‘Mindful Physicians’ aim to know patients’ whole stories 1118

MORGANTOWN — As a longtime volunteer usher at WVU’s Creative Arts Center, medical student Ogaga Urhie sees a lot of plays. So he wasn’t really seeking a revelation when he happened to watch a particular performance in the fall of 2016.

But he got one anyway: An insight into practicing medicine that goes beyond the boundaries of medicine itself. The insight led him to form a student group called Of the Mindful Physician to explore that greater realm.

The play was David Mamet’s “Race,” put on by the School of Theatre & Dance, about a bigotry-tainted investigation and legal defense of a murder suspect.

He was a second-year medical student at the time.

Individually, he said, the subtle elements of the story didn’t necessarily make sense. It was only taken together that they formed the full story.

“I’m guessing many patients have their own stories to tell but no one asks them for their stories.”

That’s how he became interested in listening to what other people have to say and formed the group.

Its initial aim was to expose students to issues patients face outside the medical setting that influence how they interact with healthcare. But the purpose grew, to discover the contributions of other disciplines toward health and healthcare, and to explore how the arts and humanities can help build stronger relationships with patients.

That mindfulness, he said, is important in the 20-minute patient visit model that drives much of healthcare.

“I think that given the pace at which we have to see patients we can miss things, we can forget to ask things — go to the story. With the pace we can just miss opportunities.”

Group meetings acquaint students with patients, with other health care providers and with professionals in other fields who help people in other ways.

“I think having that knowledge in the back of their mind would make them more prone to seeing those opportunities and not missing them.”

Presenters have opened their minds to such topics as music therapy; hippotherapy; eating disorders during pregnancy; death and mortality; addiction, recovery and reintegration into college life; animal therapy; homelessness and healthcare; and domestic violence and healthcare.

ALS patients came and shared their perspectives on living with that disease.

Group members also do volunteer work in fields that contribute to health care but not directly in the realm of medicine. Most recently they’ve lent hands to the Hearts of Gold therapy dog nonprofit — holding a fundraiser and building a playpen for puppies.

“What can a physician do? We’ve had that question many times,” Urhie said. And the answer from the presenters has always been, “We want you to know what we do so that when the time comes that you need us, you know where we are.”

First-year medical student Farha Khan has been involved since the beginning. She met Urhie, she said, during her first week of medical school at an involvement fair. His message clicked.

“I don’t think health care is a solitary thing,” she said. A doctor can’t just diagnose, hand them their medicine and send them on. “Everything that a patient goes through is part of their life. We are just one aspect of that. … It’s in the name itself. It’s about mindfulness.”

A person with a movement disorder, for instance, may need exercise, but that doesn’t address how that patient needs to get there, she said. Of the Mindful Physician helps them identify areas where a patient might need additional help.

“OMP sets up a really nice paradigm,” she said. “I think OMP is all about that social, emotional, mental, environmental aspect of medicine.” You’re not just dealing with a patient but a person.

Urhie and Khan aren’t alone in their vision. Clay Marsh, WVU vice president and executive dean for Health Sciences, has preached that broader view and commends the group for its work.

“Medical students must learn the fundamentals of science and technology to become capable and skilled care providers,” he said. “They must also nurture a compassionate relationship with their patients, and connecting through the avenue of the arts and humanities provides an opportunity for mutual understanding and respect which can facilitate better communication and ultimately better care.”

Also with that view in mind, said Health Sciences spokeswoman Tara Scatterday, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences is offering a new minor in medical humanities and health studies. The program’s description says it “teaches the social and cultural contexts of health, illness and medicine. It demonstrates how perspectives of the humanities and social sciences can help future health care participants — patients and professionals alike — think of health and medicine as more than just science.”

Asked about the 20-minute visit model and the possibility of a culture change among providers, Urhie talked about teamwork and physicians learning to see themselves as leading a team that extends beyond medicine. The group’s outside presenters can help that.

“If they are going to take on the role of leaders, they are going to have to know who all the other members of the team are,” he said. Many people, inside and outside healthcare, have roles to play in the issues patients face.

The group has morphed since Urhie first founded it, he said. Last semester it was just for medical school students. This year, meetings are open to all. They typically draw five to seven people, with a couple of them being med students.

The next step he wants to pursue is to take the group out of the medical school and make it more accessible to all of Health Sciences by putting it under the auspices to the Interprofessional Education office. It would still run by students, but with representatives from each Health Sciences school.

Urhie himself will be stepping out soon. During his second year in medical school he took a break to pursue a master’s degree in clinical research. Next fall, he resumes medical school with a clinical rotation in Charleston. So he’s hoping that by the end of this year, capable hands will step forward to take over the group and keep its mission going.

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WVU visual merchandising students decorate store windows 391

MORGANTOWN — WVU Professor Elizabeth Shorrock gave her visual merchandising students an assignment that helps the public  understand some key messages about sustainability and ethical aspects of the fashion industry.

