College of Medicine Accolades banner

Accolades is a weekly roundup of some of the honors and accomplishments of College of Medicine faculty, staff, residents and fellows by Christopher T. Westfall, M.D., Executive Vice Chancellor of UAMS and Dean of the College of Medicine.  


January 16, 2019

Shout-outs from Students
I always leave my weekly breakfasts with students cheerful thanks to the wonderful things they have to say about faculty members and other aspects of medical school. Several of you were lauded last week as enthusiastic, wonderful teachers, including Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education Dr. Sara Tariq (Internal Medicine); Drs. David Davies, Alan Diekman, Kevin Phelan and Laura Stanley (all in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences); and Dr. Jerad Gardner (Pathology).

The sophomores also gave shout-outs to Dr. Jasna Vuk and the Student Success Center for her support, encouragement and assistance; and to three Surgery faculty members: Dr. Esther Teo, for setting a great example of compassionate patient care; Dr. Jason Mizell, for his Finance Interest Group and helping students understand the business side of medicine; and Dr. Katie Kimbrough, for her strong mentorship.

Students also expressed how much they valued their experiences in the Summer Surgery Program and volunteering at the 12th Street Clinic and Harmony Health Clinic. My sincere thanks to the wonderful educators and staff who make programs like these possible.


Visionary Leadership for Digital Health
Chancellor Cam Patterson shared exciting news last Friday about the creation of the UAMS Institute for Digital Health and Healthcare Innovation, which will be directed by Dr. Curtis Lowery, Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology. As a nationally recognized pioneer in distance health, founder of the UAMS Center for Distance Health and a driving force behind ANGELS, AR Saves and other programs that are transforming health care in Arkansas, Dr. Lowery will bring his vision, expertise and energy to the new institute – for the benefit of patients throughout our state. Congratulations Dr. Lowery!


New Leadership Roles
Kudos to Amanda George, CPA, MHSA, Jake Stover, MHSA, Christina Clark, MBA, and Amy Wenger, MHSA, on their new UAMS leadership roles. All four have made countless contributions to the COM and UAMS through the years in multiple administrative and finance leadership positions. As Dr. Patterson announced, Amanda is the new Vice Chancellor for Finance and Chief Financial Officer of UAMS. We’ll miss having Jake in the Dean’s Office but wish him all the best as the new Chief Administrative Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Finance with the Integrated Clinical Enterprise. Christina is now Vice Chancellor for Institutional Support Services and Chief Operating Officer. Amy is moving from her role as Administrator of the Women and Infant Health Service Line to assume Christina’s previous post as Dr. Patterson’s Chief of Staff. Thank you all for your outstanding service and leadership.


Nano Bravo!     
A big shout-out to Dr. Michael Borrelli, Professor of Radiology, Physiology and Biophysics and Neurology in the COM and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy, for his leadership and hard work once again on the 2018 Nanotechnology for Health Care Conference held last month. Colleagues praised Dr. Borrelli’s ongoing work as Chair of the Scientific Planning and Organizing Committee for the highly successful three-day conference hosted by the UA Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, UAMS, UA Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the National Center for Toxicological Research. Dr. Robert Griffin, Professor of Radiation Oncology, contributed significantly to helping organize the meeting as a member of the Planning and Program Committees. UAMS speakers included Dr. Lowry Barnes, Professor and Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Martin Radvany, Professor and Chief of Interventional Neuroradiology, and Dr. Graham Strub, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, along with experts in nanotechnology and health care from other Arkansas universities and around the country.


Day One Doc
Dr. Lawrence O’Malley served as Doctor of the Day at the opening of the Arkansas General Assembly on Monday – and he and his colleagues in the Department of Orthpaedic Surgery drew praise from Senate President Pro Tempore Jim Hendren, a recent patient of Dr. O’Malley. Dr. O’Malley, an Assistant Professor and sports medicine specialist, was joined on the floor of the Senate by Chancellor Cam Patterson and physical therapist Caitlin Mallinger, who also provided care for Sen. Hendren. As I mentioned in Accolades a few months ago, UAMS will be well represented during the session. All 24 physicians in Orthopaedic Surgery along with faculty from other departments including Anesthesiology, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Surgery have signed up to volunteer at the Capitol for a day.


Glowing Results
Congratulations to Dr. Eva Carolina Diaz and colleagues in the Department of Pediatrics and Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center on their recent paper published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The article, “Pre-pregnancy Fat Free Mass and Associations to Glucose Metabolism Before and During Pregnancy,” is part of the USDA-ARS funded Glowing trial at ACNC and led by Associate Professor Dr. Aline Andres. The team is addressing questions such as what can be done to mitigate risks associated with maternal obesity and how the pre-pregnancy period affects outcomes. Great work!


Recent Intramural Grants
Congratulations to COM faculty researchers who recently received intramural grants. The awards included the College of Medicine-administered Barton Foundation Pilot Grants and Sturgis Foundation Grants for diabetes-related research. Six additional faculty members received pilot awards from the UAMS Office of Vice Chancellor for Research and UAMS Translational Research Institute for opioid addiction and pain management studies.


Barton Foundation Pilot Grants
($25,000; 1-1-2019-12-31-2019)

Jon Blevins, Ph.D., Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Studying the roles of dinucleotide second messenger molecules in the pathogenesis of the tick-borne relapsing fever spirochete, Borrelia turicatae.

Robert Griffin, Ph.D., Department of Radiation Oncology, Localized treatment of tumors with radiation triggered liposomes.

Jia Liu, Ph.D., Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Studies on the Intrinsic Cellular Barrier Against Poxvirus Infection

Isabella Racine-Miousse, Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Methionine and autophagy in metastatic melanoma.


Sturgis Foundation Grants

Britni Ayers, Ph.D., Department of Internal Medicine, An Exploratory Study of Gestational Weight Gain and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, $72,500.

Eugenia Carvalho, Ph.D., Department of Geriatrics, Role of Regulatory T-cells in Obesity-Linked Insulin Resistance and Diabetes, $26,826.

Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Evaluation of the feasibility and effectiveness of Family DSMES in RMI, $72,500.


Opioid Addiction/Pain Management Pilot Awards
(up to $25,000; 1-1-2019-12-31-2019)

Read more about the following awards in the UAMS Newsroom and/or click the links below for a video summary of each project.

Johnathan Goree, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology, Video-based, Patient-Focused Opioid Education in the Perioperative Period: A Feasibility Study;

Corey Hayes, Pharm.D., M.P.H., Department of Psychiatry, Linking the Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Data with the Arkansas All-Payer Claims Database;

Linda Larson-Prior, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Impact of Buprenorphine-Assisted Treatment on Sleep, Mood and Cognition among Opioid Use Disorder Patients;

Issam Makhoul, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, The Development and Implementation of a Standardized Pain Management Protocol for Adult Sickle Cell Patients;

Clare Nesmith, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Quantitation of Opioids in Neonates with Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal;

Alison Oliveto, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Gamified Intervention to Prevent Adolescent Opioid Misuse;


January 9, 2019

Histochemical Honor
Most of us at UAMS best know Dr. Gwen Childs for her excellent leadership as Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences and her department’s phenomenal work in medical and graduate student education and multiple areas of research. Dr. Childs will be honored by the Histochemical Society in April for her own seminal work in the development of immunohistochemistry. She will be presented the society’s most prestigious honor, the Gomori Award, and will deliver a talk at the Histochemical Society Symposium at the interdisciplinary Experimental Biology 2019 meeting in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Childs began her research in the immunohistochemistry field as a graduate student in the early 1970s and continued this focus through the 1990s. Way to go Dr. Childs!


