Category Archives: Top Ten

My Ten Penn List: Ivy Plus at Penn

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Last year I shared with you some insider knowledge about our Alumni Relations peer conference, Ivy Plus, which Dartmouth hosted.  This year, we are the hosts welcoming the Alumni Relations Offices from the 7 other Ivies, Stanford and MIT.

This conference provides fantastic career training with sessions like Changing the Status Quo, discussing the numerous challenges alumni relations offices face in promoting programs and events to a wide population of alumni; Collaboration: Breaking Down Silos within Alumni Relations, focusing on the working within our universities as well as our own departments for programming opportunities; and How do You Measure Success and Engagement? Setting and Measuring Program Goals, tackling the vague science of quantifying alumni engagement in a purposeful way.  On the other hand, we are in the business of connecting people to each other and their almae matres, so we also know how to have some serious fun, too.

Here are my top ten photos from the conference, albeit some are candids and others were tweeted, instagrammed or facebooked.  (note: the opinions and views expressed through these Twitter, Instagram or Facebook accounts are the opinions of those individuals and do not reflect the opinions or views of the University or myself).

10.

 @amywolf A sultry summer evening at @Pennalumni’s #IvyPlusAR… just the right kind of night for quizzo!

9.

irishwombat Talking about culture with Prof. Jackson #IvyPlusAR.

8.

Teamwork with the last minute prep for Ivy Plus. (photo, Ivy Plus facebook page)

7.

@emilieckl Filing into the Barnes. #ivyplusAR @IvyPlusAR

6.

photo

A candid of some of the directors, deep in discussion.

5.

museum

Some of our Ivy Plus colleagues on the Early Bird Tour of the Penn Museum. (photo, Ivy Plus facebook page)

4.

@krl67  #ivyplusar, Philly market tour…I’m in heaven!

3.

@jenlynham Everyone else is in the wrong session: mimosas at class benchmarking! #ivyplusar

2.

Yea, we can have some serious fun, too.

ebetz Lisbeth rocks! #ivyplusar @uofpenn @pennalumni

1.

Delco is short for Delaware County, the Philadelphia southwestern suburbs from which several of our staff hail. It IS quite an honor to be accepted and loved by these ladies. (photo, Kiera Reilly)

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My Top Penn List: Alumni Weekend and Commencement 2013

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Did Alumni Weekend really start 13 days ago? Did Joe Biden speak at Commencement just early last week? If it’s a blur for me, it must have been something exciting for our alumni to see.

As in years past, we have asked you to share in the celebration by tweeting, sharing photos or “liking” our posts on Facebook. You rose to the occasion with your social networking chatter and engagement.

This time, I searched for the hash tags: #Penn AW and #PennCommence2013 to share with you my favorite 10 tweeted or Instagrammed moments from Alumni Weekend and Commencement. Feel free to check out our proud Penn Twitter users by clicking their handles  (note: the opinions and views expressed through these Twitter accounts are the opinions of those individuals and do not reflect the opinions or views of the University or myself).

Parade of Classes 2013

10 ‏@Harry_Cooperman The scene from the Locust bridge @Pennalumni #PennAW pic.twitter.com/j1RO9FHgwV

9 @Terner_p Just drove by the Palestra and started crying uncontrollably. #thatsnormal #penncommence2013

Classes of 2013 Classmates at Smokey Joe's

8 @xulucy Thx for the memories, @SmokeyJoesPenn! You’ll be missed but frequently visited by this alum! #penncommence2013 pic.twitter.com/KXZdJHQ6BL

Live Music from Franklin Fest

7 @PennClub Live music at Franklin Fest! #PennAW t.co/8fANmJua54

6 @Penn Almost 50 years after leaving Penn for Vietnam, Mortimer O’Connor received a posthumous Ph.D. at #PennCommence2013. ow.ly/l1wUG

