and making evidence based decisions, they will be better equipped to meet the emerging needs of various healthcare systems.”

“And we’re helping employers as well,” continues Benson. “The university is working with local hospitals and healthcare agencies to establish cohort classes at their locations. By holding classes at their site, employers are better able to advance the professional development of their employees while ensuring the skills they learn are tailored to the needs of their organization.” 

According to AMN Healthcare’s 2013 Clinical Workforce Survey, the vacancy rate for nurses has increased to 17 percent, which is considerably higher than the survey conducted in 2009. In addition, recent Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections anticipate the number of employed licensed practical and vocational nurses to grow 25 percent until 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.

By providing new programs that specifically focus on practical core and elective courses geared towards building the necessary skills nurses require, graduates will be better prepared to advance their careers in nursing and meet the growing demand for qualified healthcare professionals. 

For more information on the new nursing degree program at Argosy University, Dallas, visit argosy.edu/dallas/nursing.

About Argosy University, Dallas: Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options are subject to change. 5001 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Farmers Branch, TX 75244. ©2014 Argosy University. 

See auprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
In response to recent projections of a national nursing shortage, Argosy University, Dallas is pleased to announce a new nursing program that will address this growing demand with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program.
Citizens Medical Center Selects T-System to Reinvent ER As Premier Provider in the Southwest
T-System’s reputation, vision and full-suite capabilities gain hospital’s trust for a complete emergency department solution.





Citizens Medical Center has remained ahead-of-the-curve for adopting sophisticated technologies, being one of the first hospitals to implement electronic health record (EHR) technology in the late 1990s. Citizens turned to T-System’s technology with the goal of providing the best emergency care in the region.

“We are committed to making our ED the shining star in the state of Texas with the most advanced technology available for improving emergency care,” said Stephen Thames, CEO of Citizens Medical Center. “When we finally narrowed our search down to two options, T-System was the clear choice and the only vendor with a solution for the entire emergency care process.”

In the early 2000s, Citizens Medical Center implemented a single enterprise-wide EHR. After experiencing low clinical adoption and throughput challenges, they realized a specialized solution was necessary for the ED due to its distinct environment and clinical workflow.

“Physician buy-in is critical to help us achieve our goals,” said Russell Witte, director of information technology at Citizens Medical Center. “T-System stood out for its intuitive, clinically-focused solutions and record of end-user adoption.”

EV™ will be implemented with the complete set of features, including nurse and physician charting, clinical decision support, CPOE, e-prescribing, throughput statistics management and analytics. Care Continuity will provide Citizens with primary care physician (PCP) patient status notifications, an automated way to identify and refer high-risk patients and a complete set of care plans to be used among providers in the care community.

About T-System: T-System Inc. advances the practice of emergency medicine with solutions proven to solve clinical, financial, operational and regulatory challenges for hospitals and urgent care clinics. About 40 percent of the nation’s EDs use T-System solutions to provide an unmatched patient experience. Through gold-standard documentation, revenue cycle management and performance-enhancing solutions, T-System optimizes care delivery from the front door through discharge and beyond. Today, more than 1,900 facilities across all 50 states rely on T-System solutions. For more information, visit www.tsystem.com. Follow @TSystem on Twitter and LinkedIn, or become a T-System fan on Facebook.
T-System Inc. today announced Citizens Medical Center, a hospital in Victoria, Texas, will implement T-System’s emergency department information system (EDIS), EV™, and patient transition management solution, Care Continuity™.
Nine Methodist Health System Nurses Selected to DFW Great 100 Nurses






Methodist nurses named to the Great 100 Nurses list include:

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Winifred Neal, RN, MSN
Joben Rieth, RN, BS, MBA
Lisa Roberts, RN, BSN, CCRN, NE-BC
Pat Jackson, RN, MA, CIC
Allison Vo, RN, BSN, OCN
Amanda Peña, RN, BSN, CA-SANE


Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

Cindy Smith, RN
KaLinda Longino, RN, CAPA


Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Kathleen Landergan-Wallner, BSN, RNC-OB

“These nine nurses exemplify the care and compassion shown by all of our nurses, medical staff, and employees,” says Pamela Stoyanoff, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Methodist Health System. “We are proud and grateful for their leadership and for their dedication to their patients.” 