Guest of Honor
Congratulations to Dr. James Y. Suen, Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, who was the Guest of Honor at the 3rd Congress of Asia-Pacific Society of Thyroid Surgery in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, last month. Long recognized as an international leader in head and neck surgery, Dr. Suen presented two talks: “What’s New in the Treatment of Thyroid Cancer” and “Management of Hypocalcemia after Total Thyroidectomy.”


It’s His Nature
It’s safe to say that Chase Ransom, an M.D./Ph.D. program student now in his third year of medical school, rarely slows down. Prolific during his graduate school years, his latest publishing feat was a first-author article in Nature. The article, which has broad implications for future stem cell therapeutics and technologies, was written while he was a pre-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Michael T. Longaker at Stanford University. Great job, Chase! This is just one example of the caliber of students in our M.D./Ph.D. program, which is superbly directed by Dr. Sara Shalin, Associate Professor of Pathology. I’ll also note that M.D./Ph.D. student Bradley Shields altruistically shared this shout-out about his classmate. Thank you!


Geriatrics-Focused Student Scholar
Congratulations to third-year COM student Taylor Bennett on her selection for the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC) Student Scholars Program. With funding from a Health Resources and Services (HRSA) grant, the Department of Geriatrics program is dedicated to increasing UAMS students’ interest and knowledge about older adults and the specialized care they need. Taylor and three students from other colleges will work together with the AGEC Director, Assistant Professor Dr. Robin McAtee. The students will participate in academic and community geriatrics-related activities this semester as well as develop and deliver a presentation about a current geriatric issue and how an interprofessional team is best equipped to address it. Taylor is on her way to becoming an outstanding and compassionate physician, and Dr. Sara Tariq and I were proud to support her AGEC application.


Helping the Most Vulnerable
Dr. Lorraine McKelvey, Associate Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine, has earned national praise for her research into the effects of adverse childhood experiences on child development. Her work has focused on two-generation family supports such as home visiting and quality early childhood education. Most recently, Dr. McKelvey was honored with the Best Abstract Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Child Abuse and Neglect for “Interrelatedness of Adverse Childhood Experiences: Exploring Patterns of Exposure and Impacts on Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood.” Congratulations Dr. McKelvey, and thank you for your dedication to helping these children.

Hip Research Honored
Dr. Jeffrey Stambough
, Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, recently returned from the Current Concepts in Joint Replacement (CCJR) Winter Meeting in Orlando, Florida, where he delivered a talk and was honored as the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF)/CCJR Clinical Practice Award winner. Dr. Stambough discussed research into the long-term outcomes for patients younger than 50 who underwent total hip arthroplasty with either conventional polyethylene or highly cross-linked polyethylene bearings, the latter of which were found to be an effective solution. His work will be published in Orthopaedics Today in February. Dr. Stambough discusses the findings in this video, and you can read more, from an associated study, here. Great job Dr. Stambough!


Immunization Champion
Congratulations to Dr. Robert Hopkins, Professor and Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine, on his latest honor – receiving the 2018 Outstanding Adult Immunization Champion award from ImmunizeAR, a non-profit organization working to improve vaccination rates for Arkansans. Read more here.


National Appointment
Congratulations to Dr. Spyridoula Maraka, Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology, on her appointment to the Hormone Health Network Committee of the Endocrine Society, the largest organization of endocrinology professionals. During her three-year term, Dr. Maraka’s activities will include identifying priority areas for patient/public education about hormones and health as well as endocrine-related diseases.

In Case You Missed It
If you’re looking for a lift, read some of the recent stories about the outstanding care available uniquely at UAMS and the patients whose lives were changed for the better thanks to College of Medicine faculty and their clinical teammates. Here are just a few:

The UAMS Level 1 Trauma Center, led by Professor and Trauma Medical Director Dr. Ron Robertson, was featured in the Democrat-Gazette on Dec. 31. As Trauma Program Director Terry Collins says in the story, “It’s a calling, not a job.” You can read the story here (PDF).

Here’s a UAMS web story about how, after years of hearing “no” to her plight elsewhere, a teen with arteriovenous malformation found hope and transformative care from Dr. James Suen. Her family was referred to Dr. Suen and UAMS by doctors at Harvard.

And finally, this UAMS feature tells how Dr. David Warner, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, saved the vision of Dr. Whit Hall, Professor of Neonatology, allowing him to continue his outstanding and compassionate work in the UAMS NICU.


December 19, 2018

An Accolade for You
Each week, Accolades shares the names of a handful of colleagues who have earned the spotlight for their recent honors and/or going above and beyond for those we serve through our education, research and clinical programs. However, my first accolade this week goes out to all of you. Thank you for your hard work throughout the year. Thank you for sharing your expertise, insights and energy. Thank you for being a part of the College of Medicine.

I wish you and your family the very best of holidays and look forward to working with you in 2019!


Shout-outs from Students
I continue to ask students about their best experiences in medical school so far during my weekly breakfasts with first- and second-year students. One of the nicest things I heard this week was that our educators care about how students are doing and check their understanding of the material. What else do students appreciate? When faculty members are “engaging,” “relatable,” “kind” and make it a point to remember each student’s name.  Students notice when lectures in basic science modules are “clinically relevant,” and they appreciate accessible faculty with regular office hours.

The following faculty members were noted by M2s during at least one of the past two breakfasts: Drs. Jason Chang, David Davies, Kevin Phelan, Laura Stanley and Mohsin Syed in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences; Drs. Ryan Dare, Robert Hopkins and Issam Makhoul in Internal Medicine; Drs. Murat Gokden and Matt Quick in Pathology; Drs. Elijah Bolin and Joshua Kennedy in Pediatrics; Dr. Alan Diekman in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Dr. Neil Masangkay in Neurology; Dr. Sung Rhee in Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Dr. Gerardo Tamayo-Enriquez in Surgery.


Giving Matters
Dr. Mike Jennings, Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics, is widely known for his award-winning teaching and dedication to medical education. I would like to thank Dr. Jennings and his wife, Paula, for also supporting our students through their recent extremely generous gift for a new endowed scholarship. Scholarships are a vital tool for helping us recruit the most promising students. And by reducing the burden of educational debt, they enable deserving students to focus on what they came here to do. Thank you so much for your generosity, Mike and Paula.



Congratulations to Dr. Gregory Sharp, Professor and Chief of Pediatric Neurology, on his appointment as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Sharp has been a pillar in child neurology in Arkansas since he first joined our faculty and ACH in 1990. He brings an incredible amount of experience to his new role and will be an outstanding asset to the Arkansas Children’s executive leadership team as well as a great colleague for all of us on the College of Medicine faculty. Read more about Dr. Sharp here. I would also thank Dr. Jay Deshpande, whom Dr. Sharp is succeeding, for his wonderful service to ACH, our college and the children of our state. Thanks also to Dr. Rick Barr, who has served as Interim CMO since September.


ARA Fellow
Dr. Clint Kilts, Professor of Psychiatry and founding Director of the Brain Imaging Research Center, received the well-earned honor of being named an Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) Fellow last week. As Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson said at the news conference at the State Capitol, Dr. Kilts is taking cutting-edge technology into the community to address real-world problems such as drug abuse and prevention and much more. Read more here.


NIH Grant
Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Voth, Associate Professor of Microbiology/Immunology, on his new grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for “A Novel Human Lung Infection Platform to Define Staphylococcus Aureus Virulence Determinants” (9/1/18-8/31/2020, $220,278).


Regional Research
I’m pleased to share that Dr. Hakan Paydak, Professor of Internal Medicine, has been elected as a member of the Southern Society of Clinical Investigation. Dr. Paydak will be recognized at the SSCI’s Southern Regional Meeting in New Orleans in February. The SSCI is dedicated to advancing medically related research, with a major focus both on encouraging students and post-graduate trainees to enter academic medicine and to support junior faculty success in clinical investigation.


