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Ron Harvey, '81, School of Nursing alumnus, has chosen an unconventional way to utilize his training and education as a nurse. Ron is currently the national clinical director for Avadim, LLC, an Asheville, N.C.-based company responsible for creating a natural skin cleansing product called Theraworx.
After graduating from SIUE with his bachelor's in 1981, Ron got his Master of Science in Nursing from St. Louis University/University of St. Francis in 1983. He then worked in nursing homes that his family owned and operated. Eventually, Ron became the Director of Nurses in these facilities. He began his own geriatric consulting service for long term facilities in 1995. While he was working as a consultant he discovered a few entrepreneurial business products, including Theraworx.
"When I discovered this product, I thought it was a good fit for long term care and sought to learn more about FDA regulation," said Ron. "You must have clinically evidence-based claims to go along with your product, and we spent the next five years getting our clinical bases."
Theraworx is a unique, natural foaming skin cleanser with preservatives that cleans, hydrates and protects all in one step while remaining nonrinse and nontoxic. It comes in a variety of applications and is currently being used in long term care facilities and acute care hospitals. This product is very successful at reducing many hospital acquired infections, including the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) by naturally decreasing skin bacteria, which is a common cause of CAUTIs. In long term care facilities, Theraworx is being used from head to toe in order to increase overall infection control rates.
"Being a nurse has helped me as a clinical director because when you walk into a facility and the nurses know you are an RN, all of their hesitations and walls go down," Ron said. "It is easier for me to be very real with them about how much I would have wanted to have our product when I was working in jobs similar to the ones they hold. Being a nurse also helped me to develop all of our promotional materials from the viewpoint of a nurse and what would interest a nurse.
"Ron played a key role in developing multiple trials for Theraworx that resulted in a published study in the Emergency Journal of Nursing and in Theraworx being nominated for the Innovative Technology Award through Tenet Health Care. Ron, and his team at Avadim, LLC are working towards using Theraworx for a variety of other health solutions, as well as eventually selling their product in the private market.