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MSU College of Human Medicine News

The way breast cancer genes act could predict your treatment
MSUToday | February 21
A Michigan State University breast cancer researcher has shown that effective treatment options can be predicted based on the way certain breast cancer genes act or express themselves. The research, published in the journal Oncogene, offers up proof that gene expression patterns can help direct the type of therapy a patient might receive, paving the way for more targeted and personalized approaches to care.

Ronald Chandler receives early career award for ovarian cancer research
MSUToday | February 17
Ronald Chandler, assistant professor in the College of Human Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, has received a 2017 Liz Tilberis Early Career Award from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance. The Liz Tilberis Early Career Award recognizes junior faculty who are committed to an investigative career in the field of ovarian cancer research. The intent of these awards is to support a substantial time commitment to research and academic endeavors in ovarian cancer.

Why was this 3-year-old so irritable, and what was wrong with her eye?
New York Times | February 16
The 3-year-old girl was having a very bad day — a bad week, really. She’d been angry and irritable, screaming and kicking at her mother over nothing. Her mother was embarrassed by this unusual behavior, because her husband’s sister, Amber Bard, was visiting. Bard, a third-year medical student at Michigan State, was staying in the guest room while working with a local medical practice in Grand Rapids so that she could spend a little time with her niece. (Bard's intuition, collegial network and access to invaluable decision-support software all contributed to her first diagnostic success.)

Will we lose the doctor who would stop the next Flint?
New York Times Opinion | February 11
Mona Hanna-Attisha was the doctor and first-generation Iraqi immigrant who discovered the dangerous levels of lead in water in Flint, Michigan. Now she worries about what the country stands to lose.

Saving the lives of the future: Grand Rpaids plays startting role in national health care
Rapid Growth | February 9
Dr. Norman J. Beauchamp, Dean of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, has been eagerly awaiting the opening of MSU’s new research facility in downtown Grand Rapids. The building will serve as a testament to the innovation cycle in health care, which, Beauchamp says, starts with a question practitioners need to ask: What can't I do for my patients? Connecting that answer to scientific research, solutions then emerge which can be introduced in clinical applications. With an industry partner, those solutions can be developed into a national and global distribution.

Top 15 US Gran Fondos for 2017
Gran Fondo Guide | February 7
Each year we like to reflect on the previous season, recognizing those rides that have innovated, inspired and motivated cyclists, supported worthy causes and contributed to the phenomenal growth of the U.S. Gran Fondo scene. MSU Gran Fondo is ranked #4.

How one university is taking on the biggest home care staffing issue
Home Health Care News | February 6
With nearly $900,000 in grants from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (MHEF), two MSU professors—Clare Luz, PhD, an assistant professor of family medicine, and Joan Ilardo, PhD, director of research initiatives at MSU’s College of Human Medicine—will engage in separate but complementary programs to better enable home care in their state, and possibly elsewhere in the future.

Two grants help Michigan's elderly with in-home care
MSUToday | January 30
The Michigan Health Endowment Fund awarded $500,000 to Clare Luz, PhD, assistant professor of family medicine, to train and increase the number of in-home personal care aides, and $375,000 to Joan Ilardo, PhD, director of research initiatives, to teach health care providers, patients and their families how to work together to improve the self-management of chronic health conditions. The complementing programs share the goal of helping older Michigan residents stay healthy and avoid unnecessary hospitalization.
READ MORE | Related: Michigan Radio, WILX TV 10, Detroit Legal News, WILS Radio Capital City Recap

Study works to reduce health care violence
MSUToday | January 30
Violence toward health care workers is an occupational hazard of epidemic proportion, but a new study by a Michigan State University College of Human Medicine researcher found that it can be reduced with a structured program. Violence against health care workers “is much more common than what the ordinary person would think,” said Judith Arnetz, a professor and associate chair for research in the Department of Family Medicine. “What we see in our studies is that violence (in medical facilities) is grossly underreported.”
READ MORE | Related: WSYM TV, Macomb County Legal News

New MSU drug offers hope to stop spread of skin cancer
Detroit News | February 5
In a small lab at Michigan State University, researchers have discovered a potential drug that could stop the spread of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 90 percent. Though the potential drug is still two to five years away from human trials, the discovery is being hailed as promising since the man-made, small-molecule compound shuts down a gene’s ability to produce RNA molecules and certain proteins in melanoma tumors, stopping the cancer from spreading.
READ MORE | Related: The Conversation

