April 10, 2020
The latest news and updates from Interim Dean Robert L. Johnson!
"Check You Check Two” is a mnemonic to remind us to care for ourselves and care for each other. Taking quick moments to check in with a colleague breaks up the sustained stress many of us experience and helps maintain our energy through the day.
Provider Anxiety: Learn About the Signs and Resources for Help
Shawen Ilaria, MD , assistant professor, psychiatry, discusses increased anxiety in health care providers, the warning signs that it may be getting too high and available resources to help manage anxiety during these challenging times.
Study by Dr. Rasin First to Identify Cell Process at Risk for Contributing to Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
Neurodevelopmental disorders coexist more often in individuals than other diseases, for example autism spectrum disorder is often accompanied by a language disorder, epilepsy, intellectual disability, obsessive compulsive disorder or attention deficit disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In an effort to understand the biological reason for this, an international team led Mladen-Roko Rasin, MD, PhD , associate professor of neuroscience and cell biology, has determined where the risk for errors in the cell development process of the neocortex, part of the nervous system that controls higher cognition, motor function, language and sensory perception, is greatest to occur.

Published in Nature Communications , it is the first study to implicate a specific post-transcriptional-wide process of cell development that may contribute to atypical behaviors that are common with coexisting neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, epilepsy and intellectual disabilities. 

Within the neocortex, the team studied how certain cell types called pyramidal neurons develop and how those genes go from a relatively immature and inactive state to a mature and active and “ready to work” state during a rapid translational process that occurs at different developmental time points. They showed that errors can easily occur during the timing process resulting in atypical development of neurons. 

Their work identified that two RNA binding proteins in particular, CELF1 and ELAVL4, are highly vulnerable to disruption in the intricate development processes. They also showed that these genes, which have been previously identified as contributing to neurodevelopmental disorders, work together in a signaling hierarchy to control neuronal development. Therefore, a disruption in the typical development of these genes likely results in multiple, coexisting disorders. 
Managing Negative Thoughts Helps Combat Depression in Parkinson’s Patients
People with Parkinson’s disease who engage in cognitive behavioral therapy — a form of psychotherapy that increases awareness of negative thinking and teaches coping skills — are more likely to overcome depression and anxiety, according to a Rutgers study l ed by Roseanne Dobkin, PhD , professor of psychiatry, published in the journal  Neurology.

About 50 percent of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease will experience depression, and up to 40 percent have an anxiety disorder. Depression in Parkinson’s patients is underrecognized and often goes untreated. Among those who receive treatment, antidepressant medication is the most common approach, though many patients continue to struggle with depressive symptoms. The researchers investigated how adding cognitive behavioral therapy to the care individuals were already receiving would affect their depression.

The study enrolled 72 people diagnosed with both Parkinson’s and depression. All participants continued their standard treatment. In addition, half the participants (37 people) also received cognitive behavioral therapy over the telephone weekly for three months, then monthly for six months. By the end of treatment, individuals receiving only standard care showed no change in their mental health status, whereas 40 percent of the patients receiving cognitive behavioral therapy showed their depression, anxiety and quality of life to be “much improved.”

Read more about the study in Rutgers Today.
Chandler Health Center Receives Support from CARES Act
Eric B. Chandler Health Center is one of nearly 1,400 federally-qualified health centers to be awarded funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) historic U.S. response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, known as the CARES Act.

According to Sandra Hill, executive director, the more than $900,000 in funding will allow Chandler Health Center to continue serving its patients and the community during this national emergency through increased utilization of telemedicine visits, along with in-person visits when needed.

This is the second award the health center received, as it was awarded more than $74,400 from HRSA at the start of the crisis in March.
NEW Forum Helps Faculty and Staff Stay Socially Connected
Sometimes the best medicine is knowing that you are not alone.

We really are 'all in this together.'

