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Vital Signs

News Briefs

SNOW JOB: Dr. Edward Merrens, chief of hospital medicine at DHMC, was the U.S. biathlon team physician at the Vancouver Olympics. Biathlon combines Nordic skiing and target shooting. Merrens was a Nordic skier as an undergraduate at Dartmouth.

PAPER WEIGHT: Dr. David Goodman, a national expert in researching the physician workforce, coauthored an op-ed essay titled "Doctors No One Needs" for the December 23, 2009, issue of the New York Times.

Pitch-Perfect Participant

When Chris Carpenter first heard about the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD), few outside southern New Hampshire could have picked the young major-leaguer out of a lineup. Not even fellow Manchester resident John Xiggoros could have done so—until his physical therapist pointed out the 6-6 pitcher working out at the same rehab center.

It was the late 1990s and Xiggoros and his wife, Patricia, were launching a fund to benefit CHaD in memory of their daughter, who'd died of a rare cancer (see www.kristensgift.com). Hoping to enlist Carpenter's help, Xiggoros asked permission to contact his agent. "Chris asked me who it benefited," Xiggoros recalls. "After a brief explanation, Chris said, 'I'll be glad to help the kids. We don't need any agents. Just tell me where to be and what to do.'"

Since then, Carpenter has won a Cy Young Award and a World Series ring. And made significant donations to CHaD—most recently $20,000 after the National League named the St. Louis Cardinal the Comeback Player of 2009. And he and his wife, Alyson, have visited young patients at CHaD several times. "I was there the day after one of his visits, and the staff was just amazed at how thoughtful and generous he was with his time," says Sharon Brown, CHaD's director of community relations. "He got right down on the floor with the kids."


SOBERING NEWS: Danielle Gulick, Ph.D., completed a study just before arriving at DMS as a postdoctoral fellow, showing in mice that—contrary to conventional wisdom—caffeine does not mitigate the cognitive deficits caused by alcohol consumption.

Tops in the Field of Stress

Much as they welcomed recent recognition from the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), DMS's Matthew Friedman, M.D., and Paula Schnurr, Ph.D., knew better than to rest on their laurels. In fact, the day before they both received national awards at the ISTSS conference in Atlanta, an Army psychiatrist opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people. All manner of media descended on the meeting, clamoring for instant analysis.

Friedman, who received the group's Public Advocacy Award, was ready, calling the event "much more difficult to absorb, to understand" than battlefield deaths.

Schnurr, who received the group's Robert S. Laufer Award for outstanding scientific achievement, calls her colleague "one of the most significant positive influences on the entire field." She and Friedman have a long track record of serving the field together, as cofounders and leaders of the 20-year-old National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, based at the DMS-affiliated White River Junction, Vt., VA Medical Center.


IN THE PINK: "Pink at the Rink" was a theme of the February 5 Dartmouth women's hockey game against Yale. The players wore pink laces in their skates, and fans who wore pink got into the game for only $1. The goal was to promote cancer awareness.

AIRTIME: In 15 years of service, DHART (the Dartmouth- Hitchcock Advanced Response Team) has done 10,631 helicopter transports and 4,835 ground transports. About 80% are hospital-to-hospital, and the rest are "scene calls."

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