MSU pediatrician doubts federal vaccine safety commission has a shot
WKAR | January 30
In the days leading up to his inauguration, Donald Trump asked activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to lead a federal commission on vaccine safety.  Kennedy is an outspoken critic of vaccines.  We wanted to know what it takes to actually manufacture and test a vaccine.  Any vaccine. WKAR’s Kevin Lavery spoke with Dr. Keith English, chair of the Michigan State University department of pediatrics and human development to learn about the process.

Poverty simulator creates empathy for those who struggle
Midland Daily News | January 27
Some stole to make ends meet. Others asked families for help. Some were evicted or jailed. One family pondered whether to eat less and be warm, or eat more and “freeze.” It wasn’t real life for Michigan State University medical students, those in MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland’s residency program and those in Davenport University’s nursing program, as they took part in a poverty simulator this week. But poverty is real for 11.5 percent of Midland County’s population — more than 9,600 residents, according to Census data.
READ MORE | Related: Midland Daily News Op-Ed

College of Human Medicine students perform better in new medical curriculum
MSUToday | January 26
After just 12 weeks of introducing a new medical curriculum to its incoming College of Human Medicine students, Michigan State University is finding that these future physicians are already ahead of the game in their academic and clinical skills. “Students even at seven weeks were already clinically performing essentially at the level of students who were at the end of their first year in the previous curriculum,” said Aron Sousa, senior associate dean for academic affairs for the medical college. “It’s the experiential learning aspect of the program that’s making this happen.”

Donald Trump is proposing block grants to replace Medicaid
Self Magazine | January 23
Block grants are designed to save the federal government money, and Leonard Fleck, a professor of philosophy and medical ethics at Michigan State University, tells SELF that’s concerning. “If you give the state a block grant, and it’s reduced in size from what it previously received, the state is responsible for deciding how it’s going to allocate that smaller quality of funding,” he says. If a block grant that a state receives is smaller than state officials think they need, states will need to figure out how to make up the difference—typically through raising taxes, Fleck says.

Can behavioral science help in Flint?
The New Yorker | January 23
Kent Key, the director of the Office of Community Scholars and Partnerships at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, said, “What the narrative has been about Flint is that we were this little poor, docile black community that didn’t have a voice, and needed someone to come and fix it for them.” On the contrary, he stressed, locals had been fighting the switch in the water source long before it happened. “When a community does everything right by the book,” he went on, “and your voice is still disregarded? To me, that speaks to a larger historical, systemic issue of the disregard for communities, particularly communities of color.”
READ MORE | Related: The Nonprofit Quarterly

Cycling for a cure: MSU Gran Fondo 
MiBiz | January 22
The 2,000-plus cyclers who will pedal through West Michigan this June for the Gran Fondo event will do more than just get in a day’s ride. They’ll also contribute to a possible new treatment for melanoma. In its first four years, the MSU Gran Fondo cycling event raised $640,000 for Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. The funds directly supported research that’s already discovered a compound that reduces the spread of melanoma cells by up to 90 percent. 

MSU researchers may have developed melanoma treatment
Grand Rapids Business Journal | January 21
A recent discovery by Michigan State University College of Human Medicine researchers may lead to a breakthrough in treating melanoma. For 13 years, MSU pharmacology professor Richard Neubig was researching a mechanism crucial to the development of the deadly skin cancer. Neubig and his team primarily were interested in finding a compound that could block the RhoC protein from signaling Myocardin-related transcription factors (MRTFs) from initiating growth in melanoma cells.

College of Human Medicine reinvents med school curriculum
Grand Rapids Business Journal | January 21
Striving to remain at the forefront of medical innovation, the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine implemented a new curriculum, which turns the previous format on its head. At the beginning of the fall semester, MSU introduced its Shared Discovery curriculum, which places an emphasis on students receiving clinical experience at the forefront of their education, rather than on the back end. Under the Shared Discovery curriculum, a student will spend the first two years of their medical education performing clinical work in addition to their in-class studies. Previously, the first two years of medical school consisted of in-class learning almost exclusively.

