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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital Donates Gamma Camera to ODU

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital recently donated a specialized gamma camera to the Old Dominion University College of Health Sciences for student instruction.

The Digirad 2020tc single-head gamma camera - which will be used in the Nuclear Medicine Program (NMED) - is an imaging device that detects radioactivity that has been administered to patients for diagnostic purposes. Gamma cameras are used to perform bone, heart and thyroid scans as well as other nuclear medicine procedures.

ODU nuclear medicine technology students will benefit from the donation through hands-on experience in operating the camera prior to the start of their community clinical rotations. Most technologists do not have the opportunity to practice with gamma cameras before starting work in a hospital setting.

The donation furthers a longstanding cooperative relationship between ODU and Sentara. At some Sentara locations, more than half of the nuclear medicine technologists are ODU NMED graduates. Since its inception, the ODU program has graduated 227 students.

Scott Sechrist, an ODU associate professor and director of the Nuclear Medicine Technology Program (since 1987), as well as associate chair of the School of Medical Diagnostic and Translational Sciences, said the university is now the only academic institution in the region with a gamma camera for use in classroom and laboratory instruction.

"It shows more of the physiology of the human body, as well as the anatomy," Sechrist said. "In clinical use, you can see how well the heart is beating, and how well the blood is flowing - whether it is doing the job or not. With a camera such as the 2020tc, technologists obtain both structural and funcctional images for physician interpretation."

Sechrist said the camera will provide ODU students an advantage because the real-world visual aid takes the lesson "out of an abstract description so it is less esoteric and more practical."

The donated camera will supplement the Nuclear Medicine Technology Program's 30-year-old device, which previously was used in teaching demonstrations.

Sentara provided the Digirad TC 2020 camera to ODU after purchasing a new device for the hospital's use. Sechrist was initially contacted by the lead nuclear medicine technologist at Sentara Norfolk General, Brandie Crossland (a 2003 ODU NMED graduate), about the possibility of the camera donation earlier in the summer. "We also really want to recognize the efforts of Ashley Clary, the director of Neurosciences and Imaging Services, and Patty Pobega, the manager of Nuclear Medicine/Radiology at Sentara, for making this donation possible," Sechrist said.

For more information on the Old Dominion University Nuclear Medicine Technology program, visit the College of Health Sciences website.