January

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Pandemic brings perseverance, praise-worthy patient care

Published on Monday, January 4, 2021

Even in a pandemic, the Medical Center logged groundbreaking accomplishments and many proud moments as it persevered in its missions of health care, research and education.

UMMC scientists brought in a record $82.3 million in research dollars and took part in 79 clinical trials, some of them with partners at other research institutions. Of that number, 23 focused on solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, including safe and effective treatment and vaccines.

Children’s of Mississippi, UMMC’s statewide pediatric arm, in November opened the state-of-the-art Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower. It houses 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, 32 private pediatric intensive care rooms, a dozen cutting-edge surgical suites, a pediatric imaging center and a multidisciplinary outpatient specialty clinic.

Enrollment in the Medical Center’s seven health sciences schools, plus its graduate education program for residents and fellows, climbed to 3,008. UMMC was one of a small handful of Mississippi institutions of higher learning that recorded an enrollment increase for the year.

And to say the Medical Center was innovative in its COVID response is an understatement. UMMC partnered in late March with the Mississippi State Department of Health and other agencies to offer drive-through COVID testing at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson and dozens of sites statewide. UMMC researchers, clinicians and technologists swiftly created their own laboratory developed COVID-19 test and began using it in-house by March 26. Today, the Medical Center processes tests given to Medical Center patients and employees and to those using the MSDH testing sites, with that number topping 161,000 as of Dec. 30.

Using basic supplies found at most hardware stores, a UMMC anesthesiologist engineered a respirator for use by COVID-19 patients should traditional ventilators run short. The Medical Center’s bringing all its resources to bear on the pandemic hasn’t gone unnoticed; throughout the year, its administrators, health system leaders, scientists, infectious diseases specialists and faculty have been sought after for their expertise by the nation’s most elite media, conducting dozens of interviews and spending many hours on Zoom.

Through it all, the Medical Center’s front-line staff has worked tirelessly to care for those stricken by the virus and continues to serve as a leading voice in explaining the virus and conveying the urgency of stopping the COVID-19 spread. At the same time, caregivers did what they do all day, every day, for those not coping with COVID-19: provide exemplary treatment for Mississippi’s sickest of the sick.


January 

Sanderson Farms Championship host breaks record with $1.3M gift to help Children’s Hospital

Celebrating a sixth record-breaking year in philanthropy, Sanderson Farms Championship host Century Club Charities presented a $1.3 million donation to Friends of Children’s Hospital during a news conference today. Friends, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Children’s of Mississippi, has pledged $20 million toward UMMC’s seven-story pediatric expansion and is past the halfway point in reaching that goal, said board chair Melanie Morgan.

Sanderson Farms Championship host breaks record with $1.3M gift to help Children’s Hospital
Celebrating the record-breaking Century Club Charities donation to Friends of Children's Hospital are, from left, Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair, professor and chair of pediatrics; Felton Walker, Children's of Mississippi patient; Steve Jent, Sanderson Farms Championship executive director; Melanie Morgan, Friends of Children's Hospital board chair; Pat Busby, Century Club Charities president; Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs; Joe Sanderson, Sanderson Farms CEO and chairman of the board; Tiana Rollins, Children's of Mississippi patient; Hillary Burroughs, Sanderson Farms director of marketing; and Dr. Guy Giesecke, Children's of Mississippi CEO.

State’s 2020 CMNH Champion keeps the beat with a mended heart

Sybil Cumberland of Preston, 7, a Children’s of Mississippi Children’s Heart Center patient, will represent more than 180,000 children who see UMMC specialists for pediatric care each year. She and her family have been strong supporters of the state’s only children’s hospital, leading toy drives and broadcasting their story during the Mississippi Miracles Radiothon. 

Patient’s mysterious neurological disease no match for UMMC specialist

Two years ago, Greenwood resident Michael Jordan slowly began to lose the ability to breathe and to swallow. Doctor after doctor couldn’t diagnose his mystery disease, and he spent his 40th birthday in the ICU. On a ventilator at Methodist Specialty Care Center, Jordan was finally diagnosed by Dr. Saurabh Shukla, a UMMC neurologist, and the rest, as they say, is history.


