2011 News Stories

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The Queen's Medical Center is Chosen by ENACCT to Boost Clinical TrialsThe Queen's Medical Center is one of six community-based cancer organizations selected for the first-ever nationwide collaborative to increase participation in cancer clinical trials.

"An option for treatment is clinical trials," says Karen Ng, RN, OCN, organization team coordinator. "The hope is to have a good amount of clinical trials available to cancer patients so they have the option of staying in Hawai’i." Clinical trials can focus on new treatments, symptom management, quality-of-life, and improved diagnostics, all of which benefit patient care.

Queen's is one of six organizations nationwide to be awarded a grant from The Education Network to Advance Cancer Clinical Trials (ENACCT) and participate in the National Cancer Clinical Trials Pilot Breakthrough Collaborative. The six organizations were selected from a nationwide pool of applicants. The other five organizations are Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls, Indiana; Bayhealth Medical Center, Dover, Delaware; Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, Georgia; Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Albany, Georgia; and The West Clinic, Memphis, Tennessee.

ENACCT is the only national organization solely devoted to evidence-based, community-centered approaches to cancer clinical trial education. A nonprofit organization, its mission is to improve access to cancer clinical trials through education and collaboration with communities, health care providers, and research staff. ENACCT seeks to increase cancer clinical trial participation and access to quality care for all cancer patients, especially those from underserved communities.

"ENACCT's evidence-based, community-centered approach to improving access to clinical trials, particularly for minorities, is in direct alignment with the work that our QMC Oncology Research Program is doing for Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Pacific Islander populations in Hawai’i," says Debbie Ishihara-Wong, RN, Director of the Queen's Cancer Center and Oncology Services. "This collaboration is significant," explains Ishihara-Wong, "because less than 3% of Asians and Pacific Islanders are currently enrolled in clinical trials nationwide. These populations have the highest cancer incidence and mortality rates."

Darlena Chadwick, RN, QMC vice president of Patient Care, added, "We are pleased to be on this ground-breaking path with ENACCT. As the largest provider of cancer care in Hawai’i, QMC services approximately 40% of all cancer patients in the state. QMC is improving cancer care not only in our state, but throughout the country."

In addition to its selection for ENACCT, Queen's is one of 30 sites in the nation selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to participate in the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP). A key component of the NCCCP is its Disparities Core, which focuses on improving health care and increasing access to clinical trials for disparate and minority communities. Earlier this year, Queen's partnered with the Imi Hale Native Hawaiian Cancer Network (an NCI-Community Network Program Center) and subcontracted with ENACCT to conduct a clinical trials workshop for primary care physicians and clinical staff.

Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program Begins Second YearLast year, The Queen's Medical Center launched a cardiovascular fellowship program in partnership with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). After its first successful year, the fellowship has accepted two additional fellows. According to program director Robert Hong, MD, Medical Director of Queen's Heart Physician Practice and Chief of the Division of Cardiology for JABSOM, the cardiovascular fellowship program and the academic model promotes excellence in the Queen's cardiac care program and therefore improves cardiac care for the people of Hawai’i.

JABSOM serves as the sponsor of the fellowship program and provides faculty support. Queen's also provides faculty and serves as the training site. Officially called the University of Hawai’i Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program, the three-year, accredited program will train cardiologists in Hawai’i and expand cardiovascular medical research in the State. It is Hawai‘i's first Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved cardiovascular fellowship training program.

The cardiovascular fellowship provides intensive training in the sub-specialty of cardiology. The rigorous curriculum is designed to develop "outstanding clinical cardiologists" who are competent practitioners capable of managing the health care of adults "using the full range of medical technological advances while maintaining unwavering professional standards, humanism, and compassion." All clinical rotations will take place at Queen's. "We did great this year," said Dr. Hong, referring to the first year of the fellowship. "Fifteen private cardiologists and eight key clinical faculty members worked together to provide excellent training to our fellows." There are already about 250 new applicants for next year. Fellows are licensed medical doctors who have completed medical school and post-graduate residency training in internal medicine. Two fellows are accepted each year, for a maximum of six.

Selected from an elite group of applicants, this year's new fellows are John Michael "Mike" Sycip Chua Chiaco, MD, and Alexander L. Pan, MD. With an estimated 51 cardiologists currently practicing in Hawai‘i—half of whom are over the age of 55—one of the program's goals is to recruit, train, and keep future cardiologists in the Hawai‘i, since 80 percent of doctors end up practicing where they trained. The cardiovascular fellowship program has also attracted top notch physicians interested in research to Queen's.

"Education and training is the tool that creates an environment where everyone works together and discusses care collaboratively," said Dr. Hong. "The fellowship provides a focus that brings all the elements together, and that reflects in the care. It's the model for the future at Queen's."

Photo caption:
(Front, l to r) new fellows John Michael Sycip Chua Chiaco, MD, Alexander Pan, MD, and second year fellows Kahealani Rivera, MD, and Sekon Won, MD. Behind are Robert Hong, MD, and Assistant Program Director Christian Spies, MD.

Recipients of the Ke Kauka Po‘okela (Outstanding Physician of the Year) award are defined as those who not only serve with distinction, but with aloha. For 2011, The Queen’s Medical Center honored two physicians who have contributed immeasurably to improving medical care for the people of Hawai‘i and are exemplary examples of the spirit of Queen’s. They are David Fergusson, MD, and Peter Halford, MD.

