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Putting Care Back Into Health Care

by Rachel Day

The waiting room in the University's South Jordan Community Clinic is empty: no one is waiting. And that's part of the University's new plan for delivering better health care.

Physicians and administrators at the University of Utah Community Clinics are at the forefront of a national movement to close what is commonly referred to as "the quality chasm," or the difference between the care patients do receive and the care they should receive. A Rand Corporation study published in spring 2006 found that Americans receive only 55 percent of their recommended medical care-regardless of race, sex, income, or location. Physicians and administrators at the U of U Community Clinics decided to change that.

Mike Magill
Mike Magill
"We wanted to improve patients' access to their doctors," says Mike Magill, executive medical director of the Community Clinics. "Nobody should have to schedule an urgent appointment a week or more in advance. We also wanted to reduce the amount of time patients spent waiting once they arrived at an appointment. We knew we wanted to improve the management of chronic diseases, and we wanted doctors to have more quality time to spend with patients."

Rob Lloyd, the Community Clinic's executive director, agrees. "We knew a different system was needed," he says, "one that was responsive and reliably ensured the best patient outcomes, but we also wanted to find out what our patients really wanted. We asked them, and that's how this new system was born."

The new system is called Care By Design, and Magill describes it as "the next phase in the evolution of health care, because it integrates acute, chronic, and preventive care into a unified system."

Under the new model, patients can make a same-day appointment, as well as schedule future lab and follow-up visits so providers can better monitor chronic conditions like high cholesterol or heart disease. Scheduling visits well in advance gives physicians an opportunity to monitor their patients' progress over the long haul, rather than try to piece together a medical history from a series of scattershot appointments over the years.

A medical assistant greets a patient upon arrival and remains with him/her throughout the exam. The MA reviews the person's medical history, and then updates the patient's progress with existing conditions and documents reasons for the current visit, transcribing the doctor's exam directly into the patient's electronic medical record in a database. Each patient's information, including lab results, can be accessed by physicians, medical assistants, and any other members of the "care team" to obtain a comprehensive overview of the patient's condition. This invaluable database provides an accurate, up-to-the-minute patient history that facilitates better treatment and diagnosis. Finally, once the doctor has left, the MA reviews a printed summary of the visit with the patient.

Patient Melina Rowley says she prefers the new "Care By Design" model and hasn't found anything like it outside of the University Clinics. "[At the U clinics], you don't have to wait around, and the MA makes me feel more comfortable. I think more gets done in the exam, instead of waiting for the doctor to rush in at the end and hurry through everything."

—Rachel Day is a Salt Lake City-based freelance writer.

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Understanding Immigration

by Andy Thompson

Drawings by children of immigrants from Mexico.
A group of U of U Honors students recently made a contribution to the understanding of a sensitive but timely topic facing the United States: immigration.

The group of 11 students formed an Honors Think Tank that devoted an entire academic year to the issue. Their research culminated in a comprehensive report on the subject, Immigration in Context: A Resource Guide for Utah. The report examines the history of immigration to the United States, past legislation pertaining to immigration, the economic and fiscal impact of immigrant workers, how the issue is portrayed in the media, and the way in which this coverage frames the immigration debate.

The guide was on display at the Utah Republican State Organizing Convention on June 9.

"It was [surprising to] many Republicans we talked to that undocumented people do indeed pay taxes," notes Michael Clára, vice chair of the Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly, referring to fiscal research in the report.

To provide a greater scope on the subject, the Honors students spent a portion of the 2006-07 winter break in the Mexican state of Michoacán, where they had a firsthand look at how the immigration issue impacts the country and its people.

It was this experience that led the Think Tank to include more personal elements in the report. Interlaced between statistics and research studies are descriptive passages about immigrants' struggles to reach and work in the United States, as well as drawings from children whose parents have emigrated from Mexico to the U.S.

"[Immigration] is not a political issue in Mexico; it is a fact and sometimes a necessity of life," says Anna Thompson, a senior majoring in German and English. "It is one thing to study pie charts, even to hear speakers or watch videos, but it is entirely another to sit in a person's home and listen to the stories of the way immigration has affected them."

—Andy Thompson is an intern with University Marketing & Communications.

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Campus Notebook

Pierre V. Sokolsky
Pierre V. Sokolsky
New Science Dean Selected Pierre V. Sokolsky, professor and chair of physics at the University of Utah and a notable expert in cosmic ray physics, has been named dean of the College of Science. Sokolsky replaces Peter J. Stang, distinguished professor of chemistry, who had served as dean of the College of Science for 10 years. Sokolsky joined the University of Utah physics faculty in 1981 and was promoted to full professor in 1988. He has served as Physics Department chair since August 2003.