February 

SOD faculty, students' weeklong mission: Offer free care to more than 1,000

The School of Dentistry’s fourth annual Dental Mission Week event will culminate tomorrow when about 400 Jackson Public Schools students will receive free dental care during Give Kids a Smile Day.

Clinical trial partnership unique to state gives Huntington’s patients hope

Individually, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ALS are each devastating, fatal diseases. But all of them together? That’s how the medical profession describes Huntington’s disease. UMMC is offering unique, specialized care and a clinical trials partnership with the University of Alabama-Birmingham to give HD patients new hope.


March

UMMC students volunteer for ‘army’ fighting novel coronavirus

Since early last week, nearly 250 UMMC students have been deployed to different jobs on and off the Medical Center campus to help in the fight against COVID-19. Students from all seven schools are represented on the COVID-19 Student Response Coordination Team.

Community donors bolster Medical Center during COVID-19 response

As UMMC continues to care for patients and facilitate testing during the COVID-19 outbreak, weary frontline staff are getting a boost from the community. Donations of meals, PPE and necessities for patients and their families are lifting spirits as the Medical Center's response ramps up.

Photos: Pictures tell story of COVID-19's impact

Life at the University of Mississippi Medical Center changed dramatically once the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., as this photo essay illustrates. While the academic corridor is stilled by the absence of students, the clinical areas are abuzz with preparations for the coronavirus onslaught, and UMMC leaders spend long hours each day in COVID-19 "war rooms," plotting the institution's next response to the virus' threat to Mississippi's health.

John Carter, left, MICU nurse, helps Jessie Harvey, second from left, assistant professor of medicine, pulmonary, don protective gear while J. D. Chisolm, second from right, MICU nurse, does the same for Kelly Jones, respiratory therapy supervisor, during a pilot training session in the Simulation Center.
John Carter, left, MICU nurse, helps Jessie Harvey, second from left, assistant professor of medicine, pulmonary, don protective gear while J. D. Chisolm, second from right, MICU nurse, does the same for Kelly Jones, respiratory therapy supervisor, during a pilot training session in the Simulation Center.

New name reflects ongoing mission for pediatric hem-onc center

What had been the Children’s Cancer Center is now the Children’s of Mississippi Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. The new name more accurately reflects the center’s hematology and oncology mission and the importance of treating blood-related conditions for children throughout the state.


April

Telehealth technology 'linchpin' of Medical Center’s COVID-19 response

Mississippi’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 stem from the Medical Center’s telehealth expertise. The crisis has prompted telehealth use that may likely continue after the pandemic has ended.

Regions matches donations to UMMC COVID-19 relief up to $50K

Donors helping UMMC through its COVID-19 Recovery Support Fund are now seeing double. Their gifts will be matched dollar for dollar - up to $50,000 - by Regions Bank. The effort is helping the Medical Center respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak by funding purchases of medical equipment and supplies.

Photos: One mission, one family - UMMC takes on COVID-19

From toting pizzas to exhausted coworkers to stocking personal protective gear in Garage B, Medical Center employees are taking care of patients and each other. The employees' reach extends beyond campus as they continue one-day COVID-19 testing sites in the state's far corners and a seven-days-a-week specimen collection operation at the Mississippi Fairgrounds in Jackson.

UMMC begins COVID-19 clinical trials

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is preparing to activate several clinical trials studying COVID-19 treatment strategies during the next two weeks. Conducting these studies will help UMMC and other institutions treat patients with COVID-19 now and during any potential future outbreaks.


May

Health System keeps ship steady despite COVID-19's uncharted waters

When news about COVID-19 was bleak and the novel coronavirus' spread to Mississippi became inevitable, UMMC leaders acted early to protect its employees and patients by enacting policies that guide the Health System through the growing pandemic. UMMC leaders are planning for a future marked by a virus that could linger for months or even years.

Obstacles can't keep UMMC's Class of 2020 from crossing the finish line

Spring break was anything but relaxing for faculty in the Medical Center's seven schools. They had days to place most course content online as it became clear that students wouldn't return to campus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, the faculty and students pushed through to graduation for the sake of patients who will need their care and comfort.


