2016 Community Benefit Report
2015 Community Benefit Report

education bjc community benefit report 2015

Education and Research

The pursuit of advanced learning and scientific discovery make the world a better place by ensuring the ongoing education of future generations of physicians, nurses and other clinicians, and by pushing the limits of medical exploration of better diagnoses, innovative treatments and new cures.

BJC invests in the future of health care by supporting the training of health care professionals through BJC nursing schools and partnerships with Washington University School of Medicine and other academic institutions. During 2016, BJC contributed $181.6 million toward the education of 16,613 students.

BJC also contributes toward medical research that promises hope for a better world for the future. BJC funded nearly $450,000 in research in 2016.

 

 
$182 MILLION
EDUCATION & RESEARCH

Education of health professionals: 
$181.7 million (16,613 students)
Medical Research: $.45 million

Christian Hospital’s PCT Academy was introduced in early 2016 to address some common issues in patient care tech (PCT) staffing – dealing with turnover, finding quality team members and meeting state credentialing requirements.

Long-term, the Christian Hospital (CH) PCT Academy is designed to create a pathway from the entry-level patient care tech position to attaining a BSN degree, as well as helping the community by providing jobs, assisting student nurses attain career goals and continually sourcing a pipeline of future quality nurses. The academy’s first class graduated in May 2016, with additional classes graduating from subsequent summer, fall and spring sessions.

“Another benefit that has surfaced is this program addresses the diversity issue in nursing, not just at the PCT level, but also at the BSN level,” says Jennifer Cordia, CH chief nurse executive who began her career at CH in the 1980s as a PCT (known then as a nurses’ aide) and spearheaded the development of the academy to find long-term solutions.

“When we talk about going into the community, those are typically more diverse populations that we can get into this program, and then in four years they’ll be nurses,” says Cordia. “What we should see in 10 years is our ratio of nurses in diverse categories be stronger because we’re figuring out how to support them at the entry level.”

The CH PCT Academy is geared toward reaching members of the local community who are looking for entry level opportunities, including nursing students, as well as those within the organization, typically in food service or housekeeping positions who want a patient care position.

Those accepted into the program are CH employees at the time of enrollment and get paid for 40 hours each week as a patient care tech during the 10-week training program. Each academy graduate is guaranteed a job upon completing the program as part of a required one-year commitment to CH.

The CH PCT Academy is limited to six students each session and consists of four weeks of classroom instruction with testing every day; four weeks of clinical rotations on various patient care floors; and the last two weeks of clinical instruction on the assigned floor the student will work after completing the program.

Mac Swartz, a CH PCT Academy graduate who worked on the 7th floor after graduation, is now in the accelerated nursing program at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College. The accelerated nursing degree program is for students who’ve already earned a degree in a major other than nursing.

Swartz, who graduated a few of years ago with a bachelor’s degree in communications, decided in January 2016 that he wanted to be a nurse. “I found out about the PCT Academy from a friend that works here, shadowed in February 2016 and started the program in March 2016,” says Swartz, who also at the time enrolled in prerequisite classes at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park. “I really like connecting with people and this role is great to interact with every walk of life. You’re with people at their worst times of life and to be able to make some sort of connection with them in the short amount of time I spend with them is really meaningful.”

Tracye Bartley, also a graduate from the CH PCT Academy’s first class, now works on the 6th floor. She started working at CH three years ago as a housekeeper before making a career transition to caregiver upon entering the program in March 2016. She has an associate’s degree in health care administration and completed a bachelor’s in health care management program in fall 2016.

 

"The PCT Academy opened the door for me, and I’m really grateful for it. I wanted to get hands-on experience in a health care setting and this academy has made it possible for me.”

Tracye Bartley A graduate from the CH PCT Academy’s first class

By age two, most children have been infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which usually causes only mild cold symptoms. But people with weakened immune systems, such as infants and the elderly, can face serious complications, including pneumonia and — in some cases — death.

Now, Children’s Discovery Institute-funded scientists studying the virus have found clues to how RSV causes disease. They mapped the molecular structure of an RSV protein that interferes with the body’s ability to fight off the virus. Knowing the structure of the protein will help them understand how the virus impedes the immune response, potentially leading to a vaccine or treatment for this common infection.

“We solved the structure of a protein that has eluded the field for quite some time,” says Daisy Leung, PhD, pathology and immunology, and biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and the study’s co-senior author. “Now that we have the structure, we’re able to see what the protein looks like, which will help us define what it does and how it does it. And that could lead, down the road, to new targets for vaccine or drug development.” 

Each year in the United States, more than 57,000 children younger than age 5 are hospitalized due to RSV infection, and about 14,000 adults older than 65 die from it.

There is no approved vaccine for RSV and treatment is limited. The antiviral drug ribavirin is used only in the most severe cases because it is expensive and not very effective. Most people with RSV receive supportive care to make them more comfortable while their bodies fight off the virus.

For people with weakened immune systems, though, fighting RSV can be tough because the virus can fight back. Scientists have long known that an RSV protein is key to the virus’s ability to evade the immune response. However, the structure of that protein, known as NS1, was unknown. Without seeing what the protein looked like, scientists were unable to determine exactly how NS1 interfered with the immune system.

“It’s an enigmatic protein,” says co-senior author Gaya Amarasinghe, PhD, pathology and immunology.“ Everybody thinks it does many different things, but we’ve never had a framework to study how and why the protein does what it does.” 

Drs. Leung, Amarasinghe and colleagues used X-ray crystallography — a technique that involves crystallizing the protein, bouncing X-rays off it and analyzing the resulting patterns — to determine the three-dimensional structure of NS1. Then, in a detailed analysis of the structure, they identified a piece of the protein, known as the alpha 3 helix, which might be critical for suppressing the immune response.

They found that the viruses with the mutated helix region did not suppress the immune response while the ones with the intact helix region did.

“One of the surprising things we found was that this protein does not target just one set of genes related to the immune response, but it globally modulates the immune response,” says Dr. Amarasinghe.

The findings show that the alpha 3 helix region is necessary for the virus to dial down the body’s immune response. By suppressing the immune response, the virus has a better chance of surviving and multiplying, and causing disease. “RSV usually can only cause disease in people whose immune systems are weak,” Dr.Amarasing says, “so a vaccine or treatment that targets the alpha 3 helix to prevent immune suppression may be what people need to be able to successfully fight off the virus.” 

The Children’s Discovery Institute is a world class center for pediatric research and innovation created to encourage researchers to ask bold questions and take bold risks to uncover answers. This partnership was established in 2006 between two prominent institutions  St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University  and is uniquely positioned to leverage the abilities of clinicians, investigators, trainees and professional staff throughout the academic and medical community.