A New Building for the College of Social Work In April, the University's College of Social Work broke ground for its new Wilford W. and Dorothy P. Goodwill Humanitarian Building. The facility will serve the needs of the college, the University, and the community by providing space for the Initiatives on Aging and its Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, a new state-of-the-art clinical training center, a community meeting center, and a technology-enhanced classroom.

Anderson and Hannity Debate for Charity In early May, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson BA'73 and conservative talk show host and personality Sean Hannity went head-to-head in a debate at the U's Kingsbury Hall. The heated dialogue over the war in Iraq turned out to be more than mere political theater-it benefited three groups who split the more than $12,000 in ticket proceeds: The Guadalupe Schools of Salt Lake, Primary Children's Hospital, and the Associated Students of the University of Utah. The ASUU was integral to bringing Anderson and Hannity together for the charitable event, which garnered considerable press coverage.

Mickey Ibarra
Mickey Ibarra
Ibarra Donates Papers to the U
In May, Mickey Ibarra MEd'80, former assistant to President Clinton and director of Intergovernmental Affairs at The White House (1997-2001), transferred his personal White House and Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games papers to the University's J. Willard Marriott Library. Notable material in the collection includes photographs of Ibarra briefing President Clinton in the Oval Office accompanied by a personal note from the president, and a 1998 statement by The White House press secretary announcing the appointment of Ibarra as vice-chair (along with Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Jr.) of The White House Task Force on the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Ibarra received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University's Alumni Association in 2001 and was named a Hinckley Institute of Politics Fellow in 2006.

Kennecott Gift for Earthquake Research Kennecott Utah Copper of Utah has committed $600,000, its largest single donation ever, toward a new earthquake information center at the University. The center will be the regional site for earthquake tracking and study for Utah and parts of Idaho and Wyoming, including Yellowstone National Park. The gift comes during the 100th anniversary of the establishment of seismographs on campus, first installed by then-U of U President James E. Talmage in 1907. The earthquake information center, which will soon be housed in the new Frederick Sutton Building, now under construction for the Department of Geology & Geophysics, will be named the Kennecott Earthquake Information Center.

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In Memoriam

Jack Dozier PhD'74, 74, former assistant football coach, freshman coach, and advance scout

Richard P. Ensign ex'41, 88, former chair of the University's National Advisory Council

Gene Jacobsen, 85, former Graduate School of Education assistant dean and Department of Educational Administration chair

Homer Rich ex'38, 90, former instructor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine

Clifford Snyder, 91, former professor and chair of the Division of Plastic Surgery at the School of Medicine

Cheves T. Walling, 91, distinguished professor emeritus of chemistry

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David J. Apple, professor of ophthalmology and pathology at the University of Utah and director of the David J. Apple Center for Ocular Biodevices at the John A. Moran Eye Center, has been inducted into the Ophthalmology Hall of Fame. Apple is a world-renowned expert in clinical ophthalmology, ocular pathology, cataract surgery/intraocular lens (IOL) implantation and refractive surgery, Excimer, PRK, and LASIK research.

At the Utah City Managers Association (UCMA) annual conference in April, U of U Master of Public Administration (MPA) students Jennifer Johnson, Rich Oborn, Brett Neumann, Craig Nielson, and Erick Allen won the second annual competition for the Utah City Manager's Cup. Beating out BYU for the second consecutive year, the U team analyzed a real-life case study that occurred in Orem this past year. The question before the Orem City Council was whether Orem should create a new school district, separate from their current home in Alpine School District. The student teams proposed solutions that they had to defend before a panel of judges and an audience of professional administrators and sponsors.

The KUED production Secrets of the Lost Canyon recently received a 2006 National Educational Television Association (NETA) program production award as the best program in the science and nature genre. The annual NETA awards recognize member-produced excellence in public broadcasting. KUED is the U of U's public broadcasting television station. Congratulations to Secrets producer/writer Ken Verdoia ex'83, producer/editor Nancy Green BA'90, director of photography Gary Turnier BS'91, editor/associate producer Erik Nielsen BS'93, and others significantly involved in the production, including Carol Dalrymple BA'89, Bill Gordon ex'88, Will Montoya BS'88, Bill Brussard BA'00, Ryan O. Hansen BA'05, Frank Jarvis BA'76 MS'06, and Nino Reyos BS'89 MSW'91.

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