June 

Caring for COVID-19 patients: Teamwork, time make difference

A day in the Medical Center’s intensive care units and floors dedicated to COVID-19 patients brings many things. In the ICU, adults fight to live. On the floor, there’s more hope of recovery. The common ties are front line and support staff who stride toward the threat and the cautious promise of new treatments that could make a difference between life and death.

Allison Moore, medical ICU nurse, dons full personal protective equipment when she enters the rooms of COVID-19 patients.
Allison Moore, medical ICU nurse, dons full personal protective equipment whenever she enters the rooms of COVID-19 patients.

OCH Regional Medical Center, UMMC open OCH Cardiology with University Heart

University Heart cardiologists are filling a longstanding care gap as part of the Medical Center’s affiliation with OCH Regional Medical Center in Starkville. Every Monday, OCH Cardiology with University Heart is seeing patients for a wide range of non-invasive services. The affiliation also allows residents to get their cardiac care requirements locally.

AirCare, Anderson Regional Medical Center enhance affiliation

The Medical Center’s affiliation with Anderson Regional Medical Center is flying high. UMMC’s AirCare medical air transport, the most advanced in the state, is enhancing its regional partnership with Anderson so more patients in need of trauma care can receive it locally from Anderson’s critical care team. UMMC is providing clinical support, protocols and policies to afford patients the highest level of care possible.


July

Stemming COVID-19: ‘What we are doing now is not working’

You don’t have to be a health care professional to realize Mississippi is going in the wrong direction in its attempt to stem the widespread transmission of COVID-19. Unless more people take the critical precautions of wearing a mask, social distancing, shunning gatherings and washing their hands frequently, hospitals will soon be overrun and beds will be even more scarce.

Caring for COVID-19-positive moms a labor of love

Most women who give birth at Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants have pressing health problems: HIV, obesity, hypertension, heart or kidney failure. But when a pregnant woman contracts COVID-19 on top of other potentially dangerous comorbidities, a delivery already fraught with complications becomes even more complex. Wiser’s Labor and Delivery team has persevered in saving all of its COVID-positive mothers and their babies since the pandemic began, but it hasn’t been easy, and will only get harder.

From STEM to stern, research lab is all-female, all-diverse, all the time

Peopling her research lab at the University of Mississippi Medical Center with a culturally-diverse staff which is also exclusively women was, more or less, an accident, said Dr. Sarah Glover, the lab’s principal investigator. But it was a happy one, she said, considering scientific research’s shortage of females and minorities, whose insights often go untapped.


August

For sickest COVID patients, struggle for recovery begins with emergency care

In the Medical Center’s Adult Emergency Department, care for a growing number of COVID patients has a domino effect. Between those patients, the traumatically injured and desperately ill, and many COVID and non-COVID patients who need hospitalization but must wait for an open room, the ED’s 52 beds can’t keep up. That calls for a flexible, creative, mission-oriented front line.

Pandemic sparks classroom flexibility, staff creativity for fall semester

When COVID-19 reached the University of Mississippi Medical Center's academic halls last spring, each of the seven schools on campus quickly transitioned traditional classrooms to online learning opportunities. While the pandemic continues to ravage the state five months later, the Council of Deans has planned a hybrid approach to educating the state's future health care workforce this fall.

Critical care expertise, experience define the 'C' in ICU

Patients in UMMC's four intensive care units have treatment teams that include board-certified critical carephysicians and a wealth of acute-care providers from multiple specialties and subspecialties. These providers are resources that smaller, more rural hospitals don’t have, and they can make all the difference in the level and quality of care patients receive.

Jocelyn Rollins, left, and Channelle Hunter, advanced practice nurse practitioners, round to patient rooms in the CVICU.
Jocelyn Rollins, left, and Channelle Hunter, advanced practice nurse practitioners, round to patient rooms in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.

New Interventional Radiology Suite offers state-of-the-art care

Medical Center patients in need of life-changing imaging services will receive care in a new, state-of-the-art facility with cutting-edge equipment that’s among the most elite in the nation. The Department of Radiology’s spacious Intervention Radiology Suite replaces services formerly housed in older, cramped quarters on campus.