A Ton of Penn Tees

5 @alphawat: @Penn, thanks for the #tshirts… errrr #memories #penncommence2013 instagram.com/p/ZRZ2ChmY6d/

Ben on the Bench - Instagram
4. shanijamila Reunited with Ben @ Penn! #pennAW #penn5year #pennpride

3. @BrettTopche “This shirt isn’t too small. It’s aspirational.” #pennaw #10lbreunion

60 Miles to Philadelphia by air

2. @travelingheidi 60 miles from Philadelphia, listening to Jesus Jones & Indigo Girls, landing soon for @pennalumni Weekend #PennAW  pic.twitter.com/aTFbcSi8cC

All the Graduates

1. @Penn A big round of applause to the more than 6,000 members of the #Classof2013! #PennCommence2013 pic.twitter.com/gqRjkmthJD

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My Top Penn List: Time to Shine

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Last Friday, Penn continued to make history with one of the biggest celebrations in the University: unveiling the Time to Shine multimedia show and showering appreciation on our donors, supports, alumni and friends with the festivities on Penn Park.

By now, you may have seen some of the thousands of images that capture the excitement of our spectacular, especially since all alumni and friends were invited to join in the extravaganza by tweeting or instagramming with the hashtag, #PennTimeToShine. The reaction was amazing and I wanted to share with you my favorite 10 tweeted or instagrammed moments from last Friday.  (Also feel free to check out our Proud Penn twitter users by clicking their handles – The opinions and views expressed through these twitter accounts are the opinions of those individuals and do not reflect the opinions or views of the University or myself.)

chalk

10. @wharton: New York City artist Hani Shihada created a sidewalk chalk mural in celebration of #penntimetoshine: http://ow.ly/i/1VDV7

giveaway

9. @shivkapoor21: Proud Penn Alum! #penntimetoshine #upenn #epic http://t.co/UP70L3lZ2b

tent

8. @xulucy: #penntimetoshine @Penn #penncommence2013 #penn #quaker love #schoolspirit @ Penn Park http://t.co/Aaue7CNqwJ

meta

7. @emilieckl: My photo on the big screen!!! Best day ever!!! #penntimetoshine http://t.co/qC81toSjlB

sightline

6. @jacob_henner: #PennTimeToShine Penn Park sight line @Penn http://t.co/8h0tKy1Oji

stage1

5. @jornthal: Pre-train and john legend concert at #penntimetoshine http://t.co/keYSQln8Tf

view

4.  @enikaselby: #penntimetoshine #train #johnlegend http://t.co/XWUoeTLX3m

nails

3. @daniellololol: Nothing says Penn pride like glitter!!! #naildesign #nails #nailart #nailpolish #PennTimeToShine http://t.co/tyTSaOp7Cp

greenlight

2. @xandriajames: Give me the green light @johnlegend #penn #johnlegend #penntimetoshine #perfection #iloveyou http://t.co/slKRkseWze

crowd

1. @momofink: amazing moment, amazing show @Penn! #penntimetoshine RT @train: Philadelphia Angels in a tribute to Boston! http://t.co/LkpEooy8fC

For additional social media accounts of Time To Shine, please visit our Penn Athletics’ You Tube page for a time-lapse video of our Penn Park event, taken from the very top of Franklin Field and visit our Storify page, Making History — It’s Time to Shine, highlighting many of the tweets and pictures sent during the night at sfy.co/cHQh.

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My Top Penn List: Engagement and the Campaign

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

We raised $4,302,890,707 in our Making History Campaign. Wow, that’s a lot of money.  If you haven’t yet visited the final report website, you should in order to see how much of an impact the legacy of this campaign will have on the University.

The “Number”

The “Number”

Yet our campaign was crafted to be different; we emphasized engagement goals for ourselves that focused on increasing every alumnus’s access and interaction with the University whether it was on campus and out in the world.  We took these objectives seriously and created or retooled over 25 programs during the life of the campaign that increased alumni engagement.