Collaborations Pay Off
COM faculty members are engaged in impressive and productive research with collaborators around the state, around the country and around the world. Here are just a few recent examples.

Congratulations to Dr. Kelly Mercer, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Hepatic Physiology Lab in the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, along with Associate Professor Dr. Laxmi Yeruva and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Haixia Lin, on their paper in the journal Nutrients. The team collaborated with coauthors at the University of Manitoba, Massey University in New Zealand and Enzymotec Ltd. in Israel on “Modulating Sterol Concentrations in Infant Formula Influences Cholesterol Absorption and Synthesis in the Neonatal Piglet.”

Congratulations also to Dr. Joseph Sanford, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, on the publication of his article, with collaborators at Stanford University, in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Read the article, “Incidence and Risk Factors for Postoperative Hyperthermia After Orthopaedic Surgery” here.

And way to go Dr. Jeffrey Wolchok on your recent $428,100 NIH grant to the University of Arkansas for research into an injectable gel to treat rotator cuff injuries in conjunction with surgery. Dr. Wolchok serves as an adjunct faculty member in our Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in addition to his post as Associate Professor in the UA Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Wolchok’s collaborators include the COM’s Dr. Shahryar Ahmadi, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. Read more about this innovative collaboration here.


On the Mayor’s Team
Last but certainly not least this week, a big congratulations to Dr. Sara Tariq, Professor of Internal Medicine and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education, on being named to the Board of Directors for the transition team of Little Rock Mayor-elect Frank Scott Jr. Dr. Tariq, who also serves as President of the Harmony Health Clinic, is one of 11 community leaders who will lead Mayor Scott’s “people-powered transition process.” As we know in the COM, the Mayor’s team and citizens of Little Rock are very fortunate to have Dr. Tariq onboard!


December 12, 2018

What a Party!
I hope everyone enjoyed the first annual UAMS-wide holiday celebration last week as much as I did. It would be difficult if not impossible to thank everyone who played a role by name, but I do want to commend Dr. Cam Patterson and Christina Clark of the Chancellor’s Office, Tonya Johnson of Nutrition Services, the House of Delegates and the Holiday Celebration Committee for doing such a wonderful job. We all know this was not easy to orchestrate or pull off. I also want to express my appreciation to all of you who volunteered your time as organizers, facilitators, servers, joyful carolers and more. Thank you!


JAMA Viewpoint
Congratulations to Dr. Billy Thomas, Professor of Pediatrics and UAMS Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, on having a Viewpoint article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that explores the hoped-for impacts of the emerging medical school free-tuition programs. The thoughtful opinion piece, published online last week, is even more significant since JAMA rarely focuses on educational issues outside of its annual supplement. Dr. Thomas suggests that pre-matriculation “pipeline” strategies and changes in medical school admissions processes may have a greater, more expedient impact on efforts to produce more primary care physicians and address disparities in health care and the physician workforce.


Breakfast of Champions
Last week I noted a few faculty members who had received shout-outs from students during a recent weekly breakfast with M1s and M2s. I always ask students about their best experience so far in medical school, and they frequently name specific faculty members. At the most recent breakfast, Dr. Sung Rhee, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, earned praise for being “engaged and going above and beyond.” Dr. Alan Diekman, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was described as “organized, available, and dedicated to making sure his students succeed.” Dr. Jason Chang, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, was cited for his for his “passion for teaching.” And once again, students were unanimous in their acclaim for Dr. Sara Tariq, Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education. You are all champions in education!


She’s Got Fans
Speaking of raves from students, M3s on the OB/GYN rotation have wonderful things to say about Clerkship Coordinator Denise Thomas. Students described the clerkship as very organized, well-structured and well-run. They also say Ms. Thomas is accessible and easy to talk with. Thank you for doing such a great job Denise!


State Leader
Congratulations to pediatric psychologist Dr. Amy Seay, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, on her upcoming term as President of the Arkansas Psychological Association (APA). Dr. Seay is housed both at Arkansas Children’s Northwest, where she provides behavioral health consultations and interprofessional care in the outpatient specialty clinics, and at the Schmieding Developmental Center, where she provides ongoing therapy for children with chronic health conditions and medical problems in addition to emotional and/or behavioral difficulties. Dr. Seay has been active in the APA for a number of years as a board member, legislative committee member and as President-Elect this past year.


Leadership Development Grads
Congratulations to the graduating class of the Physician Leadership Development Program at Arkansas Children’s. The year-long educational program provides young and mid-career physicians the tools, skills and confidence to become effective leaders, focusing on topics such as leadership, teamwork, communication, quality and more. The 2018 class includes physicians from numerous COM departments, divisions and ACH services, including: Drs. Amit Agarwal (Pediatrics/Pulmonology); Richard Blaszak (Pediatrics/Nephrology); Tamara Thomas Bradford (Pediatrics/CV Transplant); Sid Dassinger (Surgery/Gen. Pediatric); Gina Drobena (Pathology); Larry Hartzell (Otolaryngology); Matt Malone (Pediatrics/Critical Care); Jon Oden (Pediatrics/Endocrinology); Amy Rowell (Radiology); Laura Sisterhen (Pediatrics/Hospitalist); Esther Teo (Surgery/Burn Surgery); and Rob Williams (Chief Medical Officer, Arkansas Children’s Northwest).


Traveling Fellow
Dr. Paul Edwards, Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, has been selected as one of only four surgeons to serve as next year’s Insall Traveling Fellows, a program of the Knee Society that takes surgeons from around the world to specially selected institutions for lectures, observation of cases and other educational activities. The news comes on the heels of the department having the honor in October of hosting this year’s Insall Fellows. Congratulations Dr. Edwards!


December 5, 2018

Best of the Best – When it Really Counts
I know all of you join me in feeling a profound sense of gratitude for the many faculty physicians, residents and clinical staff and leaders at Arkansas Children’s and UAMS who cared for the children and adults injured in the tragic bus accident near Benton early Monday morning. As you probably have heard, one child was killed and at least 45 people were injured in the early morning crash of a charter bus that was returning to Memphis from a football tournament in Dallas. Twenty-six children were taken to ACH; four remained there in stable condition as of Tuesday. One adult patient remained at UAMS as of yesterday. I have heard wonderful reports of residents, faculty and other team members. Many thanks to everyone who participated in this outstanding care.


Marvelous Year for Musculoskeletal
Congratulations to Dr. Charles O’Brien and the interdisciplinary team of the NIH COBRE-funded Center for Musculoskeletal Disease Research (CMDR) on the fantastic External Advisory Committee (EAC) Report the center recently received. The EAC praised the program for making “substantial progress” in its first year of operation under the leadership of Dr. O’Brien, a Professor in the departments of Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery. As the EAC’s letter to UAMS stated, the CMDR is “an exciting program, supported by both the institution and a cadre of experienced investigators who can mentor the new investigators in the development of their careers. The CMDR is off to an outstanding start.” Well done!


Kudos, Faculty
I am greatly enjoying my regular breakfasts with first- and second-year medical students, and one of the delightful aspects is the great things they have to say about our faculty members. So many of you leave an indelible impression during the four years that our students spend with us. Just last Friday, for instance, when I asked the students about their best experience in medical school so far, a number of names popped up, including Drs. Sara Tariq, David Davies and Puru Thapa. This speaks volumes about your dedication to student education and wellbeing. I want to thank all faculty members for putting students first.


Impact and Inspiration
The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) had a lot to celebrate as it marked its 20th anniversary on Monday evening with awards, a welcome by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and a discussion of health care in Arkansas with Former Governors Mike Beebe and Mike Huckabee. UAMS is one of four core sponsors of ACHI, with many faculty members serving in advisory capacities and Chancellor Cam Patterson serving on the Administrative Committee. As many of you know, Dr. G. Richard Smith, Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and former COM Dean, was the Founding Director in 1998. Dr. Joe Thompson, a Professor of Pediatrics, also has been involved since ACHI’s beginning and has provided outstanding leadership as President and CEO since 2003.


