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. This page contains Accolades released prior to August 2020.
July 29, 2020
Best of the Best
First this week, my thanks to all of you for making UAMS a great place to receive care, a wonderful place to learn, and a superb place to work. As announced yesterday, UAMS Medical Center has been recognized as the Best Hospital in Arkansas by U.S. News & World Report for the second consecutive year. Our ENT service again ranked in the top 50 in the nation, and our COPD, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery services were listed as high-performing in our region. Meanwhile, UAMS was voted the best place to work by readers of Arkansas Times, which published its annual “Best of Arkansas” poll this month.
These rankings affirm what we already know – that UAMS is a truly special place. Congratulations to Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Chair Dr. John Dornhoffer and his amazing team, along with the leaders, clinicians and staff in each of the high-performing services. And again, thanks to each of you for making UAMS the best of the best!
Congratulations to Dr. Grover Miller, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, on his appointment to the Xenobiotic and Nutrient Disposition and Action (XNDA) Study Section in the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review. Dr. Miller will serve a four-year term on the panel, whose members are selected for their excellence and achievement in their scientific discipline. At UAMS, Dr. Miller and his team develop and apply new and powerful strategies to better assess drug liabilities that cause significant adverse drug events including cardio- and hepato-toxicity.
Congratulations to the Department of Anesthesiology’s Dr. Saeedah Asaf on her appointment to the Pediatric Anesthesia Committee of the World Federation of Societies for Anesthesiologists (WFSA). Dr. Asaf splits her time between Arkansas Children’s Hospital and her role as Chair of Anesthesiology in the Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health in Lahore, Pakistan. The Pakistan Society of Anesthesiologists nominated her for the four-year term on the international committee, and her appointment was ratified by the WFSA Central Committee.
A shout-out to Dr. Michael Cucciare, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Director of the Psychiatric Research Institute’s Center for Health Services Research, who recently completed a month-long session as a reviewer for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network Renewal Initiative. The network of NIDA representatives, treatment researchers and community-based service providers works toward new treatment options for substance abuse disorders in community-level clinical practice. The network includes a number of “nodes” that collaborate on clinical trials, and Dr. Cucciare lent his expertise to the effort to review proposals for new nodes and the renewal of others.
Congratulations to third-year Dermatology resident Dr. Edita Newton on her appointment to the Derm In-Review Advisory Council (DIRAC). The council is a select group of top-performing dermatology residents and early-career dermatologists who review content and serve as subject-matter experts for Derm In-Review, the leading study tool for dermatology residents around the nation. In addition to lending their expertise, members can participate in career-development opportunities through a number of DIRAC partners.
Dr. Feliciano “Pele” Yu, Professor of Pediatrics, Biomedical Informatics and Public Health and Chief Medical Information Officer for Arkansas Children’s Hospital, recently served as Associate Editor for a collection of special-topic articles published in the journal Applied Clinical Informatics. The articles represented the breadth of topics presented at last year’s American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Clinical Informatics Conference, which Dr. Yu co-chaired. Kudos to Dr. Yu for his national leadership in this growing subspecialty.
Tops in Teaching
I am pleased to share some more of the many teaching awards received by faculty and residents at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. Emergency Medicine residents presented the Robert Fisher Excellence in Teaching UAMS Emergency Medicine Faculty Award to Dr. Brian Hohertz. Residents presented the Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award for a non-Emergency Medicine faculty member to Dr. Melissa Kost of the Department of Surgery. Emergency Medicine leadership presented Impact Awards to Emergency Medicine faculty members Dr. Jason Arthur, Dr. Marc Phan and Dr. Travis Eastin for their contributions to the program. Congratulations to all!
GERMs Worth Catching
Finally this week, I’m delighted to report that two of our medical students have been selected as “G.E.R.M.” awardees by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Foundation. The catchy acronym stands for Grants for Emerging Researchers/Clinicians Mentorship, and awardees receive $4,000 stipends for research projects with mentors. Third-year student Helena Drolshagen is collaborating with the Division of Infectious Diseases’ Dr. Atul Kothari on “Changing Trends in Antimicrobial Susceptibility of Enterococci and Role of Antibiotic Usage in Patients with Cancer.” Senior Justin Klucher is working with Dr. Ryan Dare on “Blood Culture Contamination in the Emergency Department: A Risk Factor Analysis.” Congratulations!
