JOHNSON CITY (March 4, 2013) – More than 35 physicians and other health care providers will highlight the latest advances in medicine during the 17th annual Primary Care Conference, being held March 25-28 by East Tennessee State University’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine.
The conference, which is presented by the ETSU Office of Continuing Medical Education (CME), will be held at the Millennium Centre and is intended for primary care physicians of all specialties, as well as surgeons, orthopedists and emergency medicine physicians. Other providers who deliver frontline health care will benefit, including advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, registered nurses, dietitians, dentists and psychologists.
The scope of topics has made the conference one of the signature events for the Office of CME, a division of the Quillen College of Medicine. A new feature this year will be workshops on suturing and injection techniques that will be held at Quillen.
Dr. T. Watson Jernigan, chair of the ETSU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and associate dean for Clinical Affairs at Quillen, has been a presenter and audience participant at the Primary Care Conference, and he marvels at the spectrum and quality of information for health care providers.
Jernigan’s presentation this year focuses on new evidence pertaining to the cardiovascular effects of estrogen therapy for women with menopause. A highly publicized 2002 study – known as the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) – linked estrogen therapy to an increased risk for heart disease, Jernigan said, but a new investigation offers additional insight.
The Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS) is a renewed look at estrogen use and menopause, especially in patients in early menopause. Jernigan’s presentation, “Battle of the Titans: WHI vs. KEEPS,” arose from his attendance at a national meeting of leading experts on menopause.
“What I’m presenting is what I learned at the North American Menopause Society national meeting – the results were very significant, but they haven’t even been widely published yet,” Jernigan said. “The Women’s Health Initiative changed the environment of menopause treatment, because it talked about women being at increased risk for heart disease and breast cancer with estrogen therapy.
“The WHI study was significant; it showed that there’s no doubt that if you’ve had a heart attack and you’re over the menopausal age, estrogen is probably not the best therapy for you. But we are seeing 48-year-olds, 55-year-olds, who are athletic, who are in the early stages of symptomatic menopause, who we believe should not worry about increased heart disease risk with estrogen use.”
Jernigan said he considers it a privilege to pass along new information in his specialty to colleagues from throughout the region, and he appreciates the reciprocal knowledge gained when he’s in the audience.
“A physician or a nurse practitioner could attend 30 conferences around the country to learn about the hottest topics and latest advances in treatment,” Jernigan said, “but that isn’t realistic because of the time and the cost it would involve. Instead, everyone gets to come to one place that is very accessible. And then, in turn, they take what they’ve learned and put that into practice in communities throughout our region, which results in improved care for patients.”
The new, hands-on workshops that offer instruction on suturing techniques and joint aspirations will be held in the gross anatomy lab at the College of Medicine. Dr. Caroline Abercrombie, ETSU instructor and director of the gross anatomy lab, developed the workshops in collaboration with several experts she recruited, most of whom have Quillen ties. Workshop instructors Drs. Gaurav Bharti, Sarah Edwards, Jason Moore and Howard Herrell are Quillen alumni, and a second-year medical student, Jon Miller, is also participating.
“There’s a wide variety of attendees at the conference – including physicians, surgical PAs, nurse practitioners and students – so these workshops will allow some to refresh the skills they already have and also provide the opportunity for others to learn new ones,” Abercrombie said. “I had a reason for reaching out to a number of Quillen graduates for help. This will showcase the highly competent medical education we have here. All of those doctors are excellent teachers; they all went to school at Quillen; and they all have either stayed here or returned here.”
For online registration and more information, including a complete list of speakers and topics, visit www.etsu.edu/com/cme. Registration for the conference, as well as assistance for those with disabilities, is also available by calling the Office of CME at (423) 439-8027.
The Quillen College of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Topics related to dental care and nutrition are included in this year’s conference, and ETSU has filed applications for additional educational credits through the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the Tennessee Nursing Association, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the Tennessee Board of Dentistry, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards, also known as NAB.