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Lisa Marie Rubin
Clinical Pharmacist;
Formulary Management
VA Western New York Healthcare System
Amber's Secret 

This problem-based case focuses on the female menstrual cycle and early stages of pregnancy of an unwed teenager. Working in small groups, students identify the learning issues for each part of the story and research answers to their questions. They are then given more of the case to evaluate. The cycle of analysis, information seeking, and sharing is repeated for each stage of the case. The case can be used in numerous settings including general health, biology, and sociology classes or in more specialized courses such as physiology, endocrinology, nursing, medicine, human development, social services, or counseling.

Morgan: A Case of Diabetes 

This case teaches about the causes and effects of Type 2 diabetes by working through the various options available to a young Native American woman suffering from the disease. The case can be used in a variety of settings, including nutrition classrooms, herbal drug courses, physiology courses, medical schools, nursing schools, pharmacy schools, diabetes workshops, and even weight loss clinics.

Osteoporosis: Marissa, Jeremy, and Eleanor

This directed case study focuses on the physiology of bone homeostasis and methods of prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. One of the overall purposes of the case is to show students that osteoporosis is not simply a disease that afflicts elderly women. Instead, students learn about Marissa, a petite 15-year-old who has just learned that her 55-year-old grandmother has osteoporosis; Jeremey, a lanky 19-year-old college sophomore who recently has become interested in weight-lifting and is thinking about using steroids to bulk up; and Eleanor, a 45-year-old woman considering hormone replacement therapy mainly to prevent osteoporosis. The case is appropriate for use in an introductory nutrition course, physiology course, pathophysiology course, or general education course focusing on the human body and disease.

Saving Superman: A Look Into Stem Cell Research

Using a combination of directed case method and role-playing in which students learn about their roles using the jigsaw technique, this case study teaches about the main concepts of stem cell research and therapy and the political and ethical issues surrounding these subjects. The case begins by describing the riding accident that left actor Christopher Reeve paralyzed and ends by posing a final open-ended question that encourages student debate and discussion. The case can be used in a general biology class, an ethics class, or a public policy class.

Wake-Up Call 

The main character of this case is Denise, who we first meet in the early morning hours as she wakes up in a cold sweat, gasping for breath. But it is her husband, Jeremy, who has been diagnosed with heart disease, not her. What’s going on? In this interrupted case study, in which the other main character is Denise’s heart (who we get to know through a series of “interior” monologues), students learn about the risk factors, symptoms, and consequences of a heart attack. The case is suitable for a course in pathophysiology, first year nursing, enzymology, advanced biology or anatomy, or nutrition.