July 22, 2020
AAP Research Award
Congratulations to Dr. Stacie Jones, Professor of Pediatrics, on being selected to receive the Bret Ratner Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Allergy and Immunology. The award, which recognizes an outstanding pediatric allergist-immunologist for contributions in basic clinical research within the field, will be presented during the AAP annual meeting in October. Internationally recognized for her research into life-threatening peanut allergies in children, Dr. Jones was a key leader in the ground-breaking study that led to FDA approval last January of the first ever drug for treating children with peanut allergies.
NIMH Resident Honor
Congratulations to third-year Psychiatry resident Dr. Paul Parcon, who received an Honorable mention in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 2020 Outstanding Resident Award Program. Dr. Parcon received his medical degree and his doctorate in interdisciplinary biomedical sciences at UAMS. He received the Psychiatry Resident of the Year Award during his intern year. Dr. Parcon has worked on innovative basic and clinical research projects relating to Alzheimer’s and dementia with mentors including Dr. Sue Griffin and Dr. Prasad Padala. Dr. Ben Guise, Residency Education Director, notes, “He has a tireless work-ethic that makes him productive in research despite the clinical and educational demands of residency.”
CMT Center of Excellence
Kudos to Dr. Aravindhan Veerapandiyan, Assistant Professor in Pediatric Neurology, and his colleagues for their successful work to earn Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) Center of Excellence designation from the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. With only 18 CMT Centers of Excellence nationwide, the designation speaks volumes about the high caliber of care that Dr. Veerapandiyan and his team provide for children with CDT, as well as their research, community engagement and education relating to the hereditary disease that impairs functioning of motor and sensory peripheral nerves.
Expanded Care in NWA
UAMS orthopaedic and sports medicine care is expanding to meet the growing needs in Northwest Arkansas, thanks to Dr. Wes Cox and his team along with many others in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. UAMS opened a second Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine location in the region earlier this month, adding a Lowell clinic. Special thanks to Service Line Administrator Paul Stover, Kris Rush, Assistant Director of IT at UAMS Northwest, and Orthopaedic Surgery Chair Dr. Lowry Barnes. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
A shout-out to Dr. Amir Mian, Associate Professor in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, for his national work to advance informatics, innovation and entrepreneurship within the specialty. Dr. Mian worked with Dr. William Lam at Emory University/Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to initiate a special interest group (SIG), which has just gained approval from the American Society for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) Board of Trustees. Dr. Mian will serve as Vice-Chair/Founding Member of the SIG. He also serves in other leadership roles for ASPHO, including its Practice Committee, for which he currently is Vice-Chair and will serve as Chair in 2021.
Tops in Teaching
I am pleased to share some more of the many teaching awards received by faculty and residents at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year with you this week.
In the Northwest Family Medicine Residency in Fayetteville, residents selected Dr. Susan Ferguson as the Community Preceptor of the Year. Dr. Michael Macechko and Dr. Edward Yang received Faculty of the Year Awards.
Graduating residents in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery presented the department’s Dean’s Teaching Award to Dr. David Walker for his outstanding contributions to their education and training.
Consultant of the Month
Emergency Medicine residents are always happy to see second-year Neurosurgery resident Dr. Ben Elberson on the call schedule. They selected him for their Consultant of the Month award in recognition of his teamwork and contributions in the Emergency Department. Residents said Dr. Elberson “takes the initiative with consults and gets admit orders in promptly for seamless dispositions,” and that he is “always pleasant and congenial, even when it’s his 10th consult of the night.” Congratulations Dr. Elberson!
Dr. Aubrey Hough, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Pathology, was selected as one of only two 2020 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients by the Vanderbilt University Medical Alumni Association. Dr. Hough was nominated by his peers in recognition of his contributions as a leader in academic medicine, educator and scientist. He was chosen to deliver the keynote address for the 2020 reunion this fall, but the event is now slated to be held the following year. You can read Vanderbilt’s tribute to Dr. Hough here. Congratulations Dr. Hough!
July 15, 2020
Congratulations to Dr. Eddie Ochoa, Chief of Community Pediatrics, and the Patient-Centered Medical Home team at Arkansas Children’s, for receiving full certification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The team earned NCQA recognition for the General Pediatric Clinic, Southwest Community Clinic, Circle of Friends Clinic and Adolescent Clinic. I join with Pediatrics Chair Dr. Rick Barr in thanking Dr. Ochoa, along with Population Health Senior Project Administrator Josh Heimburg, Care Coordinator Manager Kassia Sherrill and the entire team for their hard work and dedication to achieving this important and prestigious recognition.