Dr. Kent Westbrook, a Distinguished Professor of Surgery, was one of two Arkansans receiving the 2018 Dr. Tom Bruce Arkansas Health Impact Award during the ACHI celebration. Dr. Westbrook was recognized for his work to found the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, now the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, and for his career-long dedication to ensuring excellent cancer care for Arkansans. Congratulations Dr. Westbrook!


From East to West
The Department of Biomedical Informatics continues to keep UAMS well represented at major conferences focusing on cutting edge biotechnology across the country. Last week, Dr. Dave Ussery, a Professor in the department, presented a talk on “Big Data in Clinical Genomics” at the 2018 meeting of the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAC) in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Dr. Piroon Jenjaroenpun and Dr. Thidathip Wongsurawat, both postdocs, presented talks on third-generation sequencing at the annual Nanopore Conference in San Francisco.


The Power of Teamwork
A Morrilton toddler named Wesley Stacy is living a far better life thanks to the UAMS Living Donor Program, skilled transplant surgeons and Assistant Professors Dr. Gerardo Tamayo-Enriquez and Dr. Lyle Burdine, and the partnership of UAMS and Arkansas Children’s. Wesley needed a kidney transplant due to a congenital condition, posterior urethral valves. His mom, Stacy, was happy to donate one of her kidneys, and Dr. Tamayo was her surgeon at UAMS. Dr. Burdine performed the transplant on Wesley at ACH. You can read more about Wesley’s case here. This is a wonderful example of teamwork by many compassionate individuals.


Distinguished Lecturer
Dr. John Dornhoffer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, was this year’s speaker for the Ben Harlan Senturia Lecture Series at Washington University in St. Louis. He presented talks on ossicular chain reconstruction and his personal experiences with a cochlear implant. It’s not surprising that Dr. Dornhoffer, who is internationally known in the field, was selected for this prestigious honor. Here at UAMS, countless patients, students, residents and fellows have benefited from his surgical expertise, compassionate, empathetic care and dedication to teaching.


Pod Doc
Dr. Jason Mizell’s popular Business of Medicine course for COM students continues to draw national exposure for UAMS. A second national podcast by Dr. Mizell is slated to be released tomorrow (Dec. 6) on the White Coat Investor, where podcasts average 14,000 downloads each. In June, a podcast by Dr. Mizell, an Associate Professor of Surgery, was featured on Doctor Money Matters. Dr. Mizell’s second publication showing the educational benefits of the course will be published in January in the Journal of Medical Practice Management. Most physicians across the country enter practice with surprisingly little understanding of financial management. Thanks to Dr. Mizell’s award-winning educational initiatives, our students can get their careers off to a sounder financial start.


High-Impact Research
The Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, located at Arkansas Children’s, consistently generates a remarkable amount of high-impact research. Dr. Terry Pivik of the Department of Pediatrics and colleagues recently found that infant diet practices and a baby’s sex interact to help shape brain function and neuroplasticity very early, as measured longitudinally by EEG over the first 6 months of life. This could help explain why breast feeding is believed to improve cognitive function. Dr. Pivik’s article was published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology. In a different study, Dr. Xiang-Yang (George) Lou of the Department of Pediatrics presented a new statistical method for detecting interactions underlying complex ordinal phenotype traits – with findings that could facilitate development of more effective strategies for coronary heart disease. Dr. Lou’s article was published in Genetic Epidemiology. Dr. Xiawei Ou (Pediatrics and Radiology) and his collaborators explored through MRI how cesarean delivery impacts newborn brain development, finding that C-section significantly delays select white matter development in infants and toddlers. Dr. Ou’s paper was published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology. Thank you all for your impeccable work.


November 28, 2018

Setting the Foundation
The freshman Human Structure Module sets the foundation for everything to follow in medical school. Evaluations from students who just completed the course reflect the dedication and outstanding work  of Module Director Dr. David Davies, Clinical Co-Director Dr. Sharp Malak and all of the module’s faculty members. More than 94% of the 160 students who completed evaluations agreed or strongly agreed that the course was “outstanding.” In each of the six areas of the evaluation – organization, clarity about goals, testing, materials, content and overall assessment – the score exceeded 4.5 on the 5-point Likert scale. Many thanks to the faculty members and departments involved in this module, including integral participants from Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, Pathology and Radiology.


Foundational Achievement
Speaking of a strong foundation, first-year student Jake Allison was recently selected to receive the Lawrence E. Scheving Award by the folks in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences for obtaining the highest numerical grade in the Human Structure Module. As many of you know, the award is named after the late Dr. Scheving to honor his research career and 20 years of service to UAMS as the first Rebsamen Professor of Anatomical Sciences and Director of Gross Anatomy for 15 years until his retirement in 1990. Congratulations Jake!


Quality First
Congratulations and profound thanks are in order for Dr. Ron Robertson, Professor and Chief of the Division of Trauma, Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery, and the entire UAMS Trauma Team. The team recently received Total Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) data that places UAMS in the top 10-20% of all Level 1 trauma centers in the country. We are in the top 1% for positive data relating to ventilator-associated pneumonia. Dr. Robertson and his colleagues are exceptionally focused on quality improvement and ensuring the very best trauma care for Arkansans – and this latest data proves it. Very well done!


No Small Peanuts
The phenomenal work of Pediatrics Professor Dr. Stacie Jones into a promising experimental treatment for children with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts is drawing national and statewide media attention. Dr. Jones is a coauthor of a study published in the Nov. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Check out this CNN story about the study and how it provides new hope for patients like 10-year-old Arkansan Ellis Glover. Dr. Jones was also featured in a page 1 Thanksgiving Day story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Great job Dr. Jones!


Ensuring Clarity
Christopher Trudeau, J.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics and the UAMS Center for Health Literacy, will bring his nationally recognized advocacy for plain language in law, health care, government and business communications to his new role on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee. Clear, effective communication about the risks and benefits of FDA-regulated products is essential, and Dr. Trudeau will be a strong asset on this panel, as he is here at UAMS. You can read more about his appointment here.


Putting us on the Map
Dr. Vladimir Lupashin, a Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, joined two Nobel Prize winners, several National Academy of Sciences members and faculty from some of the world’s most prestigious universities when giving an invited presentation in Italy recently. His talk at the Federation of European Biochemical Societies 2018 Golgi Meeting: Membrane Trafficking in Cell Organization and Homeostasis reflects Dr. Lupashin’s stature in the field and helps to put UAMS on the map. Congratulations Dr. Lupashin!


Inspiring Girls
Forty girls from high schools around Arkansas were the latest to benefit from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s longstanding dedication to the national nonprofit Perry Initiative. The annual hands-on workshop inspires young women to pursue careers in orthopaedic surgery and engineering by letting them try techniques such as suturing and setting fractures – and introducing them to outstanding female orthopaedists, residents and other team members. Leading the way on Nov. 2-3 were Dr. Theresa Wyrick and Dr. Ruth Thomas; resident Drs. Maggie Wilson, Kasa Cooper and Sophie Hollenberg; postdoctoral fellow Dr. Anna Severin and UAMS scrub tech Andrea Rhea. Way to go!


What PhUn!
Almost three dozen Little Rock Central High School students were on campus recently for PhUn Day, an outreach program of the American Physiological Society that is hosted locally by the UAMS Center for Diversity Affairs and the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Dr. Parimal Chowdhury, a Professor in the department, has organized the UAMS event for many years, helping students understand real-world applications of scientific concepts they’ve learned about in school. Thank you, Dr. Chowdhury and all of the faculty members who made this program possible.