Award recipients will be honored at The DFW Great 100 Nurses awards banquet, May 14 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The DFW Great 100 Nurses awards started in 1991 with a mission of recognizing registered nurses in North Texas for their contributions to the communities in which they live and practice both the art and science of nursing.
Nine Methodist Health System registered nurses (RN) will receive the 2014 DFW Great 100 Nurses award. Chosen from more than 800 nominees, recipients are recognized for being role models, leaders, community servants, compassionate caregivers, and significant contributors to the nursing professions.
Life Shines Bright Pregnancy Program at Methodist Charlton Celebrates First Year





Recognized as the first significant innovation in prenatal care in more than a century, this preterm birth prevention program is setting a new gold standard for prenatal care and group education. The program is the only one of its kind in the Best Southwest area of southern Dallas County.

Through group prenatal classes, certified nurse-midwives monitor the mothers’ progress over 10 class visits, and young mothers have opportunities for education, support, and networking with other moms-to-be. Throughout pregnancy and early postpartum, moms-to-be spend two hours with their health care provider during each of the 10 class visits. During each visit they weigh themselves; take their own blood pressure; and participate in group discussions about self-care, infant care, pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Prenatal care is provided by certified nurse midwives. 

The goal of LSB is to reduce soaring prematurity rates and their potentially tragic and lifelong impact on individuals, families, health care providers, and society at large.  Preterm birth is tragic, costly, and preventable, and there is a growing national epidemic of babies being born too soon and too small. Preterm birth and low birth weight are among the leading causes of infant death, and low birth weight infants are at much greater risk of dying before their first birthday.

For more information on the innovative Life Shines Bright Pregnancy Program, call 214-947-5999.

About Methodist Health System: Guided by the founding principles of life, learning, and compassion, Methodist Health System (Methodist) provides quality, integrated care to improve and save the lives of individuals and families throughout North Texas.   Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, and Methodist Family Health Centers are part of the nonprofit Methodist Health System, which is affiliated by covenant with the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. Additional information is available at www.methodisthealthsystem.org. Connect with them through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at www.methodisthealthsystem.org/socialmedia.
Smiling moms and bouncing babies gathered recently to celebrate the first year of the Life Shines Bright Pregnancy Program at Methodist Charlton Medical Center. Included in the group was the first patient, Sarah Santibanez.
VISIONARY GRANT ENABLES ARTIFICIALLY INTELLIGENT SOCIAL-HEALTH INFORMATION EXCHANGE TO LAUNCH IN DALLAS
Parkland Foundation and PCCI are awarded a grant of up to $12 million from W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas to build breakthrough health care technology











“The Dallas IEP is an exciting advancement for health care and social service organizations,” said Brent Christopher, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT). “The Caruth Foundation at CFT is dedicated to supporting game-changing innovation, and we are proud to be a part of this historic development.”

The Dallas IEP will help solve a persistent problem faced by patients, hospitals, clinics and social service organizations: fragmented patient information that inhibits delivery of care to patients. Critical knowledge about the social and economic needs of vulnerable patients is often lost as they move between different care centers such as hospitals, clinics, homeless shelters, food aid organizations and other social assistance agencies that have traditionally operated on the periphery of the health care sector. The results can be drastic and costly; lacking the information necessary to make the best care decisions can inhibit delivery of care to patients at the most critical moments. Consequences can include early mortality, hospital readmission, low birth weight and chronic disease complications.

After years of building and testing patent-pending technologies, PCCI has designed a solution. The Dallas IEP will engage with existing technologies in the community to enable seamless, secure connections for sharing relevant patient data across both health care and social service sectors. Artificial intelligence features will be developed that leverage advanced algorithms and analytics.
These analytics will be used to interpret medical as well as critical social risk factors to more accurately predict a patient’s risk of adverse health events and enable care providers to select and deliver targeted interventions to vulnerable patients across the region.

The results of such a breakthrough will be felt by the entire community. The Dallas IEP will help providers deliver the best care to their patients as soon as they need it, help reduce immense costs to taxpayers and, most importantly, put patients at the center of their care.

“Our belief is that the Dallas IEP represents a radical technological vision for cross-sector, Metroplex-wide patient care,” said Dr. Ruben Amarasingham, president and CEO of PCCI. “We are incredibly humbled to receive this grant – and to reinvent the way healthcare can be delivered."

