UVA Health System Blog

Stories about the patients, staff and services of UVA


Podcast Tuesday: Concussions in Children [AUDIO]

On May 19, 2015 | At 9:07 am

We hear a lot about sports and concussions. But kids can get concussions as a result of car accidents, playground mishaps and even horseplay. And concussions in children can be hard to diagnose or notice.

Listen to this week’s podcast to learn:

  • Symptoms
  • Prevention tips
  • Treatment information
  • When it’s OK for kids to use computers and tablets again


Maternity Monday: The Partner’s Role in Pregnancy

On May 18, 2015 | At 10:18 am

Forty weeks of pregnancy is a long time and can put a toll on a woman’s body. She’ll experience every emotionfrom stress to excitement to feeling out of control. Pregnancy can put a strain on a relationship as well, and without the emotional and physical support of a partner, a woman may feel completely overwhelmed with everything going on. The partner’s role is quite simple: to be there.

preconception, pregnancy and childbirth

Join us as we journey through preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and beyond in a series we call Maternity Monday.

Meanwhile, partners are trying to navigate through their own emotions. There’s an old saying that goes, “a mom becomes a mom when she finds out she is pregnant. A dad becomes a dad when he sees the baby.” Partners play their own special role in the journey of pregnancy. Julie Ruffing is a labor and delivery nurse at UVA and a new mom. Here’s her perspective on the role her husband played in her pregnancy.

Question: What role did you husband take in your pregnancy?

Julie Ruffing: During pregnancy my husband was incredibly supportive. I think for a man, expecting a child can be a difficult time that is often underrepresented. For me, physical and emotional changes were obviously apparent, but for him, his life was changing slowly without his full comprehension. Early in my pregnancy I went through normal morning sickness and I just wasn’t myself. My husband struggled to understand why I was not excited to eat the meals he cooked and he often tried to get me motivated to be active when all I wanted to do was take a nap. As the pregnancy progressed, he was great! He massaged my aching feet after a 12 hour shift, made food that I was craving, and didn’t care that I needed 10 pillows to get a good night sleep. He did everything he could to support me in the changes that were taking place.

Q:Did you take labor classes? Did your husband attend?

Julie, her husband Ross, and their daughter, Josephine.

Julie, her husband Ross, and their daughter, Josephine.

JR: Since I am a labor and delivery nurse, I attempted to teach him about the labor process myself. We spent many long car rides discussing his role at the bedside during labor and all of the crazy events that may take place. We also talked about what would happen once the baby was born. Although I tried to cover everything I don’t think I prepared him fully for what to expect.  I’m sure he believed what I had taught him, but there is very little you can do to help someone understand what they’re in for when being a part of labor for the first time.

Q: Did your partner attend doctor’s appointments?

JR: My husband was present for the first appointment as well as the most important appointments throughout, including both of our ultrasounds. I find the ultrasounds important for the partner because it helps them to conceptualize that there is a living person growing inside the pregnant mother. During the process my husband was very excited and wanted to be a part of each step.  He is also the kind of person who seeks understanding and was quick to ask questions along way. At first I found this slightly frustrating because many of his questions I felt like I could answer.  However, as the process went along this trait proved to be very helpful and encouraging.

Q: Do you think there was a difference in how you felt toward the pregnancy and how your partner felt toward the pregnancy? Why or why not?

JR: Absolutely. I don’t think any man can fully understand pregnancy because they can’t go through it. It’s a crazy feeling to have a baby moving around inside your belly. During the pregnancy, I was constantly reminded that there was a living being inside me. She was always so active, rolling around and kicking me — 24/7. For the man, or a supportive partner, this simply is not the case. You may see the belly moving and continuing to grow but in many ways the reality of that does not sink in until that baby is born. Pregnancy can be a difficult time for any woman. A support system can be quite helpful.  For me that support came from my husband and has continued into raising our child together.

Filed under : Maternity Monday,Women's Health | By
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#MyHospital: Sharing How UVA Gives Back [VIDEO]

On May 15, 2015 | At 9:51 am

“What does my hospital bring to the community?” Last week, the American Hospital Association encouraged hospitals to answer this question through videos and photos and share on social media.

We talked to four Health System employees with vastly different jobs. Watch what they had to say.

Filed under : Nursing,The People of UVA | By
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Podcast Tuesday: Cancer Genetic Testing

On May 12, 2015 | At 9:39 am

Just like you have your mom’s hair color and your dad’s athletic ability, you can inherit a predisposition for cancer. Cancer genetic testing can determine if you’re likely to get cancer, especially:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer

Listen to a Cancer Center genetic counselor explain the testing.

Filed under : Cancer,Podcast Tuesday | By
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Maternity Monday: UVA’s Free Prenatal Classes

On May 11, 2015 | At 11:11 am

Are you a new parent or a parent-to-be and looking for some free advice? Oh Baby! is a free night of advice from UVA doctors.

preconception, pregnancy and childbirth

Join us as we journey through preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and beyond in a series we call Maternity Monday.

Diane Sampson, education director for UVA Obstetrics and Gynecology, explains the event: “The talks are based on what our obstetricians and pediatricians wish they had known as first time parents themselves, and what our physicians want our patients to know before baby comes.”

What You’ll Learn:

  • Typical newborn behavior
  • Tips for calming a fussy baby
  • The top 10 things to know about breastfeeding before your baby is born
  • Postpartum: the good, the bad and the ugly

All participants receive door prizes, refreshments and helpful take-home materials.

Where: Quayle Learning Center, Battle Building. Park for free in the 11th Street Garage.

When: Wed., May 20th 6-8 p.m.

UVA also offers a variety of prenatal classes for family members of all ages. From breastfeeding and newborn care basics to grandparents and siblings classes, you can learn all aspects of welcoming a new addition to the family. They’re free, and new sessions start all the time.

