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Release: March 17, 2000

Three UI Health Care specialists to lead online chats

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Sharon Helt, Michael B. Cohen, M.D., and Carol Scott-Conner, M.D., Ph.D., all with University of Iowa Health Care, will each lead separate, hour-long, online, question-and-answer discussions in their specialty areas with a nationwide audience Monday, March 20.

The online chats will be hosted by and can be accessed by entering through the home page under "Upcoming Events."

Helt, an education consultant with the University Hospital School, will discuss educational programming and strategies for students with disabilities from 10 to 11 a.m. (CST). Students with disabilities should have objectives to reach their educational goals. These should include educational programming based on the student's individual needs and goals, and access to an array of educational opportunities in their neighborhood schools. In addition, parents should know their rights regarding their children's education, and educators should be prepared to educate all students with public policy supporting the appropriate education.

Scott-Conner, UI staff surgeon, and professor and head of surgery, will discuss breast pain from 1 to 2 p.m. (CST). There are many possible causes for breast pain. The presence of discomfort associated with menses is well recognized by women. Breast pain not associated with menses may be a frightening experience. Recent statistics indicate that one in every seven women in the United States develop breast cancer. Although many women think that breast pain automatically means cancer, there is often no breast pain with breast cancer.

Cohen, UI pathologist, and professor and head of pathology, will discuss fine needle aspiration, or biopsy from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. (CST). In the fine needle aspiration, a needle is inserted into the thyroid, and a sample of thyroid cells and fluid is drawn into the needle. The results from the biopsy are used to determine the presence of thyroid cancer, noncancerous tumors, or diffuse thyroid disease.

After receiving her bachelor's degree in elementary education and her master's degree in early childhood special education at the UI, Helt taught in the Iowa public school system before joining the UI Health Care staff in 1991. She is a member of the Assistive Technology Team, addressing students' argumentative communications and computer access or appropriate software needs. She is a 1998 recipient of the Award for Staff Excellence from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and is a member of an interdisciplinary team that evaluates and provides consultation related to instructional strategies for students receiving special education services.

Scott-Connor received her medical degree and completed her surgical residency at New York University School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in Lexington and her MBA from the Else School of Management, Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss. She joined the staff of UI Health Care in 1995. Her research interests include biliary and pancreatic disease, breast disease, familial juvenile polyposis and its relation to the development of gastrointestinal cancer, obstructive jaundice, laparoscopic surgery, and computer models and applications to surgical care and surgical education.

After receiving his medical degree from Albany Medical College, Cohen completed his residency in anatomic pathology at the University of California -- San Francisco Medical Center. He joined the staff of UI Health Care in 1990. His clinical expertise is in anatomic pathology, in particular, cytopathology, fine needle aspiration biopsy, and urologic pathology.

A calendar of other upcoming chats by UI Health Care professionals and dialogue from past chats can be accessed by logging on to and clicking on the logo at the bottom of the page.

UI Health Care's partnership with is part of an increasing health care trend of enhancing consumer services through the Internet. According to recent statistics compiled by Cyber Dialogue, a New York firm that tracks Internet commerce, approximately 22 million World Wide Web users seek health information over the Internet. Cyber Dialogue projects an increase to 33 million over the next year.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education, research programs, and services they provide. began operating in September 1998 as an anchor tenant on the America Online Health Channel (keyword: AmDoc). launched its own site in March 1999 and joined other sites such as (Nasdaq: KOOP), Healtheon (Nasdaq: HLTH), InteliHealth, WebMD, and OnHealth (Nasdaq: ONHN) on the World Wide Web. It is the only medical/health information Internet destination to offer Ask-the-Doc – private, real-time, one-on-one chats with primary care doctors and other health specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no cost to the consumer. In addition to this proprietary chat and a clinical trials division, also offers consumers a variety of interactive healthcare content such as lectures and live programming; a medical library; health and medical news and publications; and a medical shopping mall with brand-name items from medical equipment to healthy living to baby care. Consumers also have access to online communities that target specific health conditions, as well as broader health interests.