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The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund, Inc.

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Speaking of NEC Podcast Featuring Dr. Sheila Gephart Launches October 28

Produced by The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund, and funded by The Petit Family Foundation, Speaking of NEC is a series of one-on-one conversations with relevant Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) experts—neonatologists, clinicians and researchers—that highlights current prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies for NEC, and the search for a cure.

Milford, CT, October 26, 2015 --( Ep. 8: GutCheckNEC—A Comprehensive Overview of Risk Assessment with Dr. Sheila Gephart

Episode 8 features Dr. Sheila Gephart, neonatal nurse scientist and assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing. During this episode, Dr. Gephart provides a comprehensive overview of GutCheckNEC, a first-of-its-kind, 10-item risk assessment that she developed for the early detection of NEC in premature infants. She discusses:

Her transition from bedside nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit to her development of GutCheckNEC—what she calls a “real-time, early warning score for NEC,”

The 10 risk factors that make up GutCheckNEC, their associated symptoms, and how risk is communicated, the development of NEC-Zero, an intervention that has evolved out of the Unit NEC rate component of GutCheckNEC,
The strength of evidence for the use of probiotics in the prevention of NEC, and tThe importance of shared decision making in the NICU.

Episode 8 launches on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at noon EDT, and will be available to listen to, or download, at or on iTunes.

This episode was produced in part by the TeacherCast Educational Broadcasting Network. For more information about Speaking of NEC or The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund, visit

About The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund, Inc.
The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund (Morgan’s Fund) is an all-volunteer, public charity dedicated to Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). Its mission is to promote public awareness about NEC and the potentially devastating effects it can have on preemies and their families, and to advance research to prevent, diagnose, treat, and ultimately, cure NEC. Named after Morgan, it celebrates his survival, courage and strength.

Morgan and his twin brother were born at 28 weeks, one day gestation — nearly three months early — each weighing less than 2.5 pounds. At four days old, Morgan developed NEC and lost approximately 20% of his small intestine. Morgan not only survived but has also thrived since his bout with NEC. This is his family’s way of paying it forward.

About The Petit Family Foundation
The Petit Family Foundation honors the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit by continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives. The Foundation’s funds are given to foster the education of young people, especially women in the sciences; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illnesses; and to support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence.

About Sheila Gephart, PhD, RN
Sheila Gephart, Ph.D., RN, is passionate and has dedicated her research and nursing practice to address the adoption of prevention and early recognition practices of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) among premature infants. As Principal Investigator for the NEC-Zero Project, she utilizes the application of evidence-based practice to improve neonatal outcomes, and has developed an early warning score for necrotizing enterocolitis called GutCheckNEC and has been working to integrate it into a smart alerting system in the Electronic Health Record.

Dr. Gephart knows first hand that parents play a fundamental role in NEC prevention but have insufficiently been involved as partners. Clinical decision support (CDS) has been shown to improve adherence of care across settings and is used as a way of engagement and integration of prevention practices into the clinical workflow. The central hypothesis of this model is that adherence to guideline-recommended NEC prevention and early recognition practices (called “NEC-Zero) will improve when delivered using CDS and NEC disease will decline. This approach has been funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Dr. Gephart earned her BSN from OHSU in 1998 and her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in nursing with a minor in informatics in 2012. Serving as a scientific advisory board member for the NEC Society, she is inspired daily to continue her work to spread best practices for NEC prevention and early recognition. She grew up in Oregon as 3rd of 7 children. Now residing in Tucson, Arizona she and her husband, Dave, have 3 daughters and enjoy traveling in their spare time.
Contact Information
The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund, Inc.
Stephanie M. Vaughan

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