I wanted to highlight 10 of my favorite engagement programs that have come about due to the campaign.

10. Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW) Summer Networking Receptions: Over the summer, TCPW, whose charge is to support, foster and promote the advancement of women’s issues within the University, hosts Summer Networking Receptions for Penn alumnae and current Penn students to make social and business contentions. Bringing Penn alumnae together and spotlighting a female executive from the region as the keynote speaker for the reception, TCPW provided exclusive opportunities for networking.

TCPW Summer Networking Reception – Chicago (2012).

TCPW Summer Networking Reception – Chicago (2012).

9. Social Media: Social Media has been around since 1994 started by now defunct brands like TheGlobe, GeoCities and SixDegrees. Sites like My Space and Friendster, which started in 2002-2003, were the watershed portals of the Social Media trends that made way for Facebook in 2004 and Twitter in 2006. Facebook and Twitter burst onto the scene and soon became the ubiquitous means of staying in touch with over 500 million Twitter users and over one billion Facebook users. It was obvious that having a presence online would be valuable. While an ever-changing social landscape, this nexus of online communities and outlets will evolve and Penn will plan to stay in the forefront of new media.

Since the start of the campaign, seven years ago, Penn has since joined Twitter (with 4,244 followers) and Facebook (with 51,276 likes) in 2009. Also, that year, Penn started to manage its presence on LinkedIn with 26,728 members. As of summer and fall 2012, Penn has joined the ranks of Instagram and Pinterest.

8. Quaker Yellow Pages: The Quaker Yellow Pages were launched to help our alumni support businesses of Penn alumni. Alumni can find the products and services advertised by fellow alumni. Individuals are encouraged to post a listing to promote your own product or service for free. Simply select one of the choices below. Penn Dental was inspired to create their own Quaker resource, the Find a Penn Dentist tool, which will give you the names of Penn Dental alumni who practice in your area.

7. Penn To You: Penn To You: More than a School Night embraces Penn’s unofficial motto: Never stop learning. In the classroom, in the community, and in the wider world, Penn people bring an intense intellectual curiosity to everything they do. Penn to You is designed to bring Penn alumni, parents, and friends together for an evening of intellectual and social engagement. Each event will feature one of Penn’s 12 schools and will include conversation, presentations and panel discussions with select faculty—many of whom were recruited through the Making History Campaign.

: Penn To You – Chicago featuring Ezekiel Emanuel and Barbara E. Kahn (2012).

Penn To You – Chicago featuring Ezekiel Emanuel and Barbara E. Kahn (2012).

6. Penn Spectrum: In 2010, University held its first-ever weekend-long alumni conference devoted entirely to celebrating diversity, Penn Spectrum. After three years of taking the event on the road, Penn Spectrum returns to campus, capping the momentum of our diverse alumni. All alumni are welcome. More information will be available on the Penn Spectrum page.

Penn Spectrum on the Road – Washington, DC (2011).

Penn Spectrum on the Road – Washington, DC (2011).

5. Frankly Penn: Frankly Penn, the Penn Alumni Blog, was established in March 2011 to represent life at the University of Pennsylvania. The team of bloggers consists of alumni, students, staff and faculty from around Penn –both on campus and beyond. This mixture of voices illustrates the dynamic and robust spirit of the University to all who read it. Led by the communications team at Penn Alumni, the blog has had 89,992 views and 564 posts, plus the blog has been continuously updated, Monday through Friday, since its launch.

4. Family Programs: Penn Alumni Families provides Penn Alumni family-specific events for our Philadelphia area alumni with children ages 12 years and under. This new series provides an opportunity for alumni to enjoy Penn events with an emphasis on programming for their children. With the success of Family Day at Mask & Wig and 40 Winks with the Sphinx, look for more events in Philadelphia and in the regions.