September

Children’s of Mississippi names expansion after Sandersons

The Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi more than doubles the square footage devoted to pediatric care at UMMC. The tower, a complement to the Blair E. Batson Tower, includes private intensive care rooms for newborns and children, a dozen state-of-the-art surgical suites, a pediatric imaging center and an outpatient specialty clinic for follow-up care. 

When seconds count, AirCare brings blood to critically ill patients

Trauma patients flown by AirCare, the state's most advanced medical helicopter transport, can need more than critical-care treatment. They often have bleeding emergencies that AirCare's crews are equipped and trained to handle.

Brad Harper, flight paramedic, stocks blood and blood products on board AirCare 1 as it waits at the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services to be dispatched on its next call.
Brad Harper, flight paramedic, stocks blood and blood products on board AirCare 1 at the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services while waiting to be dispatched on its next call.

UMMC receives $1.6 million for COVID-19 community study

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has funded a two-year, $54 million study on COVID-19 exposure and prevention in the eastern United States. UMMC will be one of five hospital systems working to understand the dynamics of the disease.


October

Father-son duo update world’s most important physiology book

Independent of each other, Dr. John Hall and Dr. Michael Hall have forged remarkable careers in their separate areas of expertise: physiology and cardiology, respectively. But as editors and authors of the latest revision of a classic medical textbook, they are on the same page.

Ribbon cut on Kathy And Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s Of Mississippi

A new day dawned for pediatric care in Mississippi with the opening of the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi. The tower more than doubled the square footage of the state’s only children’s hospital and provides a state-of-the-art facility for treatment of conditions ranging from routine to rare.

Medical Center’s 1,000th hospitalized patient with COVID-19 safely discharged home

Timothy Hudson, a 34-year-old Raleigh resident, on Oct. 26 became the Medical Center's 1,000th hospitalized patient with COVID-19 to be safely discharged. Another 619 patients with COVID-19 have been treated in UMMC's adult and pediatric emergency rooms. And sadly, 200 others cared for here died from the virus. 

Front-line caregivers at the Medical Center cheer on Raleigh resident Timothy Hudson, the 1,000th patient with COVID treated at UMMC, as he departs following a one-week stay.
Front-line caregivers at the Medical Center cheer Timothy Hudson of Raleigh, the 1,000th patient with COVID-19 treated at UMMC, as he departs following a one-week stay.

November 

Patient care begins today in Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower

The day dreamt of is now here: the opening of the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi. The first patients arrived for surgical care just before dawn, with imaging and clinical carep atients following later in the morning. The tower’s 32 private pediatric intensive care rooms and 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms open Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

After hand-sanitizing, Dr. Guy Giesecke, Children's of Mississippi CEO, and Jovi McCloud of Morton, the first patient to enter the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children's of Mississippi, share a high-five as Jovi's mother, Amy McCloud, watches with approval.
After hand-sanitizing, Dr. Guy Giesecke, Children's of Mississippi CEO, and Jovi McCloud of Morton, the first patient to enter the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children's of Mississippi, share a high-five as Jovi's mother, Amy McCloud, watches with approval.

Justice Dept. grants $6M to confront opioid abuse, save lives

A multi-million-dollar award from the U.S. Department of Justice will go a long way toward helping UMMC and the Mississippi State Department of Health counter the threat of substance abuse and, in the words of one UMMC professor, “turn things around.”


December

UMMC's top nurse leader sets stellar patient care example

Kaye Flanagin not only looks out for patients, but those who care for them. As nurse manager of the adult nursing float pool, she deploys nurses to fill staffing needs resulting from call-ins, employees on leave or staff openings. It's a challenging job, especially in a pandemic, but Flanagin says she is grateful for the opportunity to serve.

UMMC begins vaccinating frontline employees for COVID-19

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s fight against the spread of COVID-19 got hundreds of shots in the arm today, as the vaccination of front-line employees began.

Dr. Bhagyashri Navalkele, medical director for Infection Prevention, was the first of UMMC's front-line employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
Dr. Bhagyashri Navalkele, medical director for Infection Prevention, was the first of UMMC's front-line employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19.