Clear Vision
Second-year medical student John Musser knows that many children “fall through the cracks” and don’t receive treatment even after severe vision problems have been revealed through school screenings. He is focused on helping as many people as possible through Rural Ophthalmology Optometry Treatment and Screening, or ROOTS, the non-profit organization he founded to provide outreach and vision care in partnership with many others. John recently received the Community Partner Student Award at the UAMS Translational Research Institute’s Community Partner Celebration. Here’s a March 2018 UAMS web story about how ROOTs got off the ground with the help of mentors including the Department of Ophthalmology’s Dr. Katie Brown and Dr. Sami Uwaydat. Congratulations on this well-earned honor, John!


Harvard Lecture
Dr. Brendan C. Stack Jr.
, a Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, was an invited lecturer and panelist at the Harvard Medical School continuing medical education course, “Surgery for the Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands,” the preeminent international course in the field, in Boston earlier this month. He presented “A Review of the AHNS/BAETS Revision Parathyroid Guidelines,” which was published in the journal Head and Neck in August with Dr. Stack as the lead author.


Stepping Up
I want to thank three colleagues who’ve done so much for the College of Medicine, Integrated Clinical Enterprise and Chancellor’s Office, for now agreeing to serve as Interim Senior Vice Chancellors with the retirement of Bill Bowes in December. As many of you read in Chancellor Cam Patterson’s Nov. 16 announcement, Jake Stover, Associate Dean for Finance and CFO for the College of Medicine, and Amanda George, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Finance and CFO for ICE, will serve as Interim Senior Vice Chancellors for Finance. Christina Clark, Dr. Patterson’s Chief of Staff, will serve as Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Campus Operations and Information Technology. These are vital positions for our campus, and UAMS is in great hands with these finance and administrative leaders.


November 14, 2018

Translation Sensation
Dr. Aime Franco, an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, served as an invited faculty member at an American Association of Cancer Research workshop held in Boston last week for basic scientists pursuing training in order to transition into translational cancer research. Dr. Franco served on a panel discussion, “From Bench to Bedside: How to Translate Basic Science Study to the Clinic.” She also held “office hours” for participants, providing scientific and career development mentoring, and worked with small groups of trainees to help them design novel approaches for moving their basic science research to translational studies.


Helping the Heartland
A recent summit to find creative solutions to some of the biggest problems facing the nation’s central states, including the opioid epidemic, benefited from the expertise of Dr. Teresa Hudson, Associate Professor and Director of the Department of Psychiatry’s Division of Health Services Research. The Oct. 18-21 Heartland Summit in Bentonville, sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation, brought together some of the country’s business and academic leaders and other top minds. Read more in the COM Newsroom.


Community Research Matters
Two exemplary, award-winning COM staff members recently received federally funded grants that will help them continue their community outreach and research. Beverly Miller, Associate Director of the Injury Prevention Center in the Department of Pediatrics, received the Staff Excellence Award in Research at Dean’s Honor Day in 2016 for her work to substantially reduce deaths in children from unintentional injuries. LaTunja Sockwell earned the same award in 2017 for her work in HIV/Aids education and research in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine’s Division of Research and Evaluation, where she is the Research and Data Coordinator and administrative lead. Their new grants are:

Beverly Miller, M.Ed.
Child Passenger Safety Education, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (10/01/2018 – 09/30/2019), $342,844. Pass through from Arkansas State Police.
AR Drive Smart Challenge/Battle of the Belt, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (10/01/2018 – 09/30/2019), $171,038. Pass through from Arkansas State Police.

LaTunja Sockwell, B.A.
HIV Intervention Services, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, (10/01/2018 – 12/31/2019), $40,000.


November 7, 2018

Champion for Children
Dr. Eddie Ochoa
, Associate Professor and Chief of the Community Pediatrics Section in the Department of Pediatrics, was honored by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families last week for his dedication to making Arkansas a better place to be a child. Dr. Ochoa was recognized at the Friends of Children Award luncheon for his impact on child health, reach into Spanish-speaking communities, work to address child health disparities and much more. Thank you for making a difference for so many children and for inspiring all of us Dr. Ochoa!


Advancing Family Medicine
Congratulations to Dr. Scott Dickson, Assistant Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine and Residency Program Director at the UAMS Northeast Regional Campus in Jonesboro, on being named President of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Physicians. Dr. Dickson’s installation is featured in the fall issue of the Arkansas Family Physician. Thank you for your dedication and ongoing service to Arkansas as well as UAMS, Dr. Dickson!


When Every Hour Counts
A presentation by Dr. Ryan Dare, Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, at the recent IDWeek Conference in San Francisco shined the spotlight on UAMS’ success in shortening laboratory turnaround times and improving clinical outcomes in patients with life-threatening bloodstream infections. His presentation was featured in Contagion. UAMS became one of the first in the world to implement the FDA-approved Accelerate Pheno™ blood culture detection system last year, under the leadership of Dr. Eric Rosenbaum, an Associate Professor of Pathology and Medical Director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. Kudos to everyone involved in this world-class advance at UAMS.


Thyroid Leaders
We can be proud that two College of Medicine faculty members from different disciplines will serve on a task force convened by the American Thyroid Association (ATA) to select the next Editor-in-Chief of Thyroid, which has the highest impact score of any endocrine journal, 7.55. Dr. Brendan Stack Jr., a Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, chairs the ATA’s Publications Committee and the 13-member task force. The ATA also invited Dr. Spyridoula Maraka, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine Division of Endocrinology, to serve on the panel. The organization will be well served by these thyroid experts from UAMS.


Heart Smart
Congratulations to Dr. Jay Mehta, a Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, and Dr. Hakan Paydak, a Professor of Medicine, who were honored at the XinAn Cardiovascular International Conference organized by Anhui University in Hefei, China. Dr. Mehta was awarded a Distinguished Professorship at the Oct. 26-28 conference and presented a lecture on the future of cardiovascular medicine. Dr. Paydak was awarded the title of Visiting Professor and presented a lecture on atrial fibrillation and heart failure.


Global Education
Education is a powerful way to bring people from around the world together. I am always impressed with the educational work that takes our faculty around the globe and brings learners from faraway lands to our campus.

I recently heard about a trip that Orthopaedic Surgery Chair Dr. Lowry Barnes made with Assistant Professor Dr. Rob Garrison, Chief Resident Dr. Chelsea Mathews, and Physician Assistant Sara Foster to Kigali, Rwanda, in August. The trip, organized through the Global Health Initiatives of Centura, helped Dr. Barnes and his team understand the challenges of providing orthopaedic care and education in the east-central African country. UAMS could eventually host an away rotation for Rwandan orthopaedic residents. The department is currently hosting an international research fellow from Japan. Dr. Ryota Katsumi, Physician-in-Chief in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Niigata Medical Center, will focus on research into lower extremity alignment and advanced imaging technology during his 18 months at UAMS. Welcome to Arkansas Dr. Katsumi!

Meanwhile, Dr. Stavros Manolagas, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Director of the UAMS/VA Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases, just returned from Naples, Italy, where he delivered two invited lectures at the annual meeting of the Italian Society for Osteoporosis, Mineral Metabolism, and Diseases of the Skeleton. While there, he also served as one of three representatives of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research to advise Italian clinical and basic research fellows, to enhance the depth and relevance of their work.

These are just a few examples of how UAMS is well represented in global medical and biomedical sciences education!