Following a successful 18-month feasibility study funded by the Caruth Foundation at CFT, PCCI developed a five-year blueprint to build the IEP in Dallas. The additional grant of up to $12 million will be used to operationalize and launch the exchange portal between 2014 and 2019, integrating up to 12 local social service organizations and health care organizations, starting with PHHS. The availability of critical social data will enable care providers to reach across sectors to address risk factors such as homelessness, poverty, food assistance, mental health, mobility and aging. Having this vital information available, and being able to act on it, could save a patient’s life.

“We strongly believe the Dallas IEP will enable us to enhance the services we provide our clients,” said Rev. Jay Cole, executive director of Crossroads Community Services (CCS), one organization that participated in the Dallas IEP’s feasibility and design phase. “CCS provides low-income families with healthful food options, nutrition workshops, meal planning and obesity prevention methods, and knowing critical medical data about our clients will drastically improve our ability to meet our clients’ dietary needs. The Dallas IEP will allow us to collaborate with other care providers like never before.”

The Dallas IEP builds on nearly two decades of efforts across the country to establish and maintain health information exchange systems. While embracing the advancements of past efforts, PCCI also recognizes the technical issues, financial viability challenges and concerns with identity and privacy that have hindered many initiatives in the past. The Dallas IEP will incorporate carefully researched and innovative approaches to ensure utmost privacy, security and confidentiality of patient data – pushing the boundaries of the potential of health information technology and enhancing the likelihood of sustainability.

Support for the Dallas IEP spreads far and wide. PCCI has received 30 letters of commendation and support from political, community and medical luminaries across the country.  Awards to PCCI from major scientific granting organizations include the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, the National Cancer Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

“I know I speak for the entire Parkland family when I say we could not be more proud of the potential PCCI has unlocked with the Dallas IEP,” said Dr. David Krause, president and CEO of Parkland Foundation. “The successful launch of the IEP will make Dallas the most advanced city in the nation with respect to information exchange, and we are truly blessed by the support of the Caruth Foundation at CFT to bring to life this incredible resource for our medical providers, partners and patients at Parkland.”

For more information, or to become a partner in the future of the Dallas IEP, visit iep.pccipieces.org

About Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation: The Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) is a non-profit research and development corporation in Dallas, Texas. PCCI specializes in the development of software that helps clinicians predict patient problems before they occur, visit PCCIpieces.org.

About Parkland Health & Hospital System: Parkland Health & Hospital System (PHHS) is one of the largest public hospital systems in the country with 744 staffed adult inpatient beds, 65 staffed neonatal beds and more than 9,000 employees. Services include a Level I Trauma Center, the second largest civilian burn center in the U.S., and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The hospital averages about 47,000 admissions and 1 million outpatient visits annually. The system also includes 20 community-based clinics, 11 school-based clinics and numerous outreach and education programs. For more information, visit ParklandHospital.com.

About Parkland Foundation: Parkland Foundation is dedicated to securing substantial financial resources that advance the capital, clinical, educational and research goals of Parkland Health & Hospital System. Through this support, Parkland is able to extend its services to reach more people and enhance the quality of programs offered. Learn more at IStandforParkland.org.

About Communities Foundation of Texas: As the largest community foundation in Texas and one of the largest in the nation, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) works with families, companies and nonprofits to strengthen our community through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking initiatives. The foundation professionally manages 900 charitable funds like the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation and has awarded more than $1.3 billion in grants since its founding in 1953. cftexas.org.

About W. W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas: In establishing his foundation in 1974 as a part of the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), William Walter Caruth, Jr.’s philanthropic goals were to support frontier-advancing projects in education, scientific research, medical advancement and public safety. He gave generously during his life to support the causes he believed in, and he left the bulk of his estate to CFT to continue to meet community needs today and well into the future with innovative investments. cftexas.org/ww-caruth-jr.-foundation.
The future of health care as we know it is about to change. Parkland Foundation, on behalf of Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) and Parkland Health & Hospital System (PHHS), is honored to accept a grant of up to $12 million from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas. The grant will enable PCCI to build the Dallas Information Exchange Portal (IEP), a revolutionary, electronic integration platform that will transform the delivery of health care, drastically improve the health of the community and serve as a model for the state and the country.
Depressed? UT Southwestern researchers identify new anti-depressant mechanisms, therapeutic approaches








