Rapid Pulse: News and notes

Abiodun Akinwuntan, an associate professor of physical therapy, neurology, ophthalmology and graduate studies at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, has been named a Fulbright Foreign Scholar.

Akinwuntan, director of the GRU driving simulation laboratory and interim associate dean of research for the College of Allied Health Sciences, will spend 10 months in Nigeria, teaching and conducting research in the College of Medicine at the University of Lagos. His goal is to improve physiotherapy education and research and the rehabilitation of neurologically impaired patients in Nigeria.

The Fulbright Program, administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, matches countries looking for expertise in certain areas with U.S. faculty and professionals who can provide it. Akinwuntan’s award is the first granted to further physical therapy education and research in Nigeria.

Akinwuntan will teach five courses in neurology and research to instructors and students, incorporating the latest technologies and concepts in evidence-based rehabilitation, preferred research design and methodologies, technology-enhanced presentation skills, and statistics.

Akinwuntan’s research component will compare virtual reality-based rehabilitation with conventional strengthening and reaching exercises, aiming to optimize treatment of the upper limbs after stroke. Nigerian professors and students will participate in the project.

Major award: Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, in collaboration with Emory Healthcare, received a three-year, $1.5 million award to further refine and spread the Accountable Care Unit model across Emory Healthcare. The ACU model strengthens the collaborative practice environment across acute care inpatient units.

“We are extremely optimistic about the potential of this collaboration,” said Linda McCauley, RN, Ph.D., dean of the nursing school. “This partnership expands the patient impact of ACUs within Emory Healthcare and provides an enriched learning environment for our students.”

The award was made by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Nurse Recruitment, Practice, Quality, and Retention-Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice mechanism. The key objective of the award is to increase the number of staff nurses trained to lead interdisciplinary, unit-based teams.

Accountable Care Units are jointly managed and geographically distinct patient care areas that are responsible for the clinical, service and cost outcomes they produce. The Emory expansion is planned in two phases, bringing in three new ACUs in the first year and four more in years two and three.

New nurse navigator: Gwinnett Medical Center recently appointed Gretchen Hayward as a diagnostic nurse navigator to provide patients with additional coordination and guidance through the diagnostic process.

GMC will now have a two-person breast nurse navigation team. Hayward will enhance the team by being available during the diagnostic and treatment process to provide information, support, navigation and coordination of services.

Hayward recently received certification through the National Consortium of Breast Centers, the nationally recognized organization for breast centers. Her credentials include CBPN-IC, certified breast patient navigator in both imaging and cancer.

Top-notch ratings: All three A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab locations in metro Atlanta have earned a 5-star quality rating from Nursing Home Compare, which measures every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the nation.

More than 15,000 nursing homes nationwide are compared based on the three latest state inspections and recent complaint investigations. The ratings also take into account the level of staffing hours by health care professionals and each facility’s quality measures, which are based on resident assessment data that shows how well nursing homes care for residents’ needs.

A.G. Rhodes at Wesley Woods also recently received zero deficiencies on its Quality Indicator Survey administered by the state of Georgia. The survey is held annually for all facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid and/or hold licensure by the state.

A.G. Rhodes of Cobb recently was awarded an Excellence in Action award for superior resident and employee satisfaction scores in 2012. The National Research Corporation presents the award to skilled nursing homes that successfully measure and improve quality of care.

A.G. Rhodes of Atlanta, which has served the community for more than 100 years, has also been recognized among the best nursing homes in the state in 2013 by U.S. News and World Report.

PA partnership: Mercer University’s physician assistant program and Piedmont Heart have collaborated to create the Mercer-Piedmont Heart physician assistant residency in advanced cardiology. The residency is one of the first advanced cardiology postgraduate PA residencies of its kind.

Residents will take part in the admission and consultation of cardiac patients to the intensive care units. The residency includes rounding on nights, weekdays and weekends, and rotating through cardiac subspecialties including, but not limited to, general and interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, advanced heart failure and cardiothoracic surgery.

Residents of the program will acquire skills to prepare them to contribute to the management of advanced cardiac disease pathophysiologies. Additionally, residents will work with experts in advanced imaging techniques that are conducted in the cardiac catheterization lab. There is also ongoing opportunities for residents to obtain Category I continuing medical education credit throughout the year.

A certificate from Mercer University and Piedmont Heart will be awarded after successful completion of the 12-month, postgraduate PA residency in advanced cardiology.

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