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VOL. 44 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 18, 2020

VUMC to establish Alzheimer’s center

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Angela Jefferson, Ph.D., professor of neurology and director of the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer’s Center, has been awarded a grant from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, to support establishment of an NIA-funded exploratory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The Center’s mission emphasizes community outreach and engagement, especially among African Americans and other groups disproportionately affected by dementia yet historically underrepresented in Alzheimer’s research.

As characterized by the NIA, the award is intended to support planning and infrastructure development for an eventual NIA research center grant which would include an ADRC designation for VUMC. The exploratory grant is expected to total more than $3.7 million over three years.

Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers of Excellence were established by Congress in 1984. There are currently 31 of these Centers situated within major medical institutions across the country. Researchers at these Centers are translating new discoveries into improved diagnosis and care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and searching for ways to treat and prevent these diseases.

With the new award, Jefferson and colleagues will establish the Vanderbilt Exploratory ADRC. According to Jefferson, the Center will have a threefold focus: identifying concomitant risk pathways with a focus on vascular disease; examining genomic and proteomic factors that underlie resilience to Alzheimer’s disease, thereby identifying novel therapeutic targets and prevention strategies; developing new pharmacological interventions emphasizing non-amyloid targets.

The Center includes 35 faculty members representing 23 specialties from more than 20 departments, centers and institutes across campus. During the next three years, the Center will establish a research cohort, recruiting an initial 250 to 300 participants ages 50 or older from Middle Tennessee.

Nissan gives $100,000 to aid early literacy

Nissan North America has donated $100,000 to the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, benefiting Imagination Library programs in Middle Tennessee where Nissan has facilities.

Nissan has contributed over $1.5 million to the foundation since 2005.

The donated funds will be used to provide age-appropriate books each month to preschool children who are enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library programs in Davidson, Franklin, Rutherford and Williamson counties – the four counties where Nissan has operational facilities in the state. Since 2005, Nissan’s support has helped send a year of Imagination Library books to over 116,000+ children.

Fewer than half of Tennessee third graders read proficiently. Third grade reading proficiency is the benchmark where children transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” a key indicator for future educational success and workforce readiness. Literacy programs like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library lead to early language development, school readiness and higher educational outcomes through the fifth grade.

Bridgestone adds $760K for Boys & Girls Clubs

Bridgestone Retail Operations, a subsidiary of Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas, will donate an additional $760,000 to support COVID-19 relief efforts at Boys & Girls Clubs in the U.S.

The contribution is equal to total customer donations collected in the second quarter of 2020 across the Bridgestone nationwide network of 2,200-plus tire and automotive service centers doing business as Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works. With this donation, Bridgestone has given $1.6 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs COVID-19 Relief Fund this year.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America launched their multimillion-dollar COVID-19 Relief Fund in April and announced phase two of the fund on Sept. 3. With the impacts of COVID-19 continuing throughout the U.S., this second phase of funding will help address urgent needs Club children continue to face including food insecurity, support with virtual learning, and after school care.

Change Healthcare unveils AI models

Nashville-based Change Healthcare has launched innovative Artificial Intelligence models, trained by expert physicians, which extract meaningful diagnostic information from text in electronic health records.

The first application of this technology will be within the InterQual AutoReview solution, which automates medical necessity reviews using real-time data from EHRs.

Conducting a medical necessity review is a time-consuming process consisting of retrieving and reviewing clinical data from a patient’s record and manually completing the review. This task can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes for a typical review and places a significant administrative burden on highly skilled clinical staff.

The InterQual AutoReview solution already reduces this burden by extracting structured data, such as labs, medications and vital signs, directly from the EHR—representing up to a 75% reduction in the administrative burden of conducting reviews. Now Change AI Natural Language Processing models, created and trained by Change’s AI data scientists and expert clinicians and radiologists, can identify diagnostic information, such as the presence of pneumonia, bowel obstruction, pancreatitis and other conditions, from unstructured radiology reports.

Dreamstime celebrates 20 years in business

Brentwood-based Dreamstime, a stock photo company, is celebrating its 20th anniversary during September.