The study, published online in April’s issue of Molecular Psychiatry, is notable because although a number of anti-depressant drugs and other treatments are available, an estimated one in 10 adults in the U.S. still report depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“By investigating the way the so-called ‘hunger hormone’ ghrelin works to limit the extent of depression following long-term exposure to stress, we discovered what could become a brand new class of anti-depressant drugs,” said Dr. Jeffrey Zigman, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Psychiatry at UT Southwestern, and co-senior author of the study.

Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the stomach and intestines, has several widely known functions, including the ability to stimulate appetite. The latest research builds on a 2008 study led by Dr. Zigman, in which the team discovered that ghrelin exhibited natural anti-depressant effects that manifest when its levels rise as a result of caloric restriction or prolonged psychological stress.

The current findings identify ghrelin’s ability to stimulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis, the formation of new neurons, in animal models. In addition, Dr. Zigman and his colleagues also found that the regenerative process inside the hippocampus – a region of the brain that regulates mood, memory, and complex eating behaviors – is crucial in limiting the severity of depression following prolonged exposure to stress.   

“After identifying the mechanism of ghrelin’s anti-depressant actions, we investigated whether increasing this ghrelin effect by directly enhancing hippocampal neurogenesis with the recently reported P7C3 class of neuroprotective compounds would result in even greater anti-depressant behavioral effects,” Dr. Zigman said.

The P7C3 compounds were discovered in 2010 by a team of UT Southwestern researchers led by Dr. Steven McKnight, Chair of Biochemistry, Dr. Joseph Ready, Professor of Biochemistry, and Dr. Andrew Pieper, a former UT Southwestern faculty member and co-senior author of the current study. Previous research demonstrated P7C3’s promising neuroprotective abilities in instances of Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and traumatic brain injury. Today, researchers hope that it can have a transformative impact on depression treatment too.

“We found that P7C3 exerted a potent anti-depressant effect via its neurogenesis-promoting properties,” said Dr. Pieper, who is now Associate Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. “Also exciting, a highly active P7C3 analog was able to quickly enhance neurogenesis to a much greater level than a wide spectrum of currently marketed anti-depressant drugs.”

Based on the study’s behavioral findings, researchers believe that individuals with depression associated with chronic stress or with altered ghrelin levels or ghrelin resistance, as has been described or theorized for conditions such as obesity and anorexia nervosa, might be particularly responsive to treatment with highly neuroprotective drugs, such as the P7C3 compounds.

Future studies will examine the ability to apply these findings to other forms of depression, including the possibility of developing clinical trials aimed at identifying whether or not P7C3 compounds have anti-depressant effects in people with major depression, as predicted. The three main types of depressive disorders include major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.

Funding for this research provided by The National Institutes of Health, the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, an International Research Alliance with the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen, the Edward N. and Della C. Thome Memorial Foundation, the Welch Foundation, and an unrestricted endowment provided to Dr. Steven McKnight by an anonymous donor.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center: UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including five who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. Numbering more than 2,700, the faculty is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to nearly 91,000 hospitalized patients and oversee more than 2 million outpatient visits a year.
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center are making breakthroughs that could benefit people suffering from depression.

A team of physician-scientists at UT Southwestern has identified a major mechanism by which ghrelin (a hormone with natural anti-depressant properties) works inside the brain. Simultaneously, the researchers identified a potentially powerful new treatment for depression in the form of a neuroprotective drug known as P7C3.
Parkland caregivers educate parents about support for victims
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month






“That’s why it’s so crucial that you know what to do if someone you know becomes a victim,” said Melissa Reilly, Director of the Victim Intervention Program (VIP) /Rape Crisis Center at Parkland Health & Hospital System. This is especially important when dealing with young people, the focus of Sexual Assault Awareness Month during April.

“Caregivers are in a unique position to not only report sexual assaults, but also to provide comfort and support to victims,” Reilly said. “Parents and caregivers are often the first to spot the warning signs.”

These signs can include changes in behavior or mood, lower school grades and social withdrawal.