40 Winks with the Sphinx (2011).

40 Winks with the Sphinx (2011).

3. Penn Quotient: The Penn Quotient was developed at our Winter Board Retreat as an easy way to determine how you can best show your loyalty and support for your alma mater. It’s a simple checklist to identify those things you are already doing and to explore those you have yet to try.

Complete the checklist once a year to achieve a perfect score:

  • Attend Alumni Weekend in May
  • Explore arts and culture at Homecoming
  • Join or attend events with your local club
  • Visit QuakerNet and update your profile
  • Promote Penn to prospective students
  • Participate in an Alumni Education program
  • Donate to one of Penn’s many annual funds
  • Read The Pennsylvania Gazette
    The real reason for reunions, Alumni Weekend (2011).

    The real reason for reunions, Alumni Weekend (2011).

    2. Penn Alumni Office Hours: As a student at Penn, you could take part in the opportunity to ask in-depth questions and to explore points of interest with your professor outside of class during his or her office hours. Penn Alumni Office Hours provide this same opportunity to alumni by hosting a virtual Office Hours webinar presentation featuring one of Penn’s dynamic faculty members, who will focus on a topic or issue of their choice.

    From the ease of your computer, you can attend these free webinars and submit questions and comments both in advance of and during the program.  If you are unable to visit the Office Hours live, all Office Hour webinars will be recorded and made available through the Penn Alumni Relations site.

    1. Penn Alumni Interview Program: The Penn Alumni Interview Program involves the largest number of Penn Alumni who volunteer for a single project. During Making History, we were able to transition seamlessly the program from the Admissions to Alumni Relations. Capitalizing on the synergies that exist in the Alumni Relations office as well as the leadership of our dedicated staff, the Interview Program was able to steward our Interview Program chairs and interviewers to conduct 21,750 interviews which represents 68% of the total candidates that applied to Penn.

    Penn alumni interviewers help high school students learn more about Penn, and they help the Admissions Office learn more about applicants to the university.  As the Interview Program has the goal of being able to offer an interview to every student who applies as a prospective undergraduate, the Interview Program team will be traveling out to our alumni to help provide training and the information our alumni interviewers will need to help Penn see its goal come true.

    Look at all this Penn Pride. (Homecoming, 2011).

    Look at all this Penn Pride. (Homecoming, 2011).

    Author’s note: I am currently out of the office on a business trip. At the time I submitted this entry, all statistics sited in this blog were accurate.

     

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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Campaign, Casey R., Homecoming Weekend featuring arts and culture, Interview Program, Making History, Top Ten, Uncategorized

My Top Penn List: I <3 Penn

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

It’s St. Valentine’s Day and I thought there could be no better use of my Top Penn List blog entry for today then an open love letter to the University.

PennLove

Things that I Love about Penn:

10. Art. There is treasure trove of public art on campus as well as in numerous galleries (read more herein When the Students Aren’t Here).  Places like ICA and the Arthur Ross allow staff, students, and visitors to take in some art during the work day.

A temporary exhibit at the ICA.

9. Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. As a current student or a staff member, one can take advantage of the impressive collection of novels ranging from current best sellers to the classics. However, there are some additional treats in Van Pelt, like movies, foreign language materials and very comfortable lounge chairs. Plus, you can even find places to get food and drink in the building.

8. Classes. There are so many classes on Penn’s campus that it’s difficult to choose.  I’ve mused about the courses I would take if I had the chance again in my “Do Over” list.

 7. Architecture. We work, go to school and live in the very large and dynamic University of Pennsylvania Campus Historic District, a district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of our beloved buildings are noted on this list. My own office building, E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House (aka Delta Tau Delta) from 1914, makes the grade.

Furness Building, interior .

6. Intellectual Access. We try to capitalize on the educational opportunities here on campus.  Why, just this very year, Sweeten staff members have started a book club. In fact, our first reading assignment came from the one featured by the Penn Reading Project for 2012-2013, John Patrick Shanleys’ Pulitzer Prize winning play, Doubt. The club has continued throughout the year featuring a variety of short stories selections and this year’s One Book, One Philadelphia selection, The Buddha in the Attic.

