Category: Health/Medical

New Director of Medical Education Ready to Unleash Valley’s Untapped Potential

December 2, 2019
Dr. Thelma Hurd joins UC Merced as the Director of Medical Education after years working as a clinician, public health researcher and translational scientist.
Dr. Thelma Hurd joins UC Merced as the Director of Medical Education after working as a clinician, public health researcher and translational scientist.

Dr. Thelma Hurd’s journey in medicine has taken her from New Jersey to Nigeria, with stops in Texas and Buffalo. Along the way, she gathered experience as a clinician, public health researcher and translational scientist.

Her proficiency in these crucial areas has led Hurd to UC Merced, where she became the university’s director of medical education last month.

“It was an opportunity to be part of a new initiative that really resonates with my passion, which is to improve healthcare in rural, high-needs communities and underserved communities,” Hurd said. “The fact that UC Merced is a young university means there is tremendous opportunity to both join ongoing and create new innovative initiatives, and that was incredibly appealing to me.”

After finishing medical school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey — now the Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences — Hurd had a desire to be an academic surgical oncologist, allowing her to combine clinical and research approaches to her methods of treatment. Hurd worked in gastrointestinal oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas before transitioning to breast cancer at the Breast Surgery Department at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

She said her interest in examining health at a population perspective came from an encounter with a family at Roswell Park with whom she discussed treatment options.

Despite giving the family materials to review about the treatment in preparation for the treatment discussion, Hurd said the family told her, in unison, “whatever you say to do is just fine.” It was in that moment she realized there was a need to address community knowledge and advocacy.

If there was a need to solidify this new outlook on health, Hurd found it in Nigeria. As a member of the Center for Research on Minority Health team at MD Anderson that worked with the Nigerian government to develop a comprehensive cancer control, she began to consider how to deliver care in low- to moderate-resource environments.

“Need, disparities, inequity and rural healthcare issues and challenges don’t have geographic borders. They affect both high and low resource countries,” Hurd said. “If we can develop systems to address healthcare challenges in rural and less-resourced communities, it will be a critical step in bringing healthcare equity to the U.S.”

The experience in Nigeria also opened Hurd’s eyes to how to perceive healthcare crises in rural and high-needs communities that are often tagged as “medical deserts.”

“Nigeria taught me to stop looking at how empty the glass is and to start looking at how full the bottom portion of the glass is, and that is how I look at the San Joaquin Valley,” Hurd said. “I’m not looking at what it doesn’t have, I’m looking at everything it has that hasn’t been tapped or leveraged. You have community cohesiveness — people actually care about one another here and want to improve community health. People interact at a very different level than you see in highly urbanized areas and the Valley has resources. When you have those elements, you can pretty much do anything.”

“Need, disparities, inequity and rural healthcare issues and challenges don’t have geographic borders. They affect both high and low resource countries. If we can develop systems to address healthcare challenges in rural and less-resourced communities, it will be a critical step in bringing healthcare equity to the U.S.”

Thelma Hurd
Director of Medical Education, UC Merced

For the past four years, Hurd has served on the Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District’s Health Science Academy Executive Board and worked with teachers as they tailored their curricula to best serve their students’ science education needs. The Tulare County school district is home to a medical education pilot program for UC Merced, and the opportunity to work with the future leaders in medicine in the San Joaquin Valley showed Hurd that addressing the medical disadvantages of the region can be found within.

“There is a tremendous amount of untapped intellectual capital within our students and they simply need to be in an environment that will help them to develop it,” Hurd said. “Our job as medical educators is to provide the educational and experiential opportunities so that they are able to go further than they’ve ever dreamed possible and go beyond what they perceive as limits.”

She said while medical education is thought of as just preparing students for medical school, it plays a major role in producing vital medical professionals in nursing, dentistry and allied health, as well.

“Medical education at UC Merced provides the opportunity to work with people here to not only build a healthcare workforce but to build a workforce that can integrate rural and urban approaches to addressing health and disease,” Hurd said. “Those students who are now in high school or are undergraduates are the future of healthcare and of health in this country.”

UC Merced Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Gregg Camfield said bringing in Hurd — who is a nine-time recipient of the Best Doctors in America designation — is critical to continuing to build the foundation of medical education at UC Merced and in the Valley, one of the most medically underserved areas in the nation.

