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Vital Signs

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New Piano: A Grand Idea
"He could never get enough of "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." Or of "The Girl from Ipanema." Those are just a couple of the oldies

Alissa Poh, who just completed a master's in pharmacology at DMS (and this magazine's editorial internship), liked taking lab breaks at the new piano.

See this article's Web Extras for audio and video of the new piano.

but goodies that David Hall, a longtime volunteer pianist at DHMC, would play on the Steinway grand in the Medical Center rotunda. Hall, a retired computational physicist, died of cancer in early 2007. As he played at DHMC over the years, recalls his widow, Barbara, he came to realize "how much the music meant to people who had been coming [to] and leaving the hospital." He concluded, she adds, "that the new wing [of DHMC] should have a piano, as well as the rotunda."

So his family donated a new Steinway grand to DHMC this spring, in appreciation of the care that he received at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. The piano sits on the East Mall, just above the Cancer Center's waiting areas.


Aid From a Friend Indeed
A lways the student advocate, she continually fought to provide students with the money they needed while keeping end-of-school loans to a minimum," reads a plaque that DMS students presented to Nanci Cirone in June, when she retired as the director of DMS's financial aid office.

During her 27 years in the position, Cirone worked tirelessly to help studentsmanage the escalating cost ofmedical school. She watched as DMS's tuition soared from $9,500 a year in 1980-81 to nearly $38,000 today. And she grew concerned as higher education indebtedness for graduates of private U.S. medical schools rose even faster; it averaged less than $20,000 in 1981 and is now over $150,000. Fortunately, however, average indebtedness is only $106,000 at DMS, thanks to the fact that though over 87% of DMS students qualify for financial aid, 50%of students receive some scholarships—aid that doesn't need to be repaid.

Cirone has stayed in touch with many of the students she's helped over the years. "Her door was always open," reads the plaque, "as an advisor, counselor, and friend."


In the Dark of Night
Cats, dogs, and deer are among creatures particularly well adapted to see in the dark. Now helicopter pilots on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART) can be added to that list, thanks to their new night-vision goggles—modeled below by DHART pilot Grant Hamilton.

DHART hasn't had a single accident in its 13-year existence. But flying nighttime missions can be quite hazardous, especially in mountainous and rural terrain, says Paul Austin, DHART's lead pilot. At night, the goggles "really allow you to see all of the terrain, the weather, and the clouds." Military pilots have been using night-vision technology for more than 30 years. Over the past five years or so, the technology has become more common among civilian helicopter pilots.

The major reason for the goggles, says Austin, "was to add to our safety. But they will also increase our operational capability"—in other words, making it possible to fly nighttime missions that would not have been feasible in the past.


Doggone Tasty Treats
Doting dog owners will soon be able to pamper their pets with gourmet dog biscuits, thanks to Pete's Treats for Pooches, developed by DHMC nurse Peter Nolette, B.S.N. His love of animals, passion for baking, and knowledge of good nutrition have resulted in recipes featuring low-salt, low-fat, preservative- free ingredients, as well as B vitamins and brewer's yeast to discourage fleas. Goodies like Apple Dapples and Three-Cheesies are designed to tempt any pooch, according to their creator.

"My future aspiration is to be the Baskin- Robbins of the dog biscuit world," says Nolette, who recently earned an M.B.A. from Franklin Pierce College and is using that expertise in getting Pete's Treats off the ground. He hopes one day to open a "doggy diner and deli," where humans and canines can eat together. But for now, Nolette's own dogs, Jane and Buddy, as well as his test panel of 25 to 30 dogs, are surely among the most contented canines in the Upper Valley.


All In The Family: Dr. William Boyle, a DMS pediatrician, and Peter Bartline, a Year 2 student, made a presentation this summer at an international conference on patient- and family-centered care. See this article's Web Extras for Bartline's slide presentation.

Pyramid Scheme: Dartmouth's Dr. Joseph O'Donnell was one of eight U.S. oncologists invited to Egypt by the National Cancer Institute of Egypt to advise the nation on its graduate medical education programs in cancer.

Reel Impact: DMS research into the impact on teens of onscreen tobacco was cited in wide press coverage of two recent decisions about cinematic smoking. Disney decided to snuff most smoking scenes, and tobacco use will now be considered in movie ratings.

Green All Over: This year's Prouty Bike Ride went green, slaking the thirst of over 3,500 participants with water from reusable jugs instead of bottles. There was lots of another kind of green as well—$1.6 million raised for the Cancer Center.

Crew Cut: DMS's Dr. Kristine Karlson made the cut as the team physician for the U.S. rowing and canoe-kayak teams at the Pan American Games in Brazil in July. A former Olympic rower, she practices family medicine and sports medicine.

Smoke Out: By July 2008, DHMC will be totally free of smoking—outdoors as well as in. A small but growing cadre of medical centers is concluding that allowing any smoking is simply inconsistent with their missions to improve health.

Night Cap: Dr. Da-Shih Hu, a DMS psychiatrist, hopped into his pj's right after work this summer. But not because he was tired. Well, maybe he was—he capped off his workdays by playing the lead in North Country Community Theatre's production of The Pajama Game!

If you'd like to offer feedback about this article, we'd welcome getting your comments at DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.

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