Learn more about our available class options and sign up for Oh Baby!


Filed under : Events,Maternity Monday,Women's Health | By
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7 Quick Questions: Meet Dr. Winston Gwathmey

On May 7, 2015 | At 10:14 am

Ever wonder what your doctor or health provider does outside the exam room? Our 7 Quick Questions series gives you a personal glimpse into the people of UVA.

Winston Gwathmey, MD, specializes in sports medicine and hip arthroscopy. He is a team physician for UVA and James Madison athletics as well as several high school teams.

Dr. Winston Gwathmey

Orthopedic surgeon, Winston Gwathmey, MD.

1. Why did you become a doctor?

I became a doctor because medicine combined my interest in science with a desire to provide a service to people. I was always drawn to science as a young student and found biology and physics to be fascinating. Becoming a doctor has allowed me to apply that fascination throughout my career and utilize what I have learned to help other people as well as advance our collective understanding of medicine.

2. Why did you choose your specialty?

Orthopedic surgery appealed to me because it offered the ability to fix broken people. There is nothing more gratifying than helping someone walk again after an injury has taken away that simple ability. The profound understanding of anatomy and the biomechanics that orthopedics requires allows me to recognize and appreciate the miracle of the human body.

3. What’s your favorite thing about Charlottesville?

Charlottesville has all of the sophistication, culture, and activity of a much larger city in a small town in a beautiful setting. It has the best of everything in my mind and is a wonderful place to raise a family. It helps that I am a big Cavaliers fan.

4. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a red brick house on a muddy creek just off the Lafayette River in Norfolk, Virginia.

5. What’s the most exciting thing/research happening in your field right now?

Sports medicine is a field that is constantly evolving and the progress that we make on a daily basis is astounding. Hip arthroscopy in particular has been very exciting in that we are now able to recognize and treat hip injuries in younger patients and find ways to prevent the development of arthritis.

6. Who is your inspiration/hero?

My heroes are my grandfather, the late Dr. Harry Muller, and my father, Dr. Frank Gwathmey. Both men were fantastic surgeons and giants in their respective fields but were also outstanding fathers and husbands at the same time. While I love my work, these men remind me how important it is to remember the family for whom I work.

7. What’s your favorite thing about working at UVA?

UVA understands how to be an integral part of the community here in Charlottesville while at the same time attaining national and international recognition for the outstanding medical care, research, and education that is provided here. It is fun to be a part of the team and helping to generate the momentum that will undoubtedly advance UVA’s position as a leader in orthopedic surgery and health care as a whole.

Hear more from Dr. Gwathmey in his profile video.

Filed under : Orthopedics,The People of UVA | By
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Summer Vim & Vigor: Mental Illnesses & Your Overall Well-Being

On May 6, 2015 | At 9:44 am

The summer issue of our family health magazine, Vim & Vigor, focuses on the commonality of mental illness.

Frances and Charlie Berry were diagnosed with lung cancer just months apart.

Frances and Charlie Berry were diagnosed with lung cancer just months apart.

Read about:

  • Soccer star David Beckham opens up about dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • A list of celebrities who struggle with other forms of mental illness including anxiety and depression.
  • A Culpeper couple, Frances and Charlie Berry, were diagnosed with lung cancer just months apart. Now, nearly six years later, the Berrys are cancer free and celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

Plus, learn more about concussions in children, as well as tips to stop a headache before it ruins your day.

Read the online version of the magazine.


Podcast Tuesday: Advances in Vascular Surgery [AUDIO]

On May 5, 2015 | At 10:33 am

Filed under : Heart,Podcast Tuesday | By
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Maternity Monday: Twins, Triplets and Multiple Births (Infographic)

On May 4, 2015 | At 10:09 am

Multiple Births


Transplants, Organ Donation and More: April 2015 Roundup

On May 1, 2015 | At 10:03 am
Organ Transplant at UVA

Click to view larger size

April is National Donate Life Month, and we featured a few blog posts about transplants and organ donation.

We dispelled some of the common misconceptions about organ donation with our Setting the Record Straight post and Organ & Tissue Donation infographic.

Also, discover the role of transplant coordinators, who help guide patients and their families through the journey of receiving a transplant at the UVA Transplant Center.

The Maternity Monday series continued with posts about:

Stay tuned for new articles every Monday throughout the spring and summer!

Listen to some of UVA’s top doctors discuss the latest in their respective fields in our Podcast Tuesday interviews:

Also, be sure to read the story of Chris VanNortwick and his wife, Mary, as he bravely battles frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and they face the challenge together.

The Health System in the News

The Health System has been recertified as a provider of the highest level of epilepsy care. This means that UVA is recognized as having the professional expertise and facilities to provide the highest-level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy. (NBC29)

The Voice and Swallowing Clinic hosted a workshop to teach people the importance of vocal physical therapy for those who experience trouble speaking or singing. (WVTF)

A new program created by the UVA Trauma Center made its debut at a pair of local schools. The Injury Prevention Program is designed to raise awareness about distracted driving among teens and teach them safe driving practices. (Newsplex)

A new breakthrough by UVA researchers may lead to a way to block the growth of tumors in many common cancers. (Medical News Today)

A major clinical trial at the UVA School of Medicine has shown that a wearable device can slow the growth of deadly brain tumors. (NBC29)

Do you really have a food allergy? Learn more about food allergies and how to tell if you actually are allergic. (MSN Health & Fitness)

A new research study from the UVA School of Medicine has found that young children who watch one to two hours of TV per day are much more likely to become overweight or obese than those who watch for less than an hour. (Newsweek)

UVA Club Red hosted another successful edition of the Hoop for Your Heart event. The hula-hooping class taught participants how to get moving and burn calories. (NBC29)