The students’ project involved five downtown stores participating in a Window Crawl for Fashion Revolution week, which conveniently lined up with the last week of classes.

Shorrock decided she wanted all students to create a window that reflected and promoted the merchandise in each of the stores to help educate the public on what the fashion revolution is.

Shorrock said the project is about “making conscious purchases and understanding that the fashion industry is not always sustainable or ethical. We have those decisions to make when buying something”

Each store brought a unique challenge and message to convey to the public.

River Fair Trade represents fair-trade organizations. Students were able to inform consumers about what fair trade is.

Coni and Franc provides customers with heirloom pieces, so students focused on the aspect of “when you purchase something, it can last a lifetime.”

Shorrock was enthusiastic when discussing the display at Tanner’s Alley. She explained, “Students could celebrate the fact that the owner makes all their own bags. They talked about the anatomy of the bags and what goes into making the bags.”

In regards to LUST Boutique, students faced more of a challenge but came up with the innovative idea of buying something that will last. They also educated consumers on hand-washing an item versus machine washing as hand-washing will allow it to last longer and reduce the amount of water used. This helps with environmental sustainability.

Professor Shorrock is a visiting professor this semester from Chicago. The displays can be viewed at selected stores on High and Walnut Streets.

Fashion Revolution Week is a movement in response to an industrial disaster involving the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh where 1,138 people died and several others were injured. The movement seeks to have manufactures demand ethics transparency and sustainability in the industry.

Teachers pitch math textbooks for next term during Mon BOE meeting 357

MORGANTOWN — If you think math is just about numbers and logic, think again.

It’s also about logistics and delivery systems.

At least it was during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Monongalia County Board of Education (BOE).

Math teachers and coordinators from across the county came out to the meeting to make the final pitch for the textbooks they want to use in their classes next term, which is an annual spring rite for both the board and the district.

Wendy Trump, who teaches math at Morgantown High School, was on the committee that decided the “Big Ideas” Integrated Math Series —  which BOE members approved — would be the most beneficial for her school, and for University High and Clay-Battelle High, on opposite ends of the county.

She liked the way the materials were presented, she said.

“It’s not ‘over-information,’ ” she told the board. “I know we’re math nerds, but we were really taken by it.”

There’s no overload in lugging the big textbook around either, she said.

While the hard copies will stay in the classroom, students will have access to digital copies on their laptops and other devices.

There’s also something else, said Kelly Ann Allen, who helps makes technology integration-based learning at University High: An online tutor.

That service, she said, is available to students between 4 p.m.-midnight most days.

“Do you really think students will use the tutors?” Superintendent Frank Devono asked.

“I hope so,” Allen answered, “when they find out about them.”

In other business, Devono reported on the work of a committee of another kind.

The local group of people appointed to help facilitate the search for his replacement — he’s retiring in June — held its first meeting last week.

The board still hopes to hire a replacement by June 1.

Community Announcements April 25, 2018 163

Drop off old meds Saturday at area Kroger stores

Kroger and Cardinal Health will host drug take-back events at the three Kroger stores in our area from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday.

Local law enforcement officers will be on site to help residents securely dispose of their medications. Kroger pharmacy associates will provide educational resources on prescription drug misuse prevention to participants.

Kroger pharmacy associates also will provide the option to safely dispose of unwanted prescription drug medications at home with the use of DisposeRx.

Info: kroger.com

WVU Student Health plans Puppy Pilates

WVU Student Health will host a Puppy Pilates class Thursday at 4 p.m. at the outdoor rec fields behind the Health and Education/CPASS building. The class is being taught by instructors from Mountain Top Pilates and dogs will be provided from local-area shelters. Students are also encouraged to bring their own pups.

Info: Chelsea Betts, WVU Student Health Communications Specialist, 302-249-6732

Sobriety checkpoint set for Friday in Pursglove

The West Virginia State Police will conduct a sobriety checkpoint from 6 p.m.-midnight Friday on U.S. 19 in Pursglove, near the intersection with W.Va. 7.

Senior center to host fun nights starting Saturday

The North Preston Senior Center will debut its 2018 Fun Nights at 6 p.m. Saturday featuring Karen Bright and friends (Ole Lady and the Boys). There will be a 50/50 drawing and prizes given away. It is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome.

Info: 304-379-1165

Submit essays about mothers for contest

First Lady Cathy Justice and her Student Art Series will host a Wonderful West Virginia Mothers Essay Contest.

All students in 9th and 10th grades, who attend a West Virginia public school, are invited to submit an essay of five hundred words or less to tell how your mother, grandmother, aunt, sister or any woman has helped and inspired you. The essays must be received by May 4.

Students may submit an essay via email to first.lady@wv.gov or mail their entries to The Governor’s Mansion, 1716 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 25305.

Info: Katie Speece, 304-558-3588 or kate.e.speece@wv.gov.