Captive Audiences
Speaking of global education, tomorrow is International Day of Radiology. Have you heard about the imaginative “escape room” created by Radiology Residency Director Dr. Kedar Jambhekar, fifth-year resident Dr. Rachel Pahls and Medical Education Director Dr. Linda Deloney? The educational game for radiology residents has drawn national attention, and Dr. Jambhekar and Dr. Pahls are gearing up to present their escape room at the Radiology Society of North America meeting in Chicago later this month. Every spot in the Chicago sessions was booked within 16 hours, and the team has been asked to present the escape room again at the Association of University Radiologists next spring. Click here to read more about this wickedly creative educational initiative.


Call it a Win
Hooray for the Arkansas Aquaporins, the team of second-year UAMS Nephrology residents who truly gave it their all in the recent “Fit Bowl,” a Jeopardy-like quiz competition at the American Society of Nephrology meeting in San Diego. UAMS won the tournament in 2016, the last year the program competed, but this year’s field of competitors was larger and tougher. Fellowship Director Dr. Nithin Karakala proudly reports that Drs. Mohamed Ahmed, Nadia Alqurini, Praveen Errabelli and Ramakrishna Thotakura held nothing back in their rapid-fire answering of questions. The Aquaporins soundly defeated Baylor in the first round and clinched victory over Yale in the semifinals. In the final battle, UAMS swapped the lead with a team from Boston Mass General and Brigham and Women’s – one of the nation’s top nephrology programs – a number of times. Boston came out on top in the end – but as Dr. Karakala said, what these four fellows accomplished was extraordinary.


Giving Matters
Finally this week, I want to thank everyone who contributed to College of Medicine scholarships and other initiatives during the second annual Day of Giving last month. With your help, we raised $181,000 – and earned a $5,000 bonus for scholarships for having the largest number of gifts among all UAMS colleges and other units! We raised more than twice as much as we did last year. I want you to know how much I appreciate your generosity, and all that you do day in and day out for the College of Medicine.


October 31, 2018

Affirmative Insights
Some of you may have had the opportunity to read the invited commentary by Dr. Billy Thomas, Professor of Pediatrics and UAMS Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, and Nancy Dockter, M.P.H., who retired from the Center for Health Literacy last year and was previously with the College of Public Health, in the prestigious journal Academic Medicine. Their article, “Affirmative Action and Holistic Review in Medical School Admissions: Where We Have Been and Where We are Going,” was highlighted at the top of Academic Medicines AM Express last week. Here is a link to their insightful commentary.


Lifetime Achievement
Dr. Parimal Chowdhury, a Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Society for the Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases’ annual conference in Izmir, Turkey, earlier this month. Dr. Chowdhury served as the organization’s President in 2006-2008 and is currently the American Regional Director as well as an Associate Editor of the journal Tobacco Induced Diseases. Thank you for career-long dedication to the prevention and control of tobacco use, Dr. Chowdhury!


Pathology Powerhouses
Congratulations to Drs. Jerad Gardner and Jennifer Laudadio, Associate Professors in the Department of Pathology, who received honors at the annual meeting of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) in Chicago on Oct. 21. Dr. Laudadio was presented the Pathology Advancement Award for her national work in pathology education, extensive service to CAP and other organizations, and her work in pathology and education at UAMS. Dr. Gardner received the Outstanding Communicator Award for his groundbreaking use of social media in medical education. Dr. Gardner was also recently named to The Pathologist Power List 2018, which highlights “100 of the best, brightest and most powerful advocates of pathology.” He has made the list each year since its inception in 2015.


Capitol Docs
UAMS will be well represented at the Arkansas Legislature during the 2019 session thanks to COM faculty members. Dr. Lowry Barnes and all 24 physicians of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery have already signed up for the Arkansas Medical Society’s “Doctor of the Day” program, as have several faculty members from other departments including Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Surgery. The program is a great opportunity to connect with legislators while volunteering in the Capitol Infirmary for a day during the session, which runs from January to mid-April. Physicians are able to attend legislative committee meetings and enjoy floor privileges in the House and Senate. It would be wonderful to have even more of you participate if you can! Learn more here.


Author Author!
Dr. Brendan Stack Jr., a Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, was a co-author on one of the 20 most downloaded articles published between July 2016 and June 2018 in Head & Neck: Journal of the Sciences and Specialties of the Head and the Neck. The article, “Indications and extent of central neck dissection for papillary thyroid cancer: an American Head and Neck Society Consensus Statement,” is available here. I’d also like to congratulate Dr. Stack and Otolaryngology colleague Dr. Mauricio Moreno on the publication of their new book, “Neck Dissection,” which debuted last week at the American Academy of Otolaryngology annual meeting and expo in Atlanta.


OB-served Internationally
An article by Dr. Everett “Pat” Magann, a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was recently recognized by an international journal as one of its most downloaded articles published between 2016-2017. Dr. Magann’s article, “Use of antenatal corticosteroids in special circumstances: a comprehensive review,” in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, was one of the journal’s 20 most downloaded papers. You can read it here. Congratulations Dr. Magann!


Service Heroes
Last but not least, a very special thank you to the College of Medicine faculty and staff being honored this week for their many years of service to UAMS. Dr. Robert Burns, a Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, researcher and renowned educator, has been here the longest among this year’s honorees, an astounding 50 years!

Dr. Robert Arrington, a Professor of Pediatrics and longtime leader in neonatology in Arkansas, comes in at 45 years. UAMS has had the good fortune for the past 40 years to have Rebecca Bryant, the Student Clerkship Coordinator in the Department of Surgery, and Dr. Edgar Garcia-Rill, a Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences and founding Director of the high-impact Center for Translational Neurosciences.

UAMS employees with 20-plus years of service were honored at a celebration yesterday (Oct. 30) and employees who have reached 5, 10 or 15 years of service will be honored tomorrow (Nov. 1). Click here to learn more about these dedicated UAMS team members and see who else has reached milestones of service. Congratulations to all of you!

October 24, 2018

Great Job, Academic Affairs Team
We received excellent news from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) last week, and I want to thank our Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, Dr. James Graham, who spearheads our LCME efforts, along with the entire Academic Affairs Team.

You may recall that our last LCME site visit resulted in full, eight-year accreditation in 2015 with follow-up reporting required on only a couple of issues pertaining to one of the 12 standards. We have now satisfied the LCME’s concern relating to one of those issues, our ability to ensure that any physician who provides clinical care for a student is not involved in that student’s academic assessment. We also learned that we remain in compliance, although continued monitoring is needed, on measures relating to student educational debt and providing our students with appropriate financial aid services including debt management counseling. We will continue to work in this area and to survey our students about their satisfaction with these services, for an interim report to the LCME next August.

When Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Richard Wheeler shared this good news with me, he emphasized Dr. Graham’s dedication and meticulous attention to every aspect of LCME reporting. And he noted that it does indeed “take a village” to ensure successful LCME accreditation. Thank you all.


Raising the Bar
The UAMS stroke team and Emergency Medicine Department set the bar for door to-needle (DTN) time in July by achieving DTN times of less than 45 minutes for all patients – and that was just the beginning. The accomplishment surpassed the new, more aggressive guidelines released this year by the American Heart Association, which established a primary goal of achieving DTN times within 60 minutes in 75 percent or more of acute ischemic stroke patients who are treated with IV tPA, and a secondary goal of DTN times within 45 minutes for 50 percent or more of acute ischemic stroke patients treated with IV tPA. The most recent data shows that UAMS did even better in August, with an average DTN time of 32.8 minutes.

This is more than impressive data. It means saving lives and improving the post-stroke quality of life for Arkansans. Great job!


It’s Chemistry
Shout-out to Dr. Grover Miller, a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, for his vision, creativity and hard work in planning “the Natural State of Chemistry,” the 74th Southwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The meeting will be held in Little Rock Nov. 7-12 with a comprehensive technical program highlighting the collaborative and creative nature of chemical research in the region. Dr. Miller will chair the first regional session of the ACS Division of Chemical Toxicology.