More great news from Arkansas Children’s Hospital – The Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS)/Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Center has earned the Award for Excellence in Life Support, Platinum Level, from the national Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). Kudos and congratulations to ECMO Assistant Coordinators Blake Frazier and Scott Furrh, the Pediatric Critical Care Division’s Dr. Matt Malone, Nursing Director for Intensive Care Jenny Janisko, and all of the ELSO/ECMO team members.
Colleagues in the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) continue to publish insightful research that draws national attention. A team led by Dr. Laxmi Yeruva, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics‘ Developmental Nutrition Section, and with Dr. Laura Carr, an Assistant Professor in the Section of Neonatology, as first author, recently published a seminal study in Frontiers in Immunology, on the molecular mechanisms through which breastfeeding confers optimal immune function to neonates: “Neonatal Diet Impacts Circulatory miRNA Profile in a Porcine Model.”
Meanwhile, the work of ACNC brain researchers led by Dr. Xiawei Ou, Associate Professor of Radiology (Pediatric Radiology) and Pediatrics, was highlighted in the recently released USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s FY19 Annual Report on Science. Their research indicates that normal weight and obese children process high-calorie food stimuli differently, which may lead to different decision-making outcomes related to food intake and food choices. Well done.
Pain Relief Patent
Congratulations to Dr. Erika Petersen, Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery and Neuromodulation, on her new patent. With the support of BioVentures LLC, Dr. Petersen developed a device that when placed next to or around the nerve, delivers electrical stimulation to the nerve for treatment of chronic pain.
Congratulations to third-year Pathology resident Dr. Alyssa Higgins on being selected as a United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) Ambassador. USCAP Ambassadors serve as a liaison between the national organization and pathology departments across the country, engaging peers to drive participation and loyalty in the national pathology community. Dr. Higgins was selected through a competitive national application process.
Tops in Teaching
Our last edition of Accolades included a shout-out to some of the faculty and residents who recently received department and GME program teaching awards. I am delighted to highlight more outstanding educators this week.
Graduating residents presented the department’s Dean’s Resident Teaching Award for Teaching Excellence as a New Faculty Member to Dr. Dyann Daley (ACH), Dr. Jucelle Occidental (VA) and Dr. Alvin Stewart (UAMS). Departmental Golden Apple Awards (for faculty members with five or more years of service) went to Dr. Jesus Apuya (ACH), Dr. Rudolf Klima (VA) and Dr. Victor Mandoff (UAMS).
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
The Outstanding Fellow-Educator Award was presented to 2020 fellowship graduate Dr. Meredith Lavallais. The Irving C. Ringdahl Award for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry faculty went to Dr. Nihit Kumar. Dr. Caroline Nardi received the Richard L. Livingston, M.D., Award for excellence in teaching Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellows and General Psychiatry residents.
Internal Medicine Residency – UAMS Northwest
2020 Residency Graduate Dr. Jason Kimbel received the Resident Peer Teaching Award for his work with residents and medical students. Third- and fourth-year medical students at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus selected 2020 Residency Graduate Dr. David Stewart Zimmerman and now-third-year resident Dr. Christopher Sonntag as this year’s recipients of the Medical Student Internal Medicine Teaching/Mentorship Award. Dr. Christopher Clark of Mercy Northwest in Rogers was honored with the Faculty Teaching Award.
Chief Residents presented the Walter G. Selakovich, M.D., Faculty Award to Dr. Steve Cherney. 2020 Orthopaedic Surgery Residency graduate Dr. Kaleb Smithson received the Chief Resident Teaching Award from his fellow residents.
Graduating residents presented the Teacher of the Year Award to Dr. Debbie Becton. All Pediatrics and Medicine-Pediatrics residents voted on candidates for the Richard F. Jacobs, M.D., Faculty Teaching Award, which went to Dr. Rachel Millner. Finalists included Dr. Debbie Becton, Dr. Katie Cushanick, Dr. Chris Edwards, Dr. Steven McKee, Dr. Emily Smith and Dr. Vildan Tas.
Congratulations to these fabulous faculty members, residents and fellows – and all of our superb educators throughout the College of Medicine! I look forward to sharing more departmental teaching awards as I hear about them.
