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Julia Brady (R), teacher at Pinole Valley High School, watches students try out training for laparoscopic surgery
Getting Hands-on at the Teen Life Conference
There was a great cheer in the auditorium as keynote speaker Jeremy “Teekz” Yenpasook, OMS II, revealed on stage to the local high school students attending the 2020 Teen Life Conference that just like some of them, he too had spent two years at Pinole Valley High School (PVHS).
“He really had the kids in the palm of his hand,” said Julia Brady, an English Teacher at PVHS who was supervising her students for the event. “He had the same teachers they did, and he’s doing things that they pictured as far off for them someday.”
Challenging students to achieve their best with the Olympic-sized theme, “Go for Gold”, TUC graduate students from all three colleges engaged local high school students with activities ranging from Laparoscopic surgery to Tibetan singing bowl therapy. Students also hailed from Jesse Bethel High School, Franklin Middle School, and Mare Island Tech.
“There is a lot of rich resources in the Bay Area, but not all of them make it easy to actually get kids involved,” added Ms. Brady.
A giant, inflatable obstacle course helped get each student’s heart pumping, and students were given a session demonstrating the benefits of yoga.
“Everyone’s really encouraging. They want you to succeed and to do better,” reflected PVHS student David Hernandez.
Mr. Hernandez is undecided on his career path but knows that his first goal is to attend university abroad.
TLC workshops included financial planning hosted by Travis Credit Union and Pathways Into Healthcare Careers hosted by Solano Community College. Students also learned and replicated the shapes of cells in the Art of the Cell by Professor Tamira Elul.
“They really do like the weird science of it,” explained Ms. Brady. “They get really interested in stuff like that.”
Trying to sleep behind curtains during the day and bouncing between stimulants like melatonin or caffeine is a norm for many whose jobs bring them deep into the dead of night. But whether driving a truck, police car, or ambulance, the toll night shift workers take to stand their internal clock on its head carries a known risk for metabolic syndrome—diseases which can range from cardiovascular risk, diabetes, stroke, and other independent risk factors.
“Nutrition is just a component of how you’re communicating within your body,” said fourth year Osteopathic medical student (OMS) Kshma Kulkarni. “The way that you metabolize the different foods that you eat changes based on time you eat them.
“But we also have different time clocks throughout the whole body; the liver has its own timing, and every organ or system can too,” she continued. “Usually they are synched by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (which controls circadian rhythm). And the major influence on these internal clocks is light exposure.”
Many of the body’s hormones maintain a cyclic pattern throughout the day that will rise and fall when stressed or eating. Interruptions also have an effect on the body. For example, consistently elevated cortisol can change immune function. But when these stressors go on for months on end as they can during shift work, the body loses its ability to adapt and pathologies can develop.
“I was honestly even surprised to find out that shift workers who aren’t eating more or exercising less are getting sicker and developing metabolic syndrome,” said Marie Schow, OMS III. “Even eating less isn’t’ necessarily going to reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome in this particular population.”
Ms. Schow and Kulkarni explored the reasons for these chronic issues and how medical caregivers can support them in a paper published with Professor Jay Shubrook, DO, in the February 2020 Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Given the body’s own internal struggle during regular shift work, the authors developed a screening tool to help practitioners monitor patients and gain a sense of their circadian habits in order to provide tools to better align their internal clocks and stay as healthy as possible. Together, Kulkarni and Schow hope to increase practitioner awareness and preparedness for this population.
Companies are also encouraged in the paper to do more to support their late night workers’ health and happiness by establishing a well-timed schedule and ensuring that food is easily available.
“When trying to stay awake during a night shift, people are often going to crave foods that hare higher in fats and sugar, and studies have shown that when you notice that craving, you can eat more high protein and fiber diets to counterbalance the desire,” said Ms. Schow.
For shift workers themselves, they highly recommend eating on a regular schedule. Ms. Kulkarni herself recalled how irregular her own eating was when she worked nights as an emergency room scribe. But armed with what she knows now, she’d be working with her own physiological limitations in mind.
Achieving the Impossible in Online Learning
Buzz around online learning is growing in Ontario as the provincial government nears its deadline to modernize high school education by requiring online learning for all students. But with details of the program still unclear, TUC’s professor in the Graduate School of Education and fellow Canadian Dr. Michael Barbour hopes to ground the conversation.
|Dr. Michael Barbour, Associate Professor of Instructional Design, Graduate School of Education|
“What you see in traditional media for the most part has been a very ideologically driven conversation,” he explained. “The dominant fear is that online learning can’t work for all students, which is just incorrect. Online learning is a medium like any other. It’s how it’s delivered that determines whether not students will learn.”