To that end, there is a new Facebook forum that faculty and staff can visit to share or just learn how our community is managing during these challenging times. For example,

  • Share recipes
  • Tips for exercising at home
  • Balancing child care while working from home
  • Physical distancing while maintaining social connections

or any other topic that you would like to discuss! This private group can be viewed here. You must have a Facebook account to access.
TEAMWORK: Giving Back Within Our Community
Department of Medicine Packs Care Packages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Surge Teams
Baked Goodies for Providers
Thank you to our medical school researchers who have been supporting patient-care providers throughout the COVID-19 emergency!

Scientists at the Child Health Institute of New Jersey and the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology baked these goodies for the front-line health care providers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
Need Help with Everyday Tasks? Our Medical Students are Here to Help You!
To help support health care workers, medical students have volunteered to help clinical faculty, residents and staff at the medical school and hospital with life tasks such as, but not limited to, grocery runs, pet care and virtual homework help. Please fill out this  Google Form  if you are a health care worker who is interested in receiving this support. Additional details can be found on the form itself. All students volunteering to help have been self-screened as asymptomatic for the past 14 days.
Tell Us Who Has Made an Impact
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) invites you to  nominate a colleague/community member  to be celebrated and featured on  HE R E 4 U  with a brief statement supporting their impact on RBHS and our surrounding community during the COVID-19 emergency.
You also are invited to  submit a brief (no more than 50 words) empowering story  about how you saw others or yourself deal with or impact RBHS and our surrounding communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
Sharing our experiences in health care, especially during intense, emotional or stressful times increases our connectedness and well-being. Hearing stories from others helps us know we are not alone and strengthens our sense of community. The authenticity, compassion, creativity and bravery of our colleagues helps us access our own emotions, celebrate the heroic daily tasks that many of us are engaged in, and helps us carry on.

The featured colleagues and stories will be shared (after review) on the  HE R E4 U   web page.   
How You Can Help during the COVID-19 Crisis

Are you or your team organizing activities to help support the COVID-19 response? The Communications and Public Affairs team is here to help you spread the message. Email Jillian Prior information that you would like distributed to our community.
Welcome New Faculty!

Welcome to our newest faculty members!

Toni Beninato, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Mehreen Maqsood-Latif, MD
RBHS Instructor of Family Medicine and Community Health
Jigar Patel, MD
RBHS Instructor of Family Medicine and Community Health

Read more about your new colleagues  here .
COVID-19 Alerts and Information
Stay informed on the latest information and updates regarding COVID-19 at the medical school and Rutgers community:

Thank you for all that you are doing now, and always, for our patients, for our students, and to support each other during this crisis.
COVID-19 Related Reading:

Rutgers’  RUCDR Infinite Biologics , led by Jay Tischfield, PhD , professor of pediatrics, has launched a test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and is using its automation experience and infrastructure to test as many as tens of thousands of samples daily.

Martin Blaser, MD , professor of Medicine and Microbiology, and director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, explains how it makes a difference.
Project ECHO Offers COVID-19 Webinars for Providers
Rutgers Project ECHO, a unit of the Office of Community Health, is offering weekly webinars to help providers in all specialties understand the latest information on COVID-19 symptoms, testing and treatment. Experts from throughout the state and Rutgers provide the latest knowledge and answer pre-sent questions. Find out more and register for an upcoming on Project ECHO's COVID-19 website.
Social Media Post of the Week
Thank you to our alumni who are working the front lines to treat COVID-19 patients in Boston: (l. to r.) Matthew Wong, MD ; Deesha Sarma, MD ; Jake Hoyne, MD ; and Max Blodgeett, MD .
Stay on top of the latest news and information! Follow us on  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In the News

Coronavirus Exacts Greater Toll on Communities of Color -- Denise V. Rodgers, MD -- NJSpotlight.com

3D printing faces hurdles in coronavirus response -- Joseph Hanna, MD -- thehill.com

Heart disease risk up for first-time mothers with preeclampsia -- Mary Downes Gastrich, PhD -- medicalxpress.com and drugs.com

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