“She brings a wealth of experience and impressive skills to this very important position on our campus,” Camfield said. “From leading our efforts to further develop programs and initiatives in medical education to continuing her research in health disparities, Dr. Hurd will bring great value to the campus and the community. I very much look forward to working with her.”

Hurd said she is a strong believer in taking time to get to know the community and is looking forward to tapping into the potential of San Joaquin Valley students.

“There are a lot of innovative thinkers here and the university is a crucible for innovative thought. It draws people who think and dwell outside of the box,” Hurd said. “The UC Merced family is one team and together with our communities as full partners, we will be able to change the face of health care and improve population health.”

https://news.ucmerced.edu/news/2019/new-medical-director-ready-unleash-valley%E2%80%99s-untapped-potential

Signed State Budget Delivers Millions for the Valley

Friday, June 28, 2019

Funding included for Career Technical Education, Safe Drinking Water, and Valley Fever

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) issued the following statement regarding Governor Newsom’s signing of the 2019-2020 state budget:

“Governor Newsom’s first state budget reinforces California’s commitment to supporting working families, small businesses, students, seniors and veterans.  This budget builds record reserves for a rainy day and pays off debt while doing more to shore up working families and tackle challenges of affordability and quality of life,” said Assemblymember Salas.  “This budget invests in the Central Valley by addressing the healthcare workforce shortage, allocating $2 million to support valley fever research and providing millions to address safe and affordable drinking water.  The budget also includes funding to help train, grow, and support our workforce and students by expanding workforce development and youth leadership programs.”

State Budget Includes:

  • $2 million to the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical Center to support valley fever research
  • $12.5 million General Fund one-time for safe drinking water in the Central Valley, including $2.5 million to bring communities like Arvin into compliance with safe drinking water standards
  • $705,000 for three Independent Living Centers (ILC), including ILC of Kern County
  • $40,000 for the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation
  • $1.1 million for planning of Bakersfield College Delano Center: Learning Resource Center Multi-Purpose Building
  • $1.6 million for planning of West Hills College Lemoore Instructional Center Phase 1
  • $12 million over three years for the Youth and Family Civic Engagement Initiative

 

The main budget bill – AB 74 – can be found here.

Valley Fever Funding

“We are grateful to Assemblymember Rudy Salas for authoring this legislation and bringing critical funding to Kern County – where it is needed the most.  As Medical Director for the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical, I am honored to lead our clinical team as we continue our mission to increase education and awareness for the public, patients and health care providers; provide the best patient care available and promote research that includes epidemiology, clinical drug development, prevention, immunology and immunizations.  The $2 million in funding will directly help the patients we care for every day at the Valley Fever Institute.” – Royce Johnson, M.D., Medical Director of the Kern Medical Valley Fever Institute and Chief of Infectious Diseases at Kern Medical

“Every day at the Valley Fever Institute we care for patients fighting Valley Fever.  The $2 million will benefit countless people in Kern County and beyond.  We are grateful to our dedicated legislators for supporting this critical funding and working with us to ensure the health of our community.” – Russell V. Judd, CEO, Kern Medical

 

Dolores Huerta and Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center’s Youth and Family Civic Engagement Initiative (YFCEI)

“We are grateful that the legislature and the Governor have made it possible to expand the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center’s Youth and Family Civic Engagement Initiative (YFCEI) to reach more underserved youth throughout California, with a focus on youth engagement, youth empowerment and leadership development utilizing the philosophies of non-violence advocates.  The leadership training that the youth receive will be magnified tenfold as the youth take the lessons learned to address and resolve the many issues that they are confronted with in their respective communities.” – Dolores Huerta

This funding supports the YFCEI’s efforts to serve young people in 12 counties throughout California over the next three years.

 

Independent Living Centers of Kern County

“We want to express our gratitude and dedication to Assemblymember Salas and his staff for the work they have done to maintain equal base rate funding of all Independent Living Centers in CA.  These continued funds come directly to Kern County and stay in Kern County to support the needs of all people with disabilities.” – Jimmie Soto, Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of Kern County

 

California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation

“The California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation is excited about this unique investment to further business development in the Central Valley.  We greatly appreciate Assemblyman Salas championing this effort, and look forward to the development of new and expanding businesses as a result of this program.” – Lance Lippincott, CEO and President of Kings County Economic Development Corporation

We anticipate additional funding for the Central Valley as the Governor signs the remaining budget trailer bills.

https://a32.asmdc.org/press-releases/20190628-signed-state-budget-delivers-millions-valley

CSUB receives $2.8 million grant to address valley’s health care shortage

The Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Cal State Bakersfield has received a $2.8 million grant to increase health care providers in underserved and rural parts of the Central Valley.

