Many of us have had an opportunity to meet or work alongside the School of Medicine’s Pam Bass. Pam’s always struck me as a solid person, the calm in the middle of any tempest. She’s grappling with a major medical crisis right now, and a blood drive has been set up to help her out on March 5 and 6 at the UTMB Blood Donor Room, 1.210 John Sealy Annex. Call the Blood Bank at ext. 24861 to schedule an appointment, or Melanie Loving if you need more info about the drive.
Archive for February, 2007
Staring Thursday and running through the weekend, one of our own will be on stage at Mainstreet Theater in Houston. Cheryl L. Kaplan will be performing “My Mother’s Medicine: XXXXOOOO.” In what’s been called a ”hilarious one-woman show,” Kaplan uses her personal diary entries and the real life letters from her mother to tell the story of a Jewish family moving from Brooklyn to Iowa, of her childhood in the Midwest.
Kaplan is the Director of Theater Outreach and Education at UTMB, where she writes, directs and produces plays and educational modules which use theater to teach about health science for the university and the community. Past productions at UTMB include The Unspeakables, Unparalleled, A Woman’s Heart, Facing the Music, and HIV/AIDS…it ain’t over. She also serves as the Texas State Representative for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Details are online.
We at UTMB are an environmentally enlightened bunch. We host one of the state’s best Earth Day celebrations, we conserve energy and resources almost to the point of pain, we find new homes for large trees threatened by construction, we recycle like fiends, adopt dogs, volunteer to clean beaches and carpool like there’s no gas for tomorrow (ahem). And we love wildlife. Most of the time.
Edgar Allan Poe had his raven, Alfred Hitchcock had his seagulls, and we’ve got grackles, thousands and thousands of the black noisy birds. They roost in swarms around sundown, always in the same general parts of campus, and leave behind little “deposits” that despite best efforts, are getting downright nasty. The grackles like our trees, and years of efforts to encourage them to move on have yielded little lasting results (the two efforts that stick out in my mind were the predator calls blasted from speakers on rooftops–much more scary than the birds, and the FOAM guys walking around banging on street signs and garbage can lids.).
Institutionally, we’re trying hard to keep it under control. There are the guys who have the daily cleanup detail, entrusted early each morning to don their coveralls, rubber boots and face masks to pressure wash the slippery avian excrement off walkways, curbs and just about anything else under a tree. But we’re losing the battle of dealing with the droppings. I think we all recognize walking through bird poop is not clean, not safe and not what we want at the doorstep to a health care facility or large cafeteria.
There’s the rub. How far does our love of nature go, and at what point do we say “enough.” I had a colleague say she was ready to bring in her own chainsaw to take down the trees, if that was the only way to get rid of the birds. Others have volunteered everything from birdstew recipes to help organizing a “grackle shoot.”
Before you go buy birdshot, you should know our facilities team is bringing in some professional help, “grackle wranglers” that have some experience encouraging flocks to mosey on to greener pastures. With any luck, we can keep our trees, but lose the birds and their odiferous calling cards. More later…
One of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid was S.W.A.T.; when it came on, my brother and I would tear around the house with our plastic pump shotguns, flying over the back of the family sofa into the perfect spot to dodge a barrage of unfriendly fire, or watch the TV cops come flying out of their blue panel van with the familiar “hut, hut, hut.”
Wednesday, our UTMB Police Department will join the Galveston PD in a little “hut hut” training of their own. A joint tactical rapid response training exercise is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. around the old physical plant storeroom, north of Jennie Sealy Hospital.
Like the TV show, there’s no live ammo being used. Unlike the show, the officers will be practicing some important skills we hope they never need, but will be glad they have if they do. Some may remember a similar exercise in the ER area a year or two ago.
I’ve written before about the bad situation with our blood supply. It’s still bad. A message sent out to medical faculty and hospital leadership said we’re facing a critical and unprecedented shortage of O blood, and it’s getting to the point it could affect our patients’ needs and our ability to handle any emergency situation. Compounding the shortage is a significant decrease in our own volunteer donors at UTMB, down by more than half.
The best way to face the shortage is to make a donations if you are eligible, and to recruit and encourage more blood donations from colellagues and others. The Blood Bank operates from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The donor room is located on the first floor of John Sealy Annex in Room 1.210. For info or to schedule to give, visit http://www.utmb.edu/bb/ or call (409) 772-4861. I’m off campus this afternoon but plan to get by next week.
Sunday’s newspaper had a great big picture and story about one of our UTMB nurses, Jill Bryant. Jill will be singing the anthem at the opening of the 75th annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on Feb. 27, sharing the Reliant arena’s spotlight with 13 other volunteers who compose the rodeo choir, in front of more than 75,000 fans. Unfortunately, the web version of the article doesn’t include her image. In it, she’s standing in front of Old Red and looking sharp. It does talk about several ways she and others from UTMB help make the rodeo a success. It’s music to my ears. Watch for more about Jill in Impact.
This past week one of our local judges jumped into the blogosphere, joining a few new offerings from the Daily News that were announced last Sunday. The web continues to evolve and continues to change how we get and share information.
My longtime guru and guide to all things web related, Don Brunder, sent me a great link the other day from a professor in Kansas that sums up a lot of what’s happened/is happening on the web is a snappy 4-minute video. Check it out.
If you missed the Employee Service Day celebration, it was a lot of fun. We have it taped and will start playing it back on campus TV and the web Friday afternoon, if we can pull all the pieces together by midday. Watch iUTMB for details. If you celebrated an anniversary, congratulations. Hope you had a great day.
(Go ahead: bounce your head, rattle your jowls and let those words roll around the way Ed Sullivan used to do it. Feels good, huh?) Employee Service Day is this Thursday and, if you can get away at 2 pm and make your way to Levin Hall, it really is going to be a great show. We have two 50-year employees to highlight, oodles of service pin and GEM honor recipients, a Mardi Gras theme, cake, employee photos, music, fun emcees. Come help us celebrate a lot of great people and a lot of good work.
If you are an honoree this year, I’ll be one of the folks slinging hash and coffee your way at the breakfast held in your honor. It’s one of the most fun things I do all year, which makes me think that if this web/communications thing doesn’t pan out, my next career may involve an apron. I’m good with that.
Doris Glanz from Senior Services asked me to pass along an appeal on behalf of The Seafarer’s Center, here in Galveston. They help out many of the working people whose ships berth in our harbor. (It’s not just Julie from the Love Boat that plies these waters, mate.) She says the center is in urgent need of donations of men’s clothing. Doris says she likes giving to them because it’s a small way to help people all around the world.