Michigan State's Dr. Mona continues her fight for the health of Flint
BTN LiveBIG | January 21
Michigan State University pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha wants you to know the Flint Water Crisis isn’t over. Yes, the quality of the city’s water has vastly improved, with lead levels below federal limits, but residents are still advised to use filters. It was Dr. Mona, director of the MSU-Hurley Medical Center’s Pediatric Public Health Initiative, who first documented the rising lead levels in Flint’s children and linked it to a change in the city’s water supply. And, it was Dr. Mona who, with relentless vigor, led the charge to inform residents of the water crisis and to demand action from local and state officials. 

Physician rebounds to restart career
Grand Rapids Business Journal | January 20
Just a little more than five years ago, Dr. Sandy Dettmann was living out of her car, eating her meals at Mel Trotter Ministries and re-learning her multiplication tables. In a previous life, Dettmann had been a successful physician at Butterworth Hospital. She had received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, where she initially studied to be a surgeon. She quit that track in the third year of her residency at Butterworth, switching to a three-year residency in emergency medicine.

MDHHS awards $500,000 planning grant to MSU College of Human Medicine for Flint registry planning
MSUToday | January 13
One of the Flint Water Advisory Task Force recommendations included the creation of Registry for the long-term tracking of residents exposed to Flint water from April 2014 to present. Through this planning grant, MSU College of Human Medicine and the MSU-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, will continue working with many community partners including the Greater Flint Health Coalition to build upon approximately one year of registry planning, building, convening and advocacy in order to develop the foundation for the registry. The intent of the registry will be to that identify, track and support Flint Water Crisis victims.
READ MORE | Related: ABC 12, Fox 47, WILX TV 10, Upper Michigan Source, Crain's Detroit Business, MLive, WNEM TV 5, Michigan Radio

Looking back on how state-supported suburban flight laid foundation for Flint water crisis
Michigan Radio's Stateside | January 9
Michigan State University public health expert and urban geographer Rick Sadler argues the true cause of Flint's water disaster goes back decades. Sadler and co-author Andrew Highsmith have published a study laying out their case in the journal Environmental Justice. Sadler joined Stateside to talk about the findings from the study and how, according to him, the public is missing the bigger picture by focusing on the emergency manager or the decision to switch the drinking water source.

Newsmakers of the Year: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
Crain's Detroit Business | January 6
Mona Hanna-Attisha, M.D., the pediatrician who blew the public whistle on the lead poisoning of children and adults in Flint in one of the nation's biggest preventable environmental disasters, continues to advocate for clean and safe drinking and bathing water. "To this day our water is still not safe," said Hanna-Attisha, who practices at Hurley Medical Center in Flint and is the director of the MSU-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative. "I am more hopeful than I have been because Congress passed federal funding for Flint that brings significant money ($170 million) for infrastructure to finally replace the plumbing."

Promising new drug stops spread of melanoma by 90 percent
MSUToday | January 4
Michigan State University researchers have discovered that a chemical compound, and potential new drug, reduces the spread of melanoma cells by up to 90 percent. “It’s been a challenge developing small-molecule drugs that can block this gene activity that works as a signaling mechanism known to be important in melanoma progression,” said Richard Neubig, a pharmacology professor and co-author of the study. “Our chemical compound is actually the same one that we’ve been working on to potentially treat the disease scleroderma, which now we’ve found works effectively on this type of cancer.”
READ MORE | Related: Times Live, Futurity, WLNS TV 6, WOOD TV 8, Yahoo! News, Business Standard, Science Explorer, Medical Daily, State News, Michigan Ag Connection

MSU doctor bravely champions the children of Flint
BTN LiveBIG | January 4
Since sounding the alarm in 2015 about the dangerous levels of lead in municipal water, Michigan State’s Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha has continued to fight for a healthy future for the children in Flint, MI. 

Speaking out on lead, FLint pediatrician fulfills calling
American Medical Association Wire | January 3
When the children of Flint, Mich., were in danger and the people of Flint were ignored, pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, raised her voice in protest. That is because sometimes, with an activist spirit and the help of scientific evidence, a physician is in the perfect position to give a voice to those who are the most vulnerable.