Dreamstime.com was registered in 2000 and gained a top 3 position in the industry in 2004, evolving from a handful of photos to now featuring 145+ million files and employing its own proprietary AI, PhotoEye, to filter 3 million monthly approvals.

Since its inception, Dreamstime has continually transformed the stock photo business, launching a series of features to help creatives find fairly-priced visual content, from unique licenses to search optimization with AI-produced data. Its high-quality stock content is generated by a dynamic and diverse community of 650,000 photographers, artists and videographers worldwide.

Through its affiliate program, Dreamstime has enabled partners to scale up, providing easy-to- use tools to sell stock photography in more than 45 countries.

Prudential in search of TN youth volunteers

Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals are seeking Tennessee youth volunteers to apply for scholarships and national recognition through The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

The application period ends Nov. 10.

Tennessee students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply for 2021 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards if they have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteering within the past 12 months — virtually or otherwise. The application is available at http://spirit.prudential.com.

The top middle level and high school volunteer from each state and the District of Columbia will be named state honorees in February. They will receive $1,000 scholarships, engraved silver medallions and an invitation to the program’s national recognition events in early May.

SmileDirect, Meredith unveil telehealth push

Nashville-based SmileDirect Club and Meredith Corporation’s Foundry 360 have launched Telehealth Explained, a new platform aimed to educate consumers about the many benefits of telehealth for physical, mental and dental health.

Foundry 360 is the Meredith’s custom content marketing studio, and SmileDirectClub, is an oral care company with the first medtech platform for teeth straightening.

Telehealth Explained features expert insights, empowering original content, and real patient testimonials to educate consumers about the health care choices available and to help them make informed decisions.

Topics include Telehealth 101: How Technology Can Connect You to Healthcare, Quick Tips for Preparing for Your Telehealth Appointment, How to Get Kids Ready for a Telehealth Appointment, and more.

In the coming weeks, Telehealth Explained will introduce a multicompany coalition to bring attention and additional resources to further the education and advocacy about telehealth. The initiative’s objective is to combine and leverage the collective efforts of prominent brands to amplify the awareness and education about telehealth trends.

Virtual concerts to boost musicians, venues

Music City Bandwidth will host 30 virtual concerts in September and October, sponsored by a partnership of The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, Nashville’s Music Venue Alliance and Jack Daniel’s to help local musicians and venues stay afloat during the pandemic shutdown.

Fifteen independent Nashville music venues will provide gigs for approximately 120 Nashville-based musicians of diverse genres. The concerts will be streamed around the world at musiccitybandwidth.com. At this time, there will be no live audiences due to physical distancing and crowd size limitations mandated by the city.

Shows will air at 7 p.m. CDT on certain dates in September and October. Each venue will host two shows and must book Nashville-based acts representing diverse genres. Participating venues include the following: 3rd and Lindsley, DRKMTTR, Exit/In, Mercy Lounge, The 5 Spot, The Basement, The Basement East, The Bluebird Café, The East Room, The End, The High Watt, The Listening Room, Rudy’s Jazz Room, Springwater and Station Inn.

Confirmed artists include Andrew Combs; Brett James; Creature Comfort; Devon Gilfillian; Giovanni Rodriguez & 12 Manos; Jason Eskridge; Kalie Shorr; Marshall Chapman with Tommy Womack & Will Kimbrough; Patrick Sweany; *repeat repeat; The Last Bandoleros; The Pink Spiders; The Shindellas; The Wild Feathers; Trigger Hippy; Victoria Shaw; and Wooten Brothers. Continue to check musiccitybandwidth.com for show schedule.

The creative marketing initiative is being paid for by Tennessee CARES Act funds earmarked for destination marketing organizations such as the NCVC to support tourism recovery.

Cumberland University’s enrollment spikes

Cumberland University in Lebanon has record enrollment this fall with 2,704 students, an increase of 6% from 2019.

This year’s total enrollment represents a 74% increase for the 179-year-old school since 2015.

As many experts predicted nationwide declines in college enrollment, Cumberland attributes agility in the planning process, small class sizes and a reputation for a personalized student experience to its success in this area.

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