Way to Go, Oto
It’s wonderful to hear about the national recognition that the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery continues to receive. Two presentations by Department Chair Dr. John Dornhoffer at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s annual meeting this month were selected as “Top Picks” from among more than 500 sessions to be captured as an Annual Meeting Webcast – CME Session. Dr. James Suen’s new book, Diagnosis and Management of Head and Face Pain – A Practical Approach, has just been published by Springer. And Dr. Alissa Kanaan has been appointed to a three-year term on the American Rhinologic Society’s International Committee.


Global Tech
Dr. Saeedah Asaf, an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, invested her own money and worked with programmers to develop a low-cost technology solution for capturing Lancet Commission for Global Surgery goals for surgical volume and outcomes. Her “Anesthesia log app” can be downloaded for free from the android Play Store. This month, she won third place at the American Society of Anesthesiologists Scientific/Educational Exhibit in San Francisco for “Use your Cell Phone: Collect and Analyze Perioperative Data in a Resource Poor Setting.” Congratulations Dr. Asaf!


Three and Counting
For the third consecutive year, Dr. Lowry Barnes and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery hosted the Insall Traveling Fellowship, a program of the Knee Society that brings orthopaedic surgeons from around the world to specially selected programs. The four visitors observed surgical cases performed by Drs. Barnes, Paul Edwards, Simon Mears and Jeffrey Stambough in addition to lecturing and participating in an educational conference during their Oct. 13-17 visit. Host institutions are chosen based on evaluations by past fellows – which is a real testament to the high caliber of Dr. Barnes and his team.


Eye Spy a Winner!
A 30-member team of runners, walkers and virtual runners from the Department of Ophthalmology and Jones Eye Institute was the top fundraiser at the Angel One 5K/10K last Saturday at Two Rivers Park. Team Ophthalmology, headed by Dr. Joe Chacko, raised $1,700 for Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s flight team. In addition to transporting more than 2,000 children to Arkansas Children’s for life-saving care each year, the Angel One helicopter crew raises funds for gas cards and other necessities for the families they serve. This was the third year for Dr. Chacko’s team to run in the event. Hats off to all of the UAMS and ACH teams and participants of events that are held for great causes!


October 17, 2018

Stroke of Innovation
The Department of Neurology and its partners are getting well-earned attention for the remarkable innovations of the UAMS Center for Distance Health’s telestroke program, Arkansas Stroke Assistance through Virtual Emergency Support (AR SAVES). The program links 55 rural emergency departments with UAMS vascular neurologists to provide life-saving treatments for stroke patients. Now, AR SAVES has launched a pilot study with an ambulance service in El Dorado to put telemedicine equipment in an ambulance to provide expert care even more quickly. AR SAVES Medical Director Dr. Sanjeeva Reddy Onteddu and AR SAVES Director C. Renee Joiner, RN, BSN, did an outstanding job in this THV 11 story. You can also read about the program in the UAMS Newsroom.


App for That
Stroke researcher and AR SAVES Program Evaluator Dr. Aliza Brown also deserves a shout-out for her work, most recently, to develop two free smartphone apps designed to improve the care that stroke patients receive from 911 responders. The ‘WeTrain911’ educational app focuses on 911 dispatcher training, and ‘iClick911’ is for consumers, to improve emergency response to their physical location. Dr. Brown credits support from the Center for Translational Neurosciences, an IDeA program NIH grant and mentors Dr. Edgar Garcia-Rill and Dr. Whit Hall. Read more about Dr. Brown’s work and the apps on her CTN lab page.


Impressive Informatics
Congratulations to Dr. Fred Prior, Chair of Biomedical Informatics, on several recent accomplishments, including the five-year renewal of the contract, with Dr. Prior as Principal Investigator, for extension and maintenance of the NIH-supported Cancer Imaging Archive (Leidos Biomedical Research, Contract 16X011 for NCI, current year budget $1,486,987). Dr. Prior is also PI of a new grant (NCI 3U24CA215109-02S1, Informatics Platform for Cancer-Related Cognitive Impairment and Dementia Research, $375,000 Total Award, 08/01/2018 – 07/31/2019). He also just returned from France, where he presented the keynote address at the International Cancer Imaging Society’s Annual Teaching Course.


Kudos to Student Applicant Interview Volunteers!
Almost 50 faculty members, a few residents and many medical students will be on campus this Saturday for the first applicant interviews session of the year. Some 120 applicants for our next freshman class will be interviewed on Saturday, and volunteers are critical. I want to personally thank all of you who have signed up, along with our dedicated Admissions team: Tom South, Dr. Jeanne McLachlin, and Tammy Henson. I also want to encourage faculty and house staff to volunteer for the remaining interview days, November 17 and January 12. You really are needed! Please contact Tom for more information.


Exemplary Service
You’ve probably heard that three of our Chairs have decided to retire or step down from their department leadership posts by the end of 2019. It isn’t time to say “farewell” yet, thankfully, but I do want to take a moment to express my gratitude for the exemplary service of Dr. Michael Jennings, Dr. James McDonald and Dr. Kevin Young. Here are a few notes about the careers of these leaders, from the announcement that Chancellor Patterson and I sent to all of you last Friday:

Dr. McDonald, Chair of the Department of Radiology, plans to retire August 31, 2019. James holds the Ernest J. Ferris, M.D., Chair in Diagnostic Radiology. He joined UAMS fulltime in 2010 after spending 28 years in private practice and has served as chair since 2016. He has directed the Nuclear Medicine Residency Program since 2012 and serves as both director and medical director of the Imaging Service Line.

Dr. Jennings, Chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, plans to step down as Department Chair but will continue to be Course Director of the M2 Pulmonary Module as well as teach several graduate courses. Mike has earned accolades as a faculty leader, widely recognized researcher into the mechanisms of ion transport, and award-winning educator since joining the faculty as Professor and Chair of the department in 1995. He served as our college’s inaugural Executive Associate Dean for Basic Sciences from 2014-2016 until the position was eliminated. He helps departments advance their research and education programs and find opportunities for collaboration.

Dr. Young, Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, plans to retire July 31, 2019. Kevin has served as a Professor in the department since 2009. He has received more than $6.4 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health for his innovative research into bacterial cell walls, which could lead to new classes of antibiotics. Over the course of his career both at UAMS and before, his total research funding has totaled more than $12 million.


October 10, 2018

Good Shot at Prevention
Dr. Jose Romero, Chief of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Section in the Department of Pediatrics, has been named to a three-year term as Chair of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) to the Centers for Disease Control. The ACIP is a federally chartered committee charged with making immunization recommendations for every man, woman and child in the United States.


New Hope for Castleman patients
Dr. Frits van Rhee, an internationally recognized expert on Castleman disease, was the lead author on a paper that for the first time establishes treatment guidelines for patients with a severe form of the disease, idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease. Dr. van Rhee’s paper was published online in the Sept. 4 issue of Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology.


Taking Brain Surgery to New Heights
Dr. J.D. Day, Chair of Neurosurgery, and Dr. Indranil “Neil” Chakraborty, Director of Neuroanesthesiology, have teamed up for awake craniotomies since 2015, with a 100 percent success rate.  In what may have been a first nationwide, they recently performed brain surgery on a patient who talked with his family via Facetime during the procedure, providing his loved ones with comfort and reassurance that all was going well. What an extraordinary example of enhancing patient- and family-centered care with technology and innovation!


Work-Life Insights
Professional and personal development go hand in hand in academic medicine, and Dr. Spyridoula Maraka of the Division of Endocrinology recently lent her insights on a national panel. Dr. Maraka was one of three invited panelists for the American Thyroid Association (ATA) Women in Thyroidology program, “Transitions – Making Critical Work and Life Decisions,” during the ATA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4.