The four-year, federal grant was awarded to the college’s Transforming the Workforce: From Educate to Service project, which is led by Department of Nursing professors Heidi He, Maria Rubolino, Annie Huynh and Lorelei Punsalan.

“I do think that nurse practitioners can fill that gap to improve primary care and improve public health,” she said.

The project hopes to increase the number of nurse practitioners who will provide primary care in rural and underserved areas in the Central Valley. He said it is difficult to attract well-trained and qualified nurse practitioners to the area, and Kern County ranks among the top regions in the state that have a shortage of primary care providers.

The county also has some of the highest rates of chlamydia infection, diabetes, heart disease and chronic respiratory disease mortality, according to He.

With the grant, CSUB will partner with Clinica Sierra Vista to provide students real-life medical experiences while they’re still in school. Students must have at least 600 clinical hours, and through the partnership, He hopes students will want to continue to work in a medically underserved area and those medical professionals will want to take in more students.

In addition, the funding will support the integration of telehealth into the nurse practitioner curriculum. Telehealth helps people in rural areas access health services and information electronically.

“If they’re looking for specialty care and they don’t have that in the particular area they live in, we can utilize telehealth consultations,” He said. “That’s the future of health care. We want to start those trainings for our students so they’re ready.”

CSUB’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program is accepting 19 students this fall. This year, the program will begin annual admissions, versus the biannual admissions it has had since 2014, helping it double its enrollment.

Since relaunching the Family Nurse Practitioner Program in 2014, it has graduated two cohorts, totaling 31 family nurse practitioners, according to a news release. Nearly all its recent graduates have remained in the community, and 87 percent of 2018 graduates are working in federally designated medically underserved areas.

“With this funding, we have the ability and expertise and resources to really elevate the program to the next level so we can be the leader in education and health care in the region,” He said.

Students enrolled in the program must already be a graduate of an accredited baccalaureate nursing program, have a 3.0 GPA, hold an active, unrestricted California registered nursing license and have two years of registered nursing experience.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/csub-receives-million-grant-to-address-valley-s-health-care/article_b4ad8b12-a989-11e9-a482-c7271e6f63c3.html

Plans to create medical school in Valley takes shape

Friday, June 7, 2019 6:29PM

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Creating a medical school in the Valley brought dozens of leaders to UCSF Fresno.

“The San Joaquin Valley has roughly 150 doctors per 100,000 residents. In contrast, San Francisco has 411 per 100,000 residents. You can see the dramatic difference that exists. This is one of the most underserved medical regions in the country,” said Assemblymember Adam Gray.

Gray helped lead the first San Joaquin Valley Coalition for Medical Education. He’s currently working on AB 1606 to help fund the school by not allowing people to write off their gambling losses on their taxes and using that fund.

The school would likely need $500 million to get started.

At Friday’s meeting leaders spoke about combining facilities and programs to jumpstart the school.

UCSF Fresno and UC Merced would combine forces to educate students.

“Getting a medical school started is extremely complicated there are a lot of regulatory barriers, political challenges and funding challenges. We’re excited to be partnering with UCSF, the Fresno office on a path to solving those problems,” said Gregg Camfield, UC Merced Executive Vice Chancellor.

UC Merced is working to create programs for the next generation.

“You name it, every kind of health professional is needed in the Valley and we’re committed to helping to produce that workforce,” said Camfield.

More than 300 doctors are currently training in the Valley through UCSF Fresno.

“Helping to develop students from the region who come from in those underrepresented areas in medicine will allow us to put people out into the community to provide care” Michael Peterson, UCSF Fresno Associate Dean.

Keeping the community healthy with a strong workforce of health professionals

“Lawmakers, University officials and leaders hope to the ideas from this meeting and to build more partnerships and find more funding. The San Joaquin Calley Coalition for medical education plans to meet later this year.

