MMI Monthly 

The electronic newsletter of the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

March 15, 2017
Using education to change the world 
To quote Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the  world." This thought resonates with me as I consider my new role as the Munroe-Meyer Institute's Director of Academic Affairs. 
According to the newly revised MMI Mission Statement, the faculty and staff at MMI intend to "lead the world in transforming the lives of all individuals with disabilities and complex health care needs, their  families and the 
community. . ."
The Office of Academic Affairs was created specifically to support the academic mission at MMI. That is, to provide transformative education through interprofessional training, innovative curricular approaches and experiential learning. 
If we (the faculty and staff at MMI) truly want to transform the lives of the individuals and families we  serve, our students need to become professionals who are not only excellent clinicians and researchers,  but also leaders in the field. In addition, the faculty and staff at MMI will continue to be accountable as teachers  and mentors to foster their development into persons with the vision, compassion and passion to  "change the world."
As the director of academic affairs, it is my responsibility to facilitate the development and  implementation of our educational programs. It is my privilege to partner with MMI faculty and staff to  foster the work life and academic environment at MMI necessary to ensure our success. 
Cindy Ellis, M.D.
Director of Academic Affairs
Munroe-Meyer Institute
Disability rights advocate Anastasia Somoza visited MMI in February.

Self-advocate Somoza visits Project SEARCH interns

National disability rights advocate Anastasia Somoza, who was in Nebraska in February to speak before state senators at the Arc of Nebraska legislative dinner, visited the Munroe-Meyer Institute the following day to speak with members of this semester's Project SEARCH interns.  For more information on the visit, click  here

MMI Director of Academic Affairs Cindy Ellis, M.D., right, was among the MMI leaders and staff who participated in the 2017 Walk and Roll for Disabilities.

MMI staff, boards come out to support Walk and Roll

Approximately 500 participants helped raise more than $53,500 at the 2017 Walk & Roll for Disabilities, which was held March 5 at Oak View Mall.

"The fantastic community support that the Walk & Roll received this year will provide more programming opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities at the Munroe-Meyer Institute's Recreational Therapy Department," said Mary McHale, president of the Meyer Foundation for Disabilities, which holds the event annually. "The Meyer Foundation for Disabilities board is extremely grateful for everyone's efforts  with  the event."

Among the 500 participants, which included family, friends, and other supporters, was a large contingent from the MMI recreational therapy department, who traditionally serve as volunteers at the event and a team of 36 walkers from MMI's Human Genetics Laboratory that raised nearly $1,500. Directors from MMI's speech-language pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, Human Genetics Laboratory and genetic medicine department also came out to show their support, as well as representatatives from several of Munroe-Meyer Institute's supporting boards.

McHale also praised the event's platinum sponsors, which included Interim Health Care, Holland Basham Architects, Union Pacific, Oak View Mall, Family Fare, Thrasher and the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

The Walk & Roll raises funds to support adult recreational therapy programming at MMI.

To see a photo album from the event, click here.
From left: Shelly Nielsen, Heidi Reelfs, Karoly Mirnics, M.D., Ph.D., Kim Bainbridge and Rachel Ray. Not pictured: Sarah Simmons.

MMI Standouts program seeking nominations

February's MMI Standouts awardees included Kim Bainbridge, administration; Rachel Ray, Family Care Enhancement Project; Shelly Nielsen, medical genetics; Sarah Simmons, business office; and Heidi Reelfs, physical therapy.

March awardees are Kelley Coutts, recreation therapy; Nicole Giron, recreation therapy; Mark Conlin, business office; Billy Retzlaff, Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders; and Becky Gilbert, IT. Watch for their photo next month!

Nominations are being accepted for future monthly Standout awards. Awardees will be  invited to lunch with Dr. Mirnics, receive a coffee mug or water bottle and have their pictures featured in MMI Monthly.

Anyone in the MMI community may be nominated, and anyone on the UNMC campus or in the greater Omaha community may nominate. Anyone who works or volunteers at MMI is eligible, and up to five individuals will be selected monthly for this honor.

Nominations are due by 8 a.m. on the 15th of each month for the next cycle of Standouts, so there's still today to nominate for April. These nominations may be submitted online or e-mailed to  Sandy Willett for consideration .

Cast members perform in "Join Us in the Jungle."

Video captures success of inaugural winter theater camp

The Munroe-Meyer Institute and UNMC Public Relations collaborated on a video capturing the essence of the first winter theater camp. To watch the video, click  here . To read the previously published story on the event, click here

News in brief
Tara Harper displays the SeizureTracker app.
SeizureTracker Android app off to strong start
The SeizureTracker Android app was launched in November with funding support from the Munroe-Meyer Guild. So far, there have been 1,097 installs of the application. 

