<P>tulane.edu/som TULANE | MEDICINE FALL 2013 7 MEDICINE NEWS W hat do you want to learn more about? That simple question gives students at Tulane University School of Medicine a license to shape their education. When Tulane students are interested in a particular subject or ?eld, they have the ability to create student-initiated electives to further a ?eld of study. The schools palliative and end-of-life-care elective, which was launched by medical students, is now in its fourth year. Early on in medical school, Dr. Benjamin Azevedo, a May 2013 graduate, realized how important palliative and end-of-life-care was for medical professionals. He saw ?rsthand how well his mother, an educator and a former hospice nurse, worked with patients who were dealing with incredible pain or nearing the end of their lives. Azevedo approached faculty member Dr. Dominique Anwar, associate professor and director of the Palliative Care Program at Tulane, and together they developed a curriculum and objectives for a new elective to teach ?rst-year students these important skills. We surveyed the student body to see if they were interested in this new elective, Azevedo says. We found that students were below the curve in their understanding of palliative care and there was a strong amount of interest in learning more. Medical students are still involved in the coordination of the class. Under the supervision of faculty, third-year medical student Melissa Schwab Keeport directs the elective with help from three second-year students: James Stoeckle, William Vail and Andrew Wickerham. They are passionate about helping medical students learn more about this important part of medicine. At Tulane, we saw that there was a need for further education in the ?eld of end- of-life and palliative care, especially post-Katrina, Keeport says. Since implementing the elective, weve done extensive data collection on the students experiences; there have been remarkable improvements in their capabilities. Third-year medical student Melissa Schwab Keeport directs the end-of-life-care elective with help from three second-year students and faculty. MED STUDENTS CREATE CLASSES TAILORED TO THEIR INTERESTS ‘FORTIFY THE FAMILY‘ PROGRAM HELPS VETERANST he Tulane University Department of Psychiatry is waging war on mental health problems that plague soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Fortify the Family program helps military families that are suffering or are in need of mental health services as a result of a loved ones post- deployment struggles. While 20 to 30 percent of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems, often there is a spillover effect that impacts spouses, parents and children, says Dr. Frederic Sautter, clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. The soldiers relationships with his partner and children are adversely affected by post-traumatic stress, often leading to serious mental health problems in 30 percent of family members, says Sautter, who serves as the leader of the Family Mental Health Program for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. Fortify the Family provides family treatment that cannot be provided at the V.A., which focuses primarily on the treatment of the veteran, Sautter says. While working on a clinical trial funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Sautter realized that many of his patients were most concerned about their partners and children. Their questions centered on improving parenting skills and getting help for their children for problems that extend beyond the veteran. Psychologists Dr. Frederic Sautter and Dr. Julia Cretu have developed the Fortify the Family program, which helps the families of veterans who suffer as a result of their loved ones post-traumatic stress disorder. 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