NEW STATE GROUP TO PROMOTE OPPORTUNITY ZONES

image via caloz.org

image via caloz.org

Published On March 25, 2019 – 11:58 AM
Written By The Business Journal Staff

A new California organization has been formed to help investors and developers take advantage of federal Opportunity Zones.

CalOZ “will promote competitive, equitable and sustainable Opportunity Zone investments in California,” according to a release from the organization.

“Our state must embrace new strategies to rebuild an upward economy that works for all Californians,” said Kunal Merchant, president and Co-Founder of CalOZ. “Opportunity zones offer an important new tool, not only to promote economic mobility and the green economy in areas of our state that need it most, but also to re-evaluate and re-imagine how business, government, and community work together to foster a more competitive, equitable and sustainable economy in California.”

In President Donald Trump’s 2016 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, he outlined what was labeled Opportunity Zones, which offered tax breaks on capital gains for investments in distressed areas.

In Fresno, a number of the areas were established, including the Kings Canyon and Blackstone avenue corridors.

On average, Opportunity Zones have a poverty rate of nearly 31 percent with families making 59 percent of the median income for the area, according to the release, citing information from Economic Innovation Group.

“Opportunity zones offer an intriguing new pathway for our state to expand our middle class and restore the California Dream for all residents,” said Ashley Swearengin, Central Valley Community Foundation’s CEO and former Mayor of Fresno. “I’m thrilled to see CalOZ showing leadership on this issue and excited to support their work both in the Central Valley and state as a whole.”

CalOZ’s first priority will be coordinating with the state to create “high-impact” policies in addition to the ones being offered by the federal government. The plan is to create a “triple-bottom line mindset” for social, environmental and financial opportunities, according to the release.

“With more than three million Californians residing in opportunity zones, California can and must seize the chance to deploy an unprecedented source of private capital into the communities that need it most, “ said Jim Mayer, President and CEO of California Forward. “We’re proud to partner with CalOZ to support state and local action to ensure California emerges as a national leader in this program.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury certified more than 8,700 qualified areas throughout the country. Of those, California has around 10 percent within its boundaries. And Fresno County is ranked third in terms of having the largest designated Opportunity Zones, according to Merchant.

Those designations will last through the end of 2028.

New state group to promote Opportunity Zones

First-of-its-kind mental health facility opens in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — A first-of-its-kind facility aimed at helping people suffering from mental health issues opened in Southeast Fresno on Thursday.
The new center will offer patients therapy while providing a secure residential environment.

The Crisis Residential Treatment Center is a beautiful facility that cost about $5 million to build, with most of the money coming from state funding.

As the need for mental health services in our community continue to increase at an alarming rate — the facility offers a home-like setting for adults experiencing serious psychotic episodes or intense emotional distress

“Hospitals are inundated with a lot of individuals that need mental health services so this is an added service. So instead of going to the hospital they can come here and we can stabilize them,” says Gerardo Cervanntes, an administrator at the facility.

The 12,000 square foot facility has 16 beds and will provide psychiatric support and case management service around the clock.

Fresno County Behavioral Health Director Dawan Utecht says one in five people suffer from some form of mental health issue
The goal here is to get residents used to daily household activities while learning coping skills necessary to successfully transition back into society.

“By having this it increases the chance of success that someone who’s been in a mental health crisis can get the resource they need so they dont get into another mental health crisis,” says Utecht.

Only clients with the greatest need and referred by the County Department of Behavioral Health will have access to this facility.

“A facility like this creates a stepping stone that’s closer to the ones before and after so when a person is making that pathway toward recovery, it’s not a Grand Canyon they have to leap to get that recovery. It’s really a clear pathway and this is a really important stepping stone for us,” says Utecht.

Administrators here expect to serve hundreds of people a year.

And tell me they hope to expand their reach over the next few years by offering live in housing for clients.

Valley Children’s Hospital to open new Modesto medical center

• Official opening comes Friday
• A 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art medical center

Valley Children’s Hospital officially opens its new Modesto medical center on Pelandale Road on Friday. The Specialty Care Center, a 40,000-square-foot, state-of-theart medical center, is expected to bring more pediatric specialists closer to families who need care. Valley Children’s will continue to provide expert care in several service lines, including pediatric cardiology, pediatric neurology, pediatric gastroenterology and pediatric orthopaedics.

Pelandale Specialty Care Center will help Valley Children’s meet the needs of families in Stanislaus County and nearby communities, and keep them closer to home and to their own primary care physicians.