Good online learning often involves two teachers: a specialist teaching the subject in an online medium and a generalist who is present in the local environment where the students are engaged in their online learning students who is there to provide support and foster independent learning skills. A successful program will be funded at similar levels to classroom learning and cater individually to the learning needs of the population of students being served, he stressed.
But it’s not just top students who can do well online. One breakthrough study that Dr. Barbour calls to mind involved of students who had been suspended from brick and mortar schools and been passed on to the juvenile justice system outside of Detroit. In an effort to focus on their needs, the study enrolled the students in only two courses at a time instead of the usual four or five, which Dr. Barbour stressed allowed the students to maintain their focus and complete each course.
Students would show up twice a week for a total of eight hours, but their schedule remained flexible for those working jobs or who had to look after younger siblings while guaranteeing that they would still have to interact with their teachers a couple of times a week.
“When you look at the real merit of the program, it was to provide to kids who never had the opportunity,” said Dr. Barbour. “They weren’t having success in that traditional environment, but the got the support they needed to have success online.”
When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, Magdala D’autruche, RN, knew that she had to do something to help the people in her home country. Returning with her family, she founded an orphanage large enough for 12 young girls that today is seeing its eldest child through to the completion of her secondary education.
|Magdala D’autruche, RN, serving the community on a medical mission in Haiti|
“I may not be able to save a lot, but I can save a few,” the local nurse said.
To provide the girls’ education, clothing, and medical care, Ms. D’autruche helps from the US by sending funds. Still, she wishes that she could provide more. With the proper support, she says that she could use blueprints to expand the orphanage.
Ms. D’autruche’s journey in nursing began when she left for Jamaica at the age of 25 where she went onto work at a children’s hospital. Her career took her to England in 1999 where she helped address the country’s nursing shortage before eventually coming to California.
Eager to help further in a space where she knew she could make an impact, in March of 2019, the TUC Doctor of Nursing Student seized an opportunity to found a nursing school in the Haitian town where she was born. Opening with a cohort of 40 students, the school is staffed by local nurses and doctors and runs health clinics that provide care to the nearby rural community.
To see to the progress of both of her labors of love firsthand, Ms. D’autruche returns on annual medical missions. With the help of others, she’s brought in services like a dentist to provide care to the rural area, covering cleaning and extraction. One year donated a water pump to support the area’s rice farmers.
“(We aren’t bringing back) a lot of money, but it’s a lot for Haiti, and it can help
an entire village,” she reflected
Learn more about the Vision Pour Enfants Orphanage here.
I Am Touro: Mongkhon Iamphatcharawut
College of Pharmacy Class of 2022
Mongkhon Iamphatcharawut’s path to pharmacy has taken many turns to get to bring him to TUC. Having worn the hats of an entrepreneur, real estate agent, and flight agent, it was not until he had joined the U.S. Air Force that Mr. Iamphatcharawut said that he was finally guided to his ultimate goal of pharmacy.
More than simply a place to earn his degree, Mr. Iamphatcharawut has gotten involved with student organizations that are dedicated to giving back to the local community. Topics have ranged from stress management for TUC students in the Integrative Medicine Club and giving people diagnosed with prediabetes control of their health by leading the Diabetes Prevention Program. And he’s helped connect students to participating in outreach events in the Interprofessional Collaborative Diabetes Outreach club.
What excites you about interprofessional collaboration?
I believe it started from when I volunteered in the Nurse Intensive care recovering unit at a VA hospital. I saw what type of workloads nurses had to go through on a daily basis and witnessed physicians working late at night and trying to help patients. It instilled in me the belief that it does involve different healthcare professionals to help patients who are in their recovering state, and it showed me that it does not take just one profession to reach the ultimate goal of healing patients.
How did you settle on pharmacy?
My path to pharmacy actually began when I realized the fact pharmacists are the people have the responsibility to make sure that medications are used in a safe and effective way. I used to be against the idea of using pharmaceuticals due to my lack of knowledge and personal beliefs, but I happened be in the situation which medication was the best option for my illness. From there, I knew pursuing this career was my goal hoping that one day I could educate patients who have the same mindset.
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