5. Sports. Penn’s NCAA and club sports make for great athletic viewing here in our corner of West Philadelphia.  From Franklin Field to the Palestra (both also on the National Registry), from Dunning-Cohen Champions Field to Hamlin Tennis Center of Penn Park and beyond, there are many opportunities to watch Penn take on their collegiate foes in the battle for the bragging rights of being the best.

One of the very first iterations of the vision that is now Penn Park.

4. Ben Franklin. Speaking of bragging rights, we have Ben Franklin; Boston’s native son came to Philadelphia and he ended up adopting us. A printer by trade, a scientist by fame and a founding father, he gives 100 dollar bills their nickname and gave life to our great institution.

 Our founder in front of College Hall (P.S. College Hall is on the National Registry).

Our founder in front of College Hall (P.S. College Hall is on the National Registry).

3. Co-workers. I am really excited to have a cadre of colleagues who help make work not seem like so much work.  You have read some of the stories from Kristina, Lisa Marie, Liz Pinnie, Aimee, and former staffers like Leigh Ann and Elizabeth. Their insight and funny stories can give you a little glimpse of how they make Sweeten seem like a home.

2. The Penn Museum. One of our biggest treasures on campus is the Penn Museum; I always find an reason to visit from the Crystal Ball to the temporary exhibits.  The Arts and Crafts and Eclectic style building (which – surprise, surprise – lands it on the National Registry) houses our internationally renowned educational and research institution dedicated to the understanding of cultural diversity and the exploration of the history of humankind.

1. A Piano in the Office. Sweeten has a lot going for it – it’s located in the center of campus, it’s a converted fraternity house, it’s on aforementioned National Registry – but to me, the most noteworthy aspect of Sweeten is the piano in the main room.  While it is a pretty discussion piece, any member of the Penn community can stop by to tickle the ivories during the 9-5 business day. Many times, I have come downstairs for a cup of coffee to find someone playing and brightening up the day with a Chopin étude, a Mozart minute or a good old-fashion song about Pennsylvania.

The inviting piano in Sweeten.

The inviting piano in Sweeten.

What are the top ten things you love about Penn?  I send my best wishes to everyone out there for a very happy St. Valentine’s Day.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Ben Franklin, Campus Life, Casey R., Penn Museum, Philadelphia, Sweeten Alumni House, The Sweeten Life, Top Ten

My Top Penn List: Looking Forward to 2013

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

While we are hopeful for the year and are committing to affirm our resolutions, I wanted to share with you my top Penn list of the Penn events I’m looking forward to in 2013.

10.          Ben’s Birthday Bash (January)

“Life’s Tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.”

Our founder, Benjamin Franklin, is celebrating his 307th birthday this year on January 17. In his honor, many of our Penn Alumni Regional Clubs will be hosting get-togethers during the month of January all throughout the world. Visit the Regional Club’s Ben’s Birthday Bash page to join Penn alumni in a city near you for this year’s festivities!

9.            The Interview Program Training (year-round)

Each year, thousands of Penn alumni volunteers interact with tens of thousands of prospective Penn students around the world.  This volunteers interviewers help high school students learn more about Penn, and they help the Admissions Office learn more about applicants to the university.  As the Interview Program moves forward with the goal of being able to offer an interview to every student who applies as a prospective undergraduate, the Interview Program team will be traveling out to our alumni to help provide training and the information our alumni interviewers will need to help Penn see its goal come true. More information will be available on the Penn Alumni Interview Program page.

8.            Penn Spectrum 2013 (Philadelphia: September 20 -22, 2013)

Panel discussion: Penn and the Importance of Community Involvement

In 2010, Penn Spectrum was the University’s first-ever weekend-long alumni conference devoted entirely to celebrating diversity. After three years of taking the event on the road, Penn Spectrum returns to campus, capping the momentum of our diverse alumni. All alumni are welcome. More information will be available on the Penn Spectrum page.

