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News you may have missed: medical inventions, lactation counselors, cardiac surgery chief

Program encourages medical innovators 

A heat sleeve designed for limb amputees, an at-home glaucoma measurement test and a personal health and wellness messaging system are among seven medical devices and service proposals selected to participate in the Medical Device Innovation Challenge sponsored by the Upstate MIND (Medical Innovation and Novel Discovery) Center.

“As people age and desire to be active longer, medicine is changing. At the forefront of the change is the need for innovative and new medical devices and services,” said Robert Corona, DO, Upstate‘s pathology chair and vice president for innovation and development. “The Medical Device Innovation Challenge is a way to jump-start our region‘s push into the medical device market. It‘s a growing market worldwide.”

The seven winners receive six months of rent-free space at the Central New York Biotech Accelerator on the campus of Upstate Medical University, plus use of the Upstate MIND Creation Garage, a space equipped with technology such as 3-D printers to help go from idea to prototype. They also get free consultations with business experts on how to pitch their products to gain funding, deal with regulations and produce data to help assess product marketability.

Grant aims to fight lead poisoning

The New York State Department of Health awarded a $1.25 million grant to the Central/Eastern New York Lead Poisoning Resource Center at Upstate. The money, dispersed over five years, allows the center to continue its work as one of three lead resource centers in the state.

While the number of children requiring treatment for lead poisoning has decreased dramatically over the years, youngsters continue to be exposed through lead paint in homes built prior to the 1970s. Laws now limit how much lead is allowed in household paint.

In the Syracuse area, one in 10 children has elevated lead levels, says Travis Hobart, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics and public health and preventive medicine at Upstate. Such exposure puts the children at high risk for school and behavior problems.

New York State mandates blood lead testing in all children at 1 and 2 years of age.

Counselors offer support for breast-feeding

More than a dozen nurses at Upstate University Hospital recently became certified lactation counselors. This means they are prepared to provide breast-feeding support, including assessing the latching and feeding process, providing corrective interventions and counseling mothers.

The increase in lactation certifications reflects the progress the Family Birth Center has made as part of the New York State Breastfeeding Quality Improvement in Hospitals Collaborative. Statistics from Upstate‘s Community campus show that mothers feeding their children exclusively through breast-feeding increased from 40 percent in December 2016 to 68 percent in June 2017, while moms doing some breast-feeding jumped from 75 percent in January 2017 to 91 percent in June 2017.

Hospital is recognized for its technology

Upstate landed on the 2017 national list of Most Wired Hospitals, based on a survey of technology use and capability by the American Hospital Association. In the past year, Upstate has added new applications for radiology, infection control, dental and case management to its electronic medical record system, called EPIC, which also saw a system upgrade. Also added was a bedside lab specimen collection application.

New cardiac surgery chief joins staff

The new division chief of cardiac surgery at Upstate is cardiothoracic surgeon G. Randall Green, MD. He will also serve as co-director of a new heart institute at Upstate and help strengthen Upstate‘s cardiovascular service by expanding existing cardiology and cardiovascular services and adopting new cardiac and surgical treatments and procedures.

Green is a 1989 graduate of Le Moyne College who obtained his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School. He also has a Master of  Business Administration degree from The Johnson School at Cornell University and a doctor of law degree from Syracuse University College of Law. He went to Stanford University for his medical residency, internship and fellowship and did an additional fellowship at the University of Virginia.

Free bike helmets distributed 

Upstate gave away 800 bicycle helmets to children during this year's New York State Fair. Staff from Upstate's Pediatric Trauma Service and Safe Kids Upstate New York were on hand to make sure each helmet was properly fitted.

By law, all bicyclists under the age of 14 are required to wear approved bicycle helmets when bicycling or riding as passengers on bicycles in New York state.

Training focuses on treating abused children

Upstate Golisano Children‘s Hospital offers for the first time a three-year pediatric fellowship with a special focus on treating child abuse and neglect. Just 30 institutions nationwide offer a child abuse pediatric fellowship. Upstate is one of two in New York; the other is at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Upstate Health Fall 2017 coverThis article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Upstate Health magazine.