NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Archive for June, 2017

PalPITTations Create Original Song to Help Guide the CPR Process

Many of those who are CPR certified remember learning how to do perform CPR to the rhythm of the Bee Gee’s “Staying Alive.”

The University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate Health Sciences a cappella group, the PalPITTations, took a new approach to mixing music and CPR. Writing a song at 100 beats per minute (BPM), the recommended rate of chest compressions, PalPITTation students combined their love for music and healthcare.

The PalPITTations were tasked to write a song about CPR that various UPMC emergency departments could use in a music video competition amongst all UPMC staff.

“We were really excited about getting involved in this competition, so we agreed to help and write a totally original song about CPR,” PalPITTation music director Michael Belsky said.

The PalPITTations are mostly comprised of medical students, but also have students in Ph.D. graduate programs. Between studying for exams, the dual music and medical enthusiasts wrote and recorded the song. Not only is the song a fun background for the music video competition, but it can be used as a reference when performing CPR.

PalPITTations Create Original Song to Help Guide the CPR ProcessDr. David Salcido, research assistant professor of emergency medicine at UPMC, was happy to see that the group captured the main concepts of CPR and cardiac arrest while also using employing artistic creativity.

“These concepts often seem medically and scientifically detached from everyday life experiences, especially the way they are presented in textbooks, informational literature and training courses,” Salcido said. “What the Pitt PalPITTations did was unusual in that it is accurate and artistically compelling.”

Belsky is excited to see what the future holds for the original CPR song.

“We hope that this song will be a fun, catchy background that can help UPMC emergency departments in spreading awareness and information about CPR,” Belsky said.

For now, the PalPITTations must wait to see how the song does in the competition and beyond.


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UPMC Sports Medicine Patient Wins Freddie Fu Scholarship

UPMC Sports Medicine Patient Wins Freddie Fu ScholarshipIncoming Charleroi High School senior Sierra Short’s painful knee injury had the positive effect of inspiring her future.

Short was recently awarded the 2017 Freddie Fu Sports Medicine Scholarship, after her personal experience with an injury motivated her interest in orthopaedics and sports medicine.

The highly competitive scholarship, created by world-renowned surgeon and chair of UPMC orthopaedic surgery, Dr. Freddie Fu, awards one annual scholarship of $2,000 and internship opportunities to a student who demonstrates academic excellence, leadership traits, community involvement and a commitment to a career in sports medicine.

During her sophomore year, Short tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) playing soccer. She was initially misdiagnosed with a dislocated knee cap. Dealing with intense pain and concerned she would never play sports again, Short sought a second opinion with the experts at UPMC Sports Medicine.

Dr. Dharmesh Vyas later diagnosed her with a torn ACL, and surgically reconstructed the damaged ligament.

After nine months of care under Dr. Vyas and rehabilitation with the physical therapists at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, Short made a return to sports this past fall.

“The medical staff was very thorough about how long things would take and how difficult they would be,” Short said. “They were always there for me and always spent the time needed for my recovery.”

Dr. Vyas was a major factor in contributing to Short’s educational goals as Short plans to pursue a career in orthopaedic surgery, specializing in sports medicine.

“The care I received from Dr. Vyas and the physical therapists at UPMC Sports Medicine was an important part of my returning to sports,” she said. “I hope that one day I can do the same for someone passionate about returning to physical activity after an injury.”

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Partnership Between Pitt and Tsinghua Reaches Milestone

A highly innovative global partnership connecting the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine with the top science and technology university in all of China reached an important milestone this week.

On Monday, 13 Chinese medical students who previously spent two years in Pittsburgh as part of Pitt’s Tsinghua Scholars Program graduated from the Tsinghua University School of Medicine. They are the first Pitt-Tsinghua Scholars to earn their medical degrees. Initiated in 2012 to elevate the training of Chinese physician-scientists, the Tsinghua Scholars Program allows medical students from the university to undergo a rigorous, two-year biomedical research training program in Pittsburgh.

The historic agreement between Pitt and Tsinghua University was recently renewed for a second five-year term. The Tsinghua Scholars Program currently has 67 alumni and 25 active scholars on Pitt’s campus, where they work in the laboratories of some of Pitt’s most accomplished biomedical researchers. To date, 44 Pitt faculty members have participated as mentors.

Since the program’s inception, Tsinghua Scholars have been co-authors on more than 70 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, and they have given more than 100 oral and poster presentations at local and national scientific meetings.

Building on the success of the program, the two medical schools are considering the formation of a combined M.D./Ph.D. program, which would be modeled after the highly successful Medical Scientist Training Program at Pitt and other U.S. medical schools. If implemented, it would be China’s first such dual-degree program.


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Miraculous First Father’s Day

Brandon Lischner is particularly grateful for his 7-month-old son — a “miracle” child because Lischner and his wife had very little chance of conceiving.

Lischner was first diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 18. He was single and didn’t give fertility preservation a serious thought before undergoing surgery and cancer treatments. When his cancer returned 13 years later, he was now married, and his doctors were adamant about sperm preservation before performing the surgery that was needed to treat his cancer, but would most likely make him infertile.

Three years later, the couple sought out in vitro fertilization at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC even though Lischner’s banked sperm count was extremely low as a result of his surgery and chemotherapy treatments.

With only a one in 100,000 chance of conceiving, the treatment was successful. Against the odds, Lischner is now “Daddy.”

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UPMC Mercy Wheelchair Wash Supports Pittsburgh’s Wheelchair Users

UPMC Mercy Wheelchair WashFor people who rely on wheelchairs for mobility, wheelchair maintenance is important to ensure their safety.

Volunteers from the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute washed and inspected both manual and power wheelchairs, performing minor repairs and evaluating potential problems. While their wheelchairs were being washed, guests saw demonstrations from rehabilitation-focused vendors and participated in a wheelchair skills obstacle course.

Paralympic gold medal-winning wheelchair rugby player Mark Zupan served as the event’s motivational speaker, inspiring guests with his personal journey. After his paralyzing injury as a teenager, Zupan went on to represent the United States at the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics and star in the 2005 documentary film Murderball.

To view photos from the 2017 Wheelchair Wash and Tune-Up, visit the UPMC Flickr gallery.

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