7.            Alumni Weekend (Philadelphia: May 10-13, 2013)

Alumni Weekend is one of Penn’s two hallmark weekends which invite all alumni back to their intellectual home away from home. This year, our alumni classes – ending is threes and eights – will return for their quinquennial reunions as campus opens up its doors for all alumni to celebrate, engage and reminisce.

6.            Healthy Cities: Healthy Women (Washington, DC & London, UK: October)

In 2009, Penn Nursing, The Trustee’s Council of Penn Women and Penn Alumni jointly launched a series of global Healthy Cities: Healthy Women events focused on women’s health in urban areas and the pivotal role that women play in developing and sustaining healthy lives, families and communities around the world.  Other Healthy Cities: Healthy Women events in Miami, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles have brought together local, national and international experts coupled with leading faculty from a variety of the University of Pennsylvania’s schools and centers to focus on challenges and multi-disciplinary solutions related to urban women’s health.  This year Nursing’s flagship event will be traveling to Washington, DC and London, UK.

5.            Penn Alumni Volunteer Appreciation Event (Philadelphia: March 2, 2013)

Our Penn Alumni volunteers work hard year round, so once each year we throw them a party!  This year’s Volunteer Appreciation Event will be held in Houston Hall.  All 10,000+ Penn volunteers—including Penn parents and friends—are invited to Dr. Gutmann will attend as well to thank those present for sharing their time and talents. The reception is followed by the Penn vs. Harvard basketball game.

A full Hutchingson gym.

A full Hutchinson gym for last year’s Appreciation Event

4.            Homecoming Weekend Featuring Arrts and Culture (November 8-9, 2013)

Homecoming is Penn’s other hallmark weekend.  The enthusiasm of watching our Quakers take on the Tigers of Princeton spreads throughout campus as alumni return and join students in a festive weekend in West Philadelphia. Now toted as Homecoming featuring Arts and Culture as Penn, this event highlights many of the rich talents of our fellow Pennsylvanians, from their athletic prowess, their craft in film and their detail in art for all alumni to reveal in.

3.            Hey Day/Final Toast (April 24, 2013)

Following a tradition that reaches back to 1916, Penn juniors celebrated Hey Day by donning red shirts, strutting along Locust Walk carrying canes and biting into straw hats. A celebration that is unique to Penn, Hey Day marks the “moving up” of juniors to the senior class. This year’s event began with a class picnic, followed by the boisterous class procession.

Penn President Amy Gutmann met the students at College Hall, where, before officially declaring the current junior class seniors, she gave them “one final test.” After the students roared out their answers, Gutmann said, “You’ve passed. Now, by the power vested in me by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, I hereby declare you, seniors. Congratulations.”

In the meantime, the soon-to-be-graduating class celebrates the arrival of the juniors on College Green at the Final Toast. This event, sponsored by the Penn Traditions program, brings together the senior class to welcome juniors into the alumni community with great food, live music, and a toast as the class of 2013 “moves up” into their senior year on Hey Day.

2.            Graduation (May 13, 2013)

The University of Pennsylvania’s 257th Commencement will be held on Monday, May 13, 2013 in Franklin Field, located at 33rd and South Streets.  That morning the Class of 2013 will parade into our revered football stadium and will exit as the newest members of the Penn Alumni Network after Dr. Gutmann  has “freely granted all rights, honors and privileges pertaining” their degrees to our most recent alumni.

Updated information will be provided during the year, on the Office of the University Secretary’s Commencement page, including information on the ceremony, travel and lodging, students and faculty/administration for Commencement 2013, as well as historical information on Penn’s previous commencement ceremonies.

1.            Campaign Celebration (Philadelphia: April 19, 2013 and other locations this year and beyond)

The Making History Campaign ended December 31, 2012. While we don’t have final numbers yet, we are looking forward to share the outcome with the Penn community with our Campaign Celebrations.

