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Vital Signs

News Briefs

A Pathologist And A Piper
Each Class Day ceremony at DMS has begun the same way for the past six years—with the rich, harmonic tones of bagpipes. Two DMS alumni, James Feeney and Travis Matheney, started the tradition at their own graduation in 2000, leading the academic procession as they played a self-composed piece titled "DMS 2000: Into the New Millennium." The two pipers returned for the next four years, despite their hectic residency schedules. But this year, when the two alums weren't able to get to Hanover for the ceremony, Dr. James AuBuchon, who has been piping for 46 years, gladly dusted off his pipes and donned his kilt. Since AuBuchon is chair of the Department of Pathology and so usually attends Class Day anyway, the new role "just meant that I wore two different costumes that day instead of one," he says. After he led the faculty in—as shown in the photograph at left—he donned his academic robe and sat with his colleagues. The Office of Student Affairs, though grateful to AuBuchon, hopes to bring Feeney and Matheney back in 2006. J. D.

Rx: No More Paper Pads
You think you've got trouble reading your doctor's handwriting? Just think about the poor pharmacist who has to decipher it in order to fill a prescription. But pharmacists at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center don't have to worry about clinicians' poor handwriting any more. A few months ago, DHMC began requiring its healthcare providers to "e-prescribe" medications. Now clinicians review, enter, manage, and sign prescriptions by computer. "We do e-prescribing to minimize and decrease the great potential for medication errors," explains Andrew Gettinger, M.D., associate medical director of DHMC. Not only does the computerized system eliminate problems caused by illegible handwriting or confusing abbreviations, but it will also allow each prescription to be electronically checked for appropriate dosage, interactions with other medications, and patient allergies. DHMC patients will still get a paper copy of their prescriptions, however—as a legible computer printout. L.S.C.

Great Expectations
You remember the guy with the Great Dane [and] the Harley Davidson," says Merilee Perkins, an administrative assistant in the Department of Community and Family Medicine. Perkins and others at DMS will surely long remember 2005 graduate Anthony "Rocco" Perrone, M.D., M.B.A.—and not just for his eccentricities, but also as the first graduate of the newly created M.D.-M.B.A program. "It was clear from our early meetings that Rocco would be a leader and champion" of the dual-degree option, says Dr. Michael Zubkoff, codirector of the program, which is offered jointly by DMS and Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. In May, Perrone also received the program's first award, named in honor of Drs. Norman Payson, DMS '73, and Constantine Hampers, whose philanthropy supports M.D.-M.B.A. students at DMS. "With the award comes recognition, but also great expectations," notes Zubkoff, who is also chair of community and family medicine, "including the expectation that our M.D.-M.B.A. graduates, particularly Rocco—in addition to delivering the best medical care possible—will find ways to help solve the myriad of problems facing health care today." J. D.

Long Site Lines
At the end of July, Dartmouth Medicine launched a major redesign of its website. The new site features a fresh graphic presentation, a thorough reworking of the navigational structure, a more sophisticated search engine, and much richer use of links to other institutional sites. In just the first month after it went live, the new site had logged nearly 100,000 hits, compared to an average of 40,000 a month on the magazine's previous site; by comparison, 27,000 copies of each issue of the paper edition are printed. But while the line of visitors to the new site is long, it features a much shorter URL: http://dartmed.dartmouth.edu. The development of the new site was a collaborative effort of the magazine's staff and the DMS web office. And further enhancements to the site are already under discussion—including image galleries, featuring photos beyond those for which there's room in the print edition, and web-exclusive stories. A.S.

A Huff And A Puff...
On July 9, nearly 2,000 bikers and walkers were huffing and puffing as they participated in the 24th Annual Prouty Bike Ride and Fitness Walk, a fund-raiser for Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center. And ever since then, Cancer Center of- ficials have been gasping (in amazement) as they counted up the proceeds. The 2005 event not only broke but smashed previous records for the event. The 2004 Prouty raised $366,000; this year's income was still being counted at press time, but the total was nearing $760,000. The Prouty has become a huge presence in the region. Lawn signs sprout for miles around in the weeks before the event. Participants travel from all over the country to ride in memory of loved ones affected by cancer. And this year an unusual pair of local celebrities—a handcarved wooden pig and wolf who ornament the lawn of a house in downtown Hanover—promoted the ride by donning Prouty t-shirts and bike helmets. So the fairy-tale ending (financially speaking) seems to have been foreordained. A.S.

Orange You Glad...
An orange circle connotes all sorts of upbeat messages: The liquid gold of Florida orange juice. The glow of a Halloween jack-o-lantern. The richness of a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Now there's another symbol based on an orange circle: A new logo for Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center. A logo is, of course, supposed to be simple, memorable, and evocative. According to a presentation unveiling the new symbol to Cancer Center staff, the three bars of the logo echo the bars of the DHMC logo and "lead the eyes upward toward the circle," while the circle "suggests sun, light, and hope." And the color orange was chosen because it "is associated with warmth, energy, and strength." Officials look to the new logo, according to the presentation to staff, "to strengthen our ability to communicate our distinction as a nationally recognized comprehensive cancer center," as well as "to unify with a shared identity all Norris Cotton locations." Those locations now include not only DHMC in Lebanon, N.H., but also permanent new facilities in Manchester, N.H., and St. Johnsbury, Vt., plus longstanding outreach sites throughout the two-state region. A.S.

FELINE FINE: The Fisher Cats, New Hampshire's Manchesterbased minor league baseball team, chose the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth as their "primary charity" for the 2005 season. The Cats hoped to raise $50,000 for CHaD.

ALL HEART: Leonard Decato of Lebanon, N.H., collapsed as he stepped off an elevator at DHMC on June 3 and woke up the next day—he'd had a heart attack. He was so impressed with his care that he made a gift to DHMC in honor of his doctors.

CASE IN POINT: A team of students from DMS, its Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences, and Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business took second place in a national health-care case competition, solving the problems experienced by a hypothetical patient.

HIGH-WIRE ACT: Dartmouth-Hitchcock was one of only 47 hospitals nationwide listed in both the U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospitals" ranking and in the "100 Most Wired" ranking by Hospital and Health Networks magazine.

LESS IS MORE: Now that a branch of Norris Cotton Cancer Center is open in St. Johnsbury, Vt., radiation therapy patients in the North Country will save 20,000 hours and 1.1 million miles a year driving to get their care.

TOP DOC: Dr. John Wennberg, director of DMS's Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences, was selected by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the U.S.'s "50 Most Powerful Physician Executives." He ranked 14th.

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Dartmouth Medical SchoolDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College