Above and Beyond
And finally this week, I received a heartfelt email from Paula McClain, President of the College of Medicine M3 Class, about the difference Jennifer VanEcko makes in the lives of students. “Mrs. Jennifer VanEcko has consistently and tirelessly gone above and beyond for the Class of 2022,” Ms. McClain wrote. She noted that on top of her regular duties as M3 Coordinator, Jennifer implemented a new online didactics course in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, coordinating all aspects of an integrated course with all course directors for the third year. The pandemic also wreaked havoc with students’ ability to take the national Step 1 exam, and the delays are impacting their third-year schedule and will eventually affect their fourth year. “She gave 174 class members her cell phone number,” Ms. McClain said. “I have personally spoken with her after 8 p.m. and on the weekends. She strives to address class or scheduling concerns ASAP. I can’t say enough about her attitude, compassion and work ethic on behalf of students!”
July 1, 2020
Boost for a Diverse Workforce
The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Med Track Program is an important component of the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) grant we received last fall to expand efforts to train more primary care physicians and other health professionals for Arkansas. Our partnership with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Philander Smith College is already seeing great results thanks in large part to Education Coordinator Renisha Ward. Fourteen students from the participating HBCU colleges recently took the MCAT and are applying to the College of Medicine. Four have been accepted to the College of Pharmacy and one has been accepted to the College of Public Health with three more applying.
The HRSA grant is a collaboration of the College of Medicine, including our Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, and UAMS Regional Programs. As Program Director, I am excited to see this progress. Kudos to Renisha, our grant Co-Directors, Dr. Marcia Byers, Dr. Daniel Knight and Dr. Leslie Stone, and the entire team working on this grant.
Racism and Health
Dr. Omar Atiq, Professor of Internal Medicine and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, co-authored an important and insightful policy statement on racism and health on behalf of the American College of Physicians (ACP). Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Juneteenth, the article discusses the prevalence of racism and discrimination experienced by Black individuals and other people of color, the impact of these injustices on health and health care, and the ACP’s recommendations for beginning to address and mitigate discrimination in law enforcement and society more broadly. Dr. Atiq served as the 2019-2020 Chair of the ACP Board of Governors, and he continues to serve as Chair of the ACP Health and Public Policy Committee and member of the ACP Board of Regents. His leadership in these capacities is just the latest example of his exemplary service to Arkansas and the nation.
Laboratory capacity and COVID-19 testing have been critical to UAMS’ ongoing response to the pandemic. Did you know that the Department of Microbiology and Immunology established a satellite laboratory to help the Department of Pathology perform RT-PCR-based testing for the novel coronavirus? Under the leadership of Dr. Jon Blevins, Director, and Dr. Dan Voth, Co-Director and Department Chair, the lab has processed over 3,100 samples since early April. The lab also made many liters of viral transport media for use in collecting swabs from patients.
Here’s a well-earned shout-out to Dr. Blevins, Dr. Voth and lab team members Drs. Jason Stumhofer, Tiffany Weinkopff, Lu Huang, Amanda Dragan, Srijon Banerjee, and Gopinath Venugopal, along with Ph.D. students Clay Jackson-Litteken and Samantha Crane and staff member Sandra Morrison. Thank you all for your outstanding work.
UAMS has just received $940,000 in crucial funding from the Federal Communications Commission for digital health technology to treat patients for COVID-19 and share vital medical information with patients and health care providers across the state. This would not have been possible without the hard work of many members of Team UAMS, including Rachel Ott and Drs. Joseph Sanford, Kevin Sexton, Hari Eswaran and Curtis Lowery in the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation, which is administering the grant. Also playing crucial roles were Dr. Everett “Pat” Magann and Dr. Nirvana Manning in the Women and Infants Service Line; Cheryl Lane, Jeff Burton, Mike Greer and others in UAMS Information Technology; Jake Stover, George Belew and Amanda George in UAMS Finance; and Suzanne Alstadt and others in OSPAN who helped expedite the grant initiative. Many thanks to these team members and all who contributed.
Innovation & Collaboration
It’s always nice to hear about the collaborative work our faculty members are doing with colleagues at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. Last week, the U of A announced its Chancellor’s Innovation and Collaboration Fund Awards, and College of Medicine faculty are involved in three of the ten grants.