As you know, Penn makes history by shaping the future. We started with the revolutionary ideas, passionate people, and practical pursuits that have always defined Penn and added our 18 amazing schools and centers on one compact campus, a university-wide culture of collaboration, and a genuine desire to do good, and the result is a university singularly prepared to bring new vision and fresh solutions to the most important issues of our day.

Making History Kick-off, October 2007.

Making History Kick-off, October 2007

The University will be kicking off the Campaign Celebrations in Philadelphia in April and around the world for the next year and half.  We look forward to seeing you at one of our parties soon.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Weekend, Campus Life, Casey R., Commencement, Homecoming Weekend featuring arts and culture, Philadelphia, Reunions, Top Ten

My Top Penn: Star of Wonder – A Year of Penn Research.

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Since it is that time of year – a time of wonder and joy, a time of hope and miracles – I wanted to highlight some of the wonderful research and symposia that the University of Pennsylvania has shared with the world this year.

During this time, I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and fantastic 2013.

 10.          Penn Study: Anti-Tau Drug Improves Cognition, Decreases Tau Tangles in Alzheimer’s Disease Models

 Penn Medicine research that was presented at the 2012 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) shows that an anti-tau treatment called epithilone D (EpoD) was effective in preventing and intervening the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in animal models, improving neuron function and cognition, as well as decreasing tau pathology.

 For more information, please read the Penn News press release.

9.            Nursing, Veterans, and PTSD: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden with Penn Nursing

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visited Penn Nursing this April for “Nursing, Veterans, and PTSD,” part of a national program charging nurses to identify, treat, and conduct research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They announced a major initiative by more than 150 of America’s leading nursing organizations and more than 450 nursing schools to ensure our nation’s nurses are prepared to help meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

Attention to PTSD is a significant component of Joining Forces, the First Lady and Dr. Biden’s project created to champion wellness, education, and employment among military service members and their families. PTSD is a serious and widespread anxiety disorder affecting veterans, and the symptoms can be terrifying.

For more information about  the First Lady and Dr. Biden’s visit, see “Nursing, Veterans, and PTSD.”

8.            Penn Researchers Show Relationship with Working Dogs Protect Handlers from PTSD

Melissa Hunt, the associate director of the clinical training program in the School of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, has long been interested in this dynamic as it relates to people and their pets. But a chance encounter propelled her to study it in an extreme case: search-and-rescue dogs and their handlers.  “Search-and-rescue dogs are not just pets; they’re partners,” Hunt said, meaning this dynamic is even stronger — and the stakes even higher — for people who work with animals.

For more information about Melissa Hunt’s research, please read the Penn News press release.

7.            Penn Study: For Cardiac Stenting Procedures, Wrist Access Offers Cost Saving Benefits over Groin Access

Research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington Medical Center, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, indicates that radial radial artery catheterization may offer a significant cost savings benefit to hospitals. The findings are published online first in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

An example of a stent (image courtesy of Wikipedia).

“Radial artery access is the primary mode of access for catheterization procedures in Europe, Canada, and Japan, but has not gained widespread acceptance in the United States, possibly stemming from concerns about increases in procedure time, radiation exposure, and access failure in patients,” said Matthew D. Mitchell, PhD, senior research analyst in the Center for Evidence-based Practice at Penn Medicine. “This study suggests that the adoption of radial catheterization could be a more viable option for many hospitals and health systems, lowering costs and reducing complications for patients.”

For more information about the findings, visit Penn Medicine’s press release.

6.            The Perelman School of Medicine received the largest capital gift during the Making History Campaign to name the Smilow Center for Translational Research

A father and son team, Joel and William Smilow, gave the Perelman School of Medicine the largest capital gift during the Making History campaign to allow doctors to take the findings of medical investigations and put that into practice quickly and effectively.  President Amy Gutmann recognizes that “the Smilow Center for Translational Research provides a state-of-the-art environment where eminent physicians, researchers and scientists at Penn Medicine will work side-by-side to advance medical science.”

