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Dartmouth Medicine Spring 2011

Dear Reporter, Editor, or News Director:

In the Spring 2011 issue of Dartmouth Medicine, read about:

A winning combination: An international drug trial, led by a Dartmouth pediatrician, was recently halted because the new regimen was clearly so much better than the standard treatment for infants infected with HIV. This is the second time in recent years that a pediatric HIV trial led by Dr. Paul Palumbo has been stopped early because of the success of the new regimen he's testing. These results, he says, have "turned the whole treatment world on its head." See page 5.

Promising cancer vaccine strategy: Tumor cells may become their own worst enemy, if a new vaccine for metastatic colorectal cancer proves effective. The results from a study involving 26 patients showed promise that the technique-which combines bits of the patient's own tumor with immune cells-may help people live longer without a recurrence. See page 3.

Talk therapy for OR errors: A specialized communication approach implemented in the operating rooms at 121 Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide is saving lives and preventing mistakes-minor and major. That's according to an initiative led by two members of the Dartmouth medical faculty who are based at the Dartmouth-affiliated VA in White River Junction, Vt. See page 6.

A different kind of intensive care: Often confused with hospice care, palliative care is about caring for the whole patient, not just a patient's disease. Dartmouth-Hitchcock's multidisciplinary palliative-care team, led by Dr. Ira Byock, helps patients with serious illnesses deal with the physical, emotional, spiritual, and even financial challenges they face. See page 32.

Mining health data for gold: Dartmouth-Hitchcock has joined five other top health-care systems from across the country to pool data about outcomes, quality, and cost for the most common and expensive medical conditions and treatments. The Collaborative, as it is called, expects to have identified best practices for knee replacements by mid-2011-and then intends to share them widely. See page 9.

Right on the money-and quality: Dartmouth-Hitchcock has been a top performer in a five-year federal demonstration project aimed at providing patients with less expensive, more effective, better-organized care. The demo will likely become a model for restructuring health care nationwide. See page 12.

It takes a valley: Stemming the obesity epidemic requires a community-wide approach. That's the precept behind the Upper Valley Healthy Eating and Active Living partnership. Sponsored in part by Dartmouth-Hitchcock, it brings together many organizations to work on many fronts. See page 16.

Risk reduction through fewer transfusions: Blood transfusions used to be routine during heart surgery, but recent studies have shown that transfusions can increase a patient's risk of infection and other negative outcomes. That's why Dartmouth-Hitchcock surgeon Lawrence Dacey has spearheaded a multi-year effort that reduced the transfusion rate during heart surgeries at DHMC from 33% to 26%. See page 11.

To pursue any of these stories, contact David Corriveau, media relations officer for Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth-Hitchcock, at 603-653-1978 or David.A.Corriveau@Hitchcock.org.

Dana Cook Grossman



Geisel School of Medicine at DartmouthDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College