The Android application was developed collaboratively by the Munroe-Meyer Institute University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (MMI-UCEDD), Seizure Tracker, Lifestyle Innovations for Epilepsy, and Element 84. Users can log and videotape seizures, record medication administrations, record vagus nerve stimulation therapy usages, file and store data in the Seizure Library, and sync events with their account.
There have been 83,510 seizure events recorded globally on Android apps since November, and 184,436 seizure events recorded total (through Android, Apple and website) in that time. In January, 45 percent of the total seizure event recordings were from Android devices. 

"In as little as four months, we are seeing the fruits of our labor in developing an Android app which is the more popular operating system," said Tara Harper, principal investigator of the grant, "especially in Nebraska where 70 percent of people use Android devices."

Denim for Disabilities drive tops $4,000
UNMC raised more than $4,000 during the university's Denim for Disabilities fundraiser, held in January and February. A total of $4,088 was raised by UNMC employees, who donated $1 per day if they wanted to wear jeans to work that day. This is only the second time in more than 10 years that UNMC has surpassed the $4,000 mark in funding. Funds raised will support recreational activities for adults with developmental and developmental disabilities at MMI.  

Dr. Carroll receives 2017 B.F. Skinner New Researcher Award
Regina Carroll, Ph.D., is the 2017 recipient of the B.F. Skinner New Researcher Award, which is a prestigious award in the field of behavior analysis. Dr. Carroll, who currently has a lab and a faculty position at West Virginia University, completed her Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis at MMI in 2012, becoming the first person to graduate from that Ph.D. program at MMI.

Occupational Therapy presents on improving fine motor and self-help skills
Holly Dixon and Tammy Stephens of the MMI Occupational Therapy Department presented "Strategies for Improving Fine Motor and Self-Help Skills" at the Feb. 21 
Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands meeting at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), speaking before approximately 40 parents, educators and therapists.

ABA graduates continue streak of pass-rate perfection
This year's graduates from the MMI/UNO Joint ABA Masters degree program had a 100 percent pass rate on the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. The program has had a 100 percent pass rate every year it's been calculated by certification board. The national pass rate is 66 percent. 

Dates set for third MMI HABIT camp
The Occupational Therapy Department again will be offering a 10-day Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Therapy (HABIT) day camp from June 5-16, with sessions running from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The camp is open to children with hemiplegia age 3-and-a-half to 8 years old. Contact Janice Flegle for more information.

PT's Gehringer named Purdue Pharma Scholar
Jamie Gehringer was one of three UNMC students named as a Purdue Pharma Scholar, a program that provides funding for UNMC graduate students conducting neuroscience, pharmaceutical science or pain research. For more information, click here.

Grant opportunity seeking entities to provide independent living services
The Nebraska Statewide Independent Living Council and the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute, acting as the Designated State Entity and authorized under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, invites applications for grant to provide independent living services with/for people with disabilities. For more details, click here

  • Brett Kuhn, Ph.D., professor in the department of psychology, has been named to the International Pediatric Sleep Council's list of sleep experts
  • Joe Evans, Ph.D., professor in the department of psychology, will be a keynote speaker at the national DREAM IPC Conference (Developing and REsearching  Advanced Models of Integrated Primary Care) in September in Wilmington, Del.
  • Jaclyn Pope, in February, was hired as a cytogenetic technologist I in the Human Genetic Laboratory.
  • YuanYuan (Sallie) Zhang was hired as a cytogenetic technologist II and began employment with the Human Genetics Laboratory's FISH section on March 13.
  • Cytogenetic technologist Erin Jaworski was awarded a Silver U in February. 
Upcoming Events
Upcoming events of interest to the MMI community:

Free screening of "Best and Most Beautiful Things" on March 21
The Meyer Foundation for Disabilities and Film Streams will host a free screening of "Best and Most Beautiful Things," an award-winning film that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness, at 7 p.m. on March 21. A l egally blind woman on the autism spectrum explores love and empowerment outside the limits of "normal" through a provocative, positive community. Film Streams is located in north downtown at 14th and Mike Fahey Streets, a block west of TD Ameritrade Park. 
Links of the month
News from around the Internet of interest to the MMI community.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities, has made two new resources available on its public website:
NBC News covers the story of a McDonald's employee with Down Syndrome who retired after 32 years with the company.

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