Last year, providers at Valley Children’s former outpatient center saw more than 12,000 visits. That number is expected to grow
to more than 27,500 within the next decade.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/6149bd34-6f27-464e-8a22-0c1f1f9b73f1.pdfhttps://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/6149bd34-6f27-464e-8a22-0c1f1f9b73f1.pdf

Drug and genetics giant to ship products from Visalia

Drug and genetics giant to ship products from Visalia

MilliporeSigma plans to open distribution center in Visalia Industrial Park by the end of this year

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

VISALIA – One of the world’s leaders in the research and development of pharmaceutical products and genetic editing will soon be part of the Visalia Industrial Park. 

MilliporeSigma has confirmed it will be opening a 120,000-square foot distribution center in Visalia in the fourth quarter of this year. Karen Tiano, spokesperson for MilliporeSigma, said the company chose Visalia due to its central location and easy access to transportation routes. She said the Visalia facility will employ about 30 people to distribute the company’s products primarily throughout California. 

“This will be a local distribution center for our California market capable of storing a range of products, including temperature sensitive products,” Tiano said in an email last week. “We serve a variety of West Coast customers that will benefit from this new distribution center.”

A leader in life science, MilliporeSigma develops and manufactures scientific lab materials, technologies, and services in the areas of pharmaceuticals, equipment and food and drug testing. MilliporeSigma is the parent company for six life science brands including Sigma-Aldrich, Milli-Q, Supelco, Millipore, BioReliance, and SAFC. 

The company is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, an international pharmaceutical conglomerate specializing in science and technology across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 51,000 employees work for the company in cutting edge labs to advance gene-editing technologies and discover unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices. In 2017, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany—which operates in the U.S. as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials—generated billions in sales in 66 countries. For more information about Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, visit www.emdgroup.com.

MilliporeSigma has received awards for innovative products for the pharmaceutical industry and for research and development of technologies for analytical testing and genome editing. The company is a leader in the controversial field of genome editing. CRISPR genome-editing technology, which allows the precise modification of chromosomes in living cells, is advancing treatment options for a variety of medical conditions. CRISPR applications are far-ranging — from identifying genes associated with cancer and rare diseases to reversing mutations that cause blindness. At the same time, the growing potential of genome-editing technologies has opened scientific, legal and societal concerns. MilliporeSigma supports research with genome editing under careful consideration of ethical and legal standards. MilliporeSigma’s parent company, Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has established an independent, external Bioethics Advisory Panel to provide guidance for research in which its businesses are involved, including research on or using genome editing, and has developed, defined and transparently published a clear operational position taking into account scientific and societal issues to inform promising therapeutic approaches for use in research and applications.

“We are committed to making our patented CRISPR technology broadly available to the global research and discovery community,” said Udit Batra, CEO, MilliporeSigma stated in an announcement in December. “We will continue to play an active role, responsibly and ethically, in ensuring that scientists have access to the latest CRISPR technologies.”

With a 14-year history in the genome-editing field, MilliporeSigma was the first company to offer custom biomolecules for genome editing globally, driving adoption of these techniques by researchers all over the world. MilliporeSigma was also the first company to manufacture arrayed CRISPR libraries covering the entire human genome, accelerating cures for diseases by allowing scientists to explore more questions about root causes.

Dentistry company expands in Stockton

 

Central Valley Business Times

January 7,2019

  • Western Dental opens its first pediatric dental office
  • “The new office builds upon our solid base in Stockton”

Western Dental & Orthodontics, one of the nation’s largest oral healthcare and orthodontics companies, is opening its first children’s dentistry offices in Stockton.

The new office, at 616 West Hammer Lane, will serve pediatric patients exclusively. Western Dental also owns and operates five other Western Dental offices in Stockton, which serve patients of all ages.

“Our pediatric dental team is excited to be part of the Stockton community in this beautiful new office with state-of-the-art digital equipment,” says Syed Hyder, managing doctor for the new Stockton office.

The 3,500 square-foot office has been designed with colorful graphics. The pediatric dental services include sealants to help  prevent cavities, fluoride treatments, and a full-service orthodontics department.

“The new Western Dental Kid’s office in Stockton builds upon our solid base in Stockton and expands access to children in the area,” says John Luther, chief dental officer for Western Dental.