Hospital-Based Physician of the Year 
David J.G. Fergusson, MD, Cardiologist
As a youth, David Fergusson, MD, moved from the UK to South Africa, where he completed most of his medical training. He later completed a two-year fellowship at the Department of Cardiovascular Disease and Cardiac Laboratory at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Beginning in 1966, Dr. Fergusson served as a staff cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, where he worked with the late Dr. Rene Favaloro, who originated the coronary bypass operation. He moved to Hawai‘i looking for a personal approach to medicine, working at Straub Clinic and Hospital for 21 years, and then in private practice at Queen’s for 16 years before joining the Queen’s Heart Physician Practice in 2007. Specializing in invasive and interventional procedures, Dr. Fergusson has helped develop significant improvements in cardiac care at Queen’s, including the Door to Balloon protocol that gets heart attack patients from the doors of the ER to balloon angioplasty in 90 minutes or less, dramatically improving outcomes. Known for clinical excellence and compassionate care, he is also a faculty member of the newly established Queen’s Cardiac Fellowship.
Community-Based Physician of the Year
Peter Halford, MD, General Surgeon
A Queen’s private practice general surgeon, Peter Halford, MD, was born at Queen’s, had his first job at Queen’s, trained at Queen’s, and has had his entire career at Queen’s. Aspiring to be a surgeon since he was a teenager, Dr. Halford graduated with his MD cum laude from Tulane Medical School in 1970. His surgical internship was at San Francisco General Hospital, and first year surgical residency at the University of California, San Francisco. A local boy at heart, he returned to Hawai‘i to finish his surgical residency at Queen’s. Dr. Halford also has held, and continues to hold, many positions at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, as well as on medical associations and at Queen’s. He served as director of Trauma Services at  Queen’s from 1979 to 1996, establishing much of the trauma program; served as vice chief of staff for two terms; and chief of staff for two terms. He then served as Credentials Committee chair, then as chief of surgery. Dr. Halford has again served as Queen’s chief of staff since 2008. Being the chief of staff has been a gratifying challenge, in which he has built consensus amidst divergent opinions to establish hospital policy. A dirt biker and longboard surfer, Dr. Halford is known for his excellent surgical skills, humility, and a mischievous sense humor.

John Pearce, MDWomen who have breast exams at the Queen's Women's Health Center (WHC) can expect a higher standard of diagnostics. The American College of Radiology (ACR) recently designated QMC as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. The designation means that breast imaging services at Queen's are fully accredited in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. Peer review evaluations—conducted in each breast imaging modality by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field—have determined that the WHC has achieved high practice standards in imaging quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs. The principal breast imaging radiologists at the WHC are John Pearce, MD, medical director of Breast Imaging; Clayton Yamada, MD, director of Breast MRI; and Corless Chun, MD, senior breast imaging radiologist.

The WHC's Mammography DepartmentBy awarding facilities the status of Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, the ACR recognizes breast imaging centers that have earned accreditation programs and modules, in addition to the mandatory Mammography Accreditation Program. "The Queen's Medical Center is the only breast center in Hawai’i designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence and accredited by the NAPBC (National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers)," said Darlena Chadwick, RN, Vice President of Patient Care. "In addition, Queen's is a selected NCCCP (National Cancer Institute's Community Cancer Center Programs) site, of which there are only 30 in the nation. Queen's is one of only six hospitals in the nation that has NAPBC accreditation and is also a NCCCP site."


Photo captions:
1. John Pearce, MD, medical director of Breast Imaging. 2. The WHC's Mammography Department was also recently honored with Queen's Service Excellence Award for outstanding outpatient satisfaction.

Patients of The Queen’s Medical Center who need MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) can now immerse themselves in a virtual world during scans via CinemaVision, a special video and sound system that can play movies and music, or simply show what’s on TV. Purchased with funds raised from the 2009 Queen’s Employee Giving Campaign, the audiovisual system significantly helps claustrophobic patients and children endure MRI scans, for which they must remain still for a half to a full hour. The system features special earphones and goggles that a patient wears during an MRI scan. Conventional audiovisual systems cannot function within an MRI’s high magnetic fields, and their metal components interfere with MRI equipment.

Patients can bring in their own DVDs or music CDs, or watch any TV channel Queen’s receives by cable (all the channels available in patient rooms). A favorite movie on DVD can be brought in for children, or they can watch whatever happens to be on the Disney channel or Cartoon Network. Sleek and comfortable, the lightweight headset and goggles display the equivalent of a 62-inch video display viewed from five and a half feet.

Entertainment aside, the technology brings serious benefits to patients. An estimated 20 percent of patients react with fear or claustrophobia to confining, dark, and often noisy MRI procedures, and cannot be imaged as a result. “Patients who have had a hard time with MRI scans before say that it has helped a lot,” said Becky French, senior MRI technologist. “It helps pass the time faster, and the exam doesn’t seem as long.” The CinemaVision system is available for the 1.5 Tesla MRI; Queen’s 3 Tesla MRI has a short bore and an extra-wide opening that alleviates the fears of claustrophobics.

One of the fastest growing medical imaging technologies, MRI allows physicians to peer inside the human body and diagnose disease noninvasively, uncovering a broad range of conditions, including cancer, heart and vascular disease, and stroke, using radiofrequency waves and a strong magnetic field to produce clear, detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. MRI is growing in importance as an alternative to x-ray mammography in the early diagnosis of breast cancer and is widely used to diagnose sports-related injuries, especially those to the joints and skeletal structure.

Photo caption:
May Navarro, MRI technologist, demonstrates CinemaVision.

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