“When someone discloses an assault to you, believing them is the most important thing you can do. Also, make sure the person is safe and seek out resources to help the person start the healing process,” Reilly said. “Talking about a sexual assault takes a great deal of courage and trust.”

At Parkland, every person who walks in the door is screened for abuse, whether it’s physical, sexual or emotional. Parkland’s VIP/Rape Crisis Center offers support to children, teens, adults and families by providing free counseling, 24-hour response for victims seen at Parkland facilities, as well as help with finding emergency shelters, legal assistance and other services. Spanish-speaking staff is available and services in other languages are offered through interpreters.

If you or a loved one is in an abusive situation and needs immediate assistance, call the Crisis Line at 214.590.0430. To make an appointment with a counselor or find out more information about Parkland’s services, please call the VIP/Rape Crisis Center at 214.590.2926.
The numbers are sobering: one in six boys and one in four girls will experience sexual assault before the age of 18. One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. And, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, a majority of rapists are never apprehended.
Oxygen diminishes the heart’s ability to regenerate, UT Southwestern researchers discover








element and oxidizing agent that readily forms toxic substances with many other compounds.  This latter property has now been found to underlie the loss of regenerative capacity in the adult heart.

This groundbreaking new finding, published in today’s issue of Cell, finds that the oxygen-rich postnatal environment results in cell cycle arrest of cardiomyocytes, or heart cells.

“Knowing the key mechanism that turns the heart’s regenerative capacity off in newborns tells us how we might discover methods to reawaken that capacity in the adult mammalian heart,” said Dr. Hesham Sadek, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study.

Due to the oxygen-rich atmosphere experienced immediately after birth, heart cells build up mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell – which results in increased oxidization. The mass production of oxygen radicals by mitochondria damages DNA and, ultimately, causes cell cycle arrest.

“We have uncovered a previously unrecognized protective mechanism that mediates cardiomyocyte cell cycle arrest and that arises as a consequence of oxygen-dependent aerobic metabolism,” said Dr. Sadek.

Physiologically speaking, Dr. Sadek said, mammals likely had to make the choice early on between being energy efficient or retaining the heart’s ability to regenerate.

“The choice was clear,” said Dr. Sadek. “More than any organ in the body, the heart needs to be energy efficient in order to pump blood throughout life.”

Heart muscle contains the highest amount of mitochondria in the body and consumes 30 percent of the body’s total oxygen in a resting state alone. Unfortunately, the energy that comes from massive oxygen consumption comes with a price in the form of oxidation of DNA that makes the heart cells unable to divide and regenerate.

Dr. Sadek, along with co-first authors Dr. Bao “Robyn” Puente, postdoctoral trainee in Pediatrics, and Dr. Wataru Kimura, visiting senior researcher in Internal Medicine, found that if they subjected mice to a low-oxygen atmosphere, the cardiomyocytes divided longer than normal. The opposite was true when mice were born in a higher-oxygenated atmosphere. In that case, the cardiomyocytes stopped dividing earlier than normal.

This study comes on the heels of findings published in the Feb. 25, 2011, edition of Science, in which Dr. Sadek found that if a portion of a mouse heart was removed during the first week after birth, that portion grew back wholly and correctly. In contrast, an adult heart was irreversibly damaged by removal of even a small amount of tissue.

Because the adult mammal’s heart is not able to regenerate following injury, this represents a major barrier in cardiovascular medicine. Having a promising new understanding of what arrests cardiomyocyte cell cycle could be an important component of cardiomyocyte proliferation-based therapeutic approaches.

Funding sources for this research include NASA, the European Research Council, the British Heart Foundation, the Fondation Leducq, the American Heart Association, the Foundation for Heart Failure Research, New York, and the National Institutes of Health.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center: UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including five who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. Numbering more than 2,700, the faculty is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to nearly 91,000 hospitalized patients and oversee more than 2 million outpatient visits a year.
Scientific research at UT Southwestern Medical Center previously discovered that the newborn animal heart can heal itself completely, whereas the adult heart lacks this ability. New research by the same team today has revealed why the heart loses its incredible regenerative capability in adulthood, and the answer is quite simple – oxygen.

Yes, oxygen. It is well-known that a major function of the heart is to circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. But at the same time, oxygen is a highly reactive, nonmetallic