On the Forefront
Congratulations to Drs. Robert Griffin and José Peñagarícano of the Department of Radiation Oncology, who were among the national experts invited to speak at a recent workshop, co-hosted by the National Cancer Institute and the Radiosurgery Society, on innovative techniques for improving outcomes in locally advanced tumors. The Aug. 21 workshop at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, focused on techniques such as high-dose, ultra-dose-rate and spatial fractionated radiotherapy.


Advancing Telehealth
Dr. Curtis Lowery, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and founder of the UAMS Center for Distance Health, has been appointed to the Association of American Medical Colleges’ newly established Advisory Committee on Telehealth. The panel is AAMC’s inaugural sustained effort at engaging in telehealth in academic medicine. Dr. Lowery, long recognized as a national leader in telehealth, will serve a two-year term.


 Rocked it at Table Rock
Third-year ophthalmology resident Dr. John Chancellor brought home first-place honors from the Table Rock Regional Roundup, the culmination of a four-state regional contest for ophthalmology resident research. Dr. Chancellor was one of five finalists at the event in Ridgedale, Missouri. He presented his study, “Comparison of the Cytotoxicity, Bacteriostatic Effects and Ability to Seal Corneal Wounds among Several Different Tissue Adhesives.”


Thank you, Dr. Beneš
Best wishes to Dr. Helen Beneš in her retirement after 32 years of service to the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, UAMS and Arkansas. As a highly respected researcher and Associate Director for the Arkansas INBRE program, Dr. Beneš has led many initiatives to promote biomedical research across the state and to develop mentored research opportunities for students from Arkansas’ undergraduate institutions. (Everyone is welcome to join in a reception for Dr. Beneš next Tuesday, Oct. 16, 3:30-5:00 in the Hamlen Board Room, 12th floor, Stephens Spine Institute. Please RSVP to


Way to Go Ortho
We’re hearing lots of good news from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery lately. Dr. David Bumpass was selected to the inaugural “20 under 40” class of up and coming surgeons by SpineLine, the publication of the North American Spine Society.  Dr. Bumpass and Dr. Steven Cherney received both of the annual funded traveling fellowships awarded by the Mid-America Orthopaedic Association (MAOA). Dr. Cherney is headed for Case Western and the University of Missouri, and Dr. Bumpass will travel to the Mayo Clinic and other centers. Department Chair Dr. Lowry Barnes just completed his term as President of the MAOA and remains on the Board of Directors. Dr. Erin Mannen continues to receive diverse internal and external grants for her work in infant biomechanics (including one below listed among recent grants).


Research Matters

Congratulations to College of Medicine faculty and staff who recently received new extramural grants. The breadth of research by our colleagues and the impact it will have on Arkansans and patients beyond our state is phenomenal. Projects are targeting disease and significant health challenges across the age spectrum, including obesity in the Delta and across the state, fetal alcohol syndrome, neurodegeneration and aging, and much more.

The following list, courtesy of the Office of Executive Associate Dean for Research, includes new extramural grants with award start dates in September (excluding industry trials and awards under $10,000).

Karen Abbott, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Novel platform linking cancer-specific glycosylation with cell signaling outcomes, NIH/Nat. Cancer Institute (09/12/2018 – 08/31/2021), $604,208.

Paul Drew, Ph.D., Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, Neuroinflammation: Role in FASD Cognitive Deficits, NIH/Nat. Inst. on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (09/01/2018 – 08/31/2023), $1,906,001.

Alysia Dubriske, M.Ed., CHES, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Mission Expedition: University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s State Physical Activity and Nutrition and Project, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (09/30/2018 – 09/29/2023), $3,290,835.

Larry Johnson, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Cystic Fibrosis Care Center Mental Health Coordinator, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (09/01/2018 – 08/31/2021), $161,637.

Angus MacNicol, Ph.D., Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, Control of pituitary cell plasticity through regulated mRNA translation, NIH/Nat. Inst. of Child Health & Human Development (09/01/2018 – 06/30/2023), $3,152,134.

Cynthia Kane, Ph.D., Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, Dynamic neuroimmune interactions in the onset and progression of FASD, NIH/Nat. Inst. on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (09/01/2018 – 06/30/2023), $2,264,825.

Erin Mannen, Ph.D., Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Biomechanical Evaluation of Infants in Inclined Sleep Products, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (09/18/2018 – 09/17/2019), $248,432.

Robert Reis, Ph.D., Department of Geriatrics, Inference of Common Pathways Underlying Neurodegeneration & Other Age-Progressive Diseases, NIH/Nat. Inst. on Aging (09/30/2018 – 05/31/2023), $1,867,446.

Storrie, Brian, Ph.D., Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Structure/Function Determinants of Platelet Granule Secretion, NIH/Nat. Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (09/15/2018 – 08/31/2019), $508,114.


October 3, 2018

Poster Perfection
Congratulations to Drs. Jason Mizell, Karina Clemmons, Sara Tariq, James Graham, and Puru Thapa, and COM sophomore Anlee-Taylor Glass, for receiving the Research Poster Award at the Learning Communities Institute’s annual conference last weekend.


Presentation Sensation
Way to go first-year ENT resident Dr. Erin Creighton, for earning the Medical Education Scholarship Award for her presentation at the Southern Group on Educational Affairs (SGEA) conference. Congratulations also to co-authors Drs. Jasna Vuk, Karina Clemmons and James Graham.


Resident Rocks It
Let’s have a round of applause for third-year Emergency Medicine resident Dr. Meryll Pampolina, who just received the Resident Rocks It! Award from the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians.


Congratulations to the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine’s Dr. Appathurai Balamurugan, who was presented the Excellence in Community Service Award by Governor Asa Hutchinson at the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Arkansas Chapter’s recent annual event.


Made the Cover
Internal Medicine
faculty member and Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson continues to help Arkansans understand UAMS’ crucial role in Arkansas through multimedia appearances. You’ll find him on the cover of this week’s Arkansas Business and the September-October issue of the Healthcare Journal of Little Rock.


Best for Babies
Congratulations to Dr. Laxmi Yeruva and her colleagues in the Department of Pediatrics, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center and Arkansas Children’s Research Institute on their recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition. The study lays the groundwork for future research into the role of infant diet on microbiota and immune function, for better understanding of the benefits of breastfeeding infants. (John J Miklavcic, Thomas M Badger, Anne K Bowlin, Katelin S Matazel, Mario A Cleves, Tanya LeRoith, Manish K Saraf, Sree V Chintapalli, Brian D Piccolo, Kartik Shankar, Laxmi Yeruva; Human Breast-Milk Feeding Enhances the Humoral and Cell-Mediated Immune Response in Neonatal Piglets, The Journal of Nutrition, nxy170,


Worth Repeating
Last but not least, I want to say thank you again to everyone who helped with the successful negotiations of our Affiliation Agreement with Arkansas Children’s, the Child Health Collaborative charter, and the Collaborative Research Agreement with Arkansas Children’s Research Institute.

As I said in my announcement last Friday, these documents lay the foundation for our continued partnership and future success in clinical care, research and teaching on behalf of the children of Arkansas.

Very special thanks to the negotiating team: Rick Barr, M.D.; Chanda Chacon, M.P.H.; Robin Dreisigacker, J.D.; Greg Kearns, Pharm.D., Ph.D.; Todd Maxson, M.D.; Rick Morrison, Ph.D.; Val Segalla; and Rob Steele, M.D., for their hard work and commitment. Our institutional leadership has been extremely supportive, and I would also like to reiterate my appreciation for Marcy Doderer, FACHE; and Cam Patterson, M.D.