In addition to the Smilow Center, the Smilow’s gift also establishes the William Smilow Professorship in the field of cardiovascular medicine and the William Smilow Award for Innovation in Clinical Excellence. The exact amount remains undisclosed.

For more information, click here to view the full release.

5.            New Medication Shows Promise as Lipid-Lowering Therapy for Rare Cholesterol Disorder, Penn Study Finds

Penn researchers reported in The Lancet that lomitapide, a first-in-class microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) inhibitor, substantially and stably reduced LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) in patients with the orphan disease homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH).  Lomitapide works by inhibiting MTP, which is required for the production of VLDL — the precursor to LDL.

A rendering of a Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) receptor (image courtesy of Wikipedia).

For more on homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia and lomitapide, visit the full press release.

4.            The Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships 20th Anniversary

The Netter Centercelebrated its anniversary in November by hosting an international two-day conference examining perspectives on higher education, community development and community health partnerships.

The conference theme was “The Role of Higher Education-Community-School Partnerships in Creating Democratic Communities Locally, Nationally and Globally.”  It featured various thematic panels on such topics as education, poverty, health promotion, community engagement and university assisted community schools presented by university presidents, educators, administrators and professionals from across the country.

The event capped off its first night with keynote speaker Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers and former president of the United Federation of Teachers. Remarks throughout the conference were given by Dr. Rebecca Bushnell, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences; Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President; and Jeffrey Cooper, Vice President, Office of Government and Community Affairs.

To read more about Penn’s Netter Center, see the article in The Daily Pennsylvanian: Netter Center celebrates 20 years,

3.            Penn Medicine Receives NIH Grant to Help Local Residents Move Forward After Asbestos Exposure

The communities of West and South Ambler are working to recover from the ramifications of their town’s long-closed asbestos factory. Residents in these communities remain at risk of environmental exposure and a potentially increased risk of developing mesothelioma, a rare cancer which is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos.  Researchers at the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET), Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, have been awarded a $1.2 million grant to develop an educational program using the communities’ history of asbestos products manufacturing and resulting asbestos exposure. Funding for the program is provided by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), which is administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

For more on the asbestos cleanup, read the Penn News press release.

2.            Two Penn Perelman Medical Center Leukemia Patients Remain in Remission after Receiving Genetically Engineered T-Cells

The clinical trial participants, all of whom had advanced cancers, included 10 adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and two children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Two of the first three patients treated with the protocol at HUP – whose cases were detailed in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine in August 2011 – remain healthy and in full remissions more than two years after their treatment, with the engineered cells still circulating in their bodies. The findings reveal the first successful and sustained demonstration of the use of gene transfer therapy to turn the body’s own immune cells into weapons aimed at cancerous tumors.

A bone marrow smear from a patient with precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. (image courtesy of Wikipedia).

“Our results show that chimeric antigen receptor modified T cells have great promise to improve the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma,” says the trial’s leader, Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Director of Translational Research in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. According to Dr. June, “It is possible that in the future, this approach may reduce or replace the need for bone marrow transplantation.”

For more details, please visit the following link.

1.            Penn Medicine Physicians Complete Their 1,000th Heart Transplant at HUP

The 1,000th patient received the transplant on Sunday, December 2, 2012 and is doing well. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the Penn Medicine heart transplant program, part of the Penn Transplant Institute’s multi-organ transplant center at HUP, has been at the forefront of medical care and clinical advances in the area of heart failure and heart transplantation, including offering multiple organ transplantation – such as heart-lung and heart-liver transplants.

The program performs more adult heart transplants per year than all other Philadelphia area hospitals combined, making it one of the top three heart transplantation programs in the nation.

For more information about this remarkable milestone, please see Penn Medicine’s full press release.

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