The Department of Radiation Oncology’s Dr. Robert Griffin is working with David Huitink and Lauren Greenlee to investigate a new approach to nanoparticle cancer therapy. The Department of Pediatrics’ Dr. Amir Mian is collaborating with Shengfan Zhang and Lu Zhang to explore ways to improve outcomes of hospitalized pediatric patients using artificial intelligence technologies. The Department of Microbiology and Immunology’s Dr. Mark Smeltzer is working with Min Zou to develop surface engineering for durable and antibacterial orthopedic implants.
Congratulations to Dr. Analiz Rodriguez, Director of Neurosurgical Oncology in the Department of Neurosurgery, Dr. Thidathip Wongsurawat, Instructor in Biomedical Informatics, and colleagues on the publication of their collaborative study of a new sequencing technique to identify biomarkers in patient glioma samples. Dr. Wongsurawat was the first author and Dr. Rodriguez was the senior author on the paper published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications. Other authors included Dr. Piroon Jenjaroenpun, Dr. Intawat Nookaew and Dr. David Ussery in Biomedical Informatics; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate student Duah Alkam; Annick De Loose and Dr. J.D. Day in Neurosurgery; and Pharmacology and Toxicology’s Dr. Ricky Leung and Dr. Shuk-Mei Ho.
Dr. Lauren Edwards, Assistant Professor in the Critical Care Medicine Section of the Department of Pediatrics, has been named the 2020 Society for Pediatric Sedation (SPS) Scholarly Grant Award winner. The award will support quality-improvement projects, research or teaching related to pediatric sedation and advancing the SPS mission of promoting safe, high-quality care, innovative research and quality professional education. Dr. Edwards will receive up to $10,000 to support her work. Congratulations!
Above & Beyond
A faculty colleague emailed me this week about the remarkable care she received from Dr. Renee McGraw, Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. After arriving for an appointment at the Freeway Medical Women’s Health Clinic, it became clear there was an unexpected medical issue requiring immediate evaluation in the Emergency Department. Dr. McGraw personally drove her patient to the ED and made sure all was well before she left. “I was truly overwhelmed by such kindness and compassion,” the patient wrote. “Dr. McGraw’s extraordinary kindness probably saved my life/prevented a major medical event from happening.” Thank you, Dr. McGraw.
One of the educational feats accomplished early in the pandemic was the development of our COVID-19 Course, which was originally presented to our graduating seniors to help prepare them to safely return to clinical settings and eventually care for patients with the virus. Since then, nearly all of our medical students have taken the course. In fact, when Dr. Bobby McGehee presented it to 222 rising second-year medical students and other UAMS learners recently, it constituted the biggest UAMS class ever for a single course. Parts of the course were used in Housestaff Orientation in June, and it has been shared with our faculty and physicians and hospitals around the state.
Many faculty colleagues have been involved in this initiative. Dr. Karl Boehme and Dr. Martin Cannon of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dr. Karina Clemmons of the Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics and the Dean’s Office, and Dr. Riley Lipschitz and Dr. Ryan Dare of the Department of Internal Medicine all had crucial leadership roles. I join with Dr. James Graham, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Sara Tariq, Associate Dean for Students, in expressing gratitude for this outstanding team.
Tops in Teaching
Finally this week, as one academic year comes to a close and another begins, I want to thank all our faculty, staff and residents who are involved in medical education. Some of our departments present student-, resident- and faculty-selected teaching awards.
In the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, this year’s honorees include Dr. Stephen King, who was selected by graduating residents to receive the Family Medicine Outstanding Teaching Award; Dr. Michael Cassat and Dr. Kristin Garner, whom fellow faculty members chose for the American Academy of Family Physicians-sponsored Active Teacher in Family Medicine Awards; and Dr. Michael Gann, who received the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine-sponsored Resident Teacher Award based on outstanding evaluations from UAMS medical students.
In the Department of Surgery, third-year medical students voted Dr. James Yuen as the Outstanding Teaching Faculty Member and Dr. Tamara Osborn as the Outstanding Teaching Resident. Surgery residents voted Dr. Camilo Barreto-Andrade as the Outstanding Teaching Attending.
I look forward to sharing more department teaching awards in future editions of Accolades. Meanwhile, congratulations to all!
June 24, 2020
COVID & Homelessness
As challenging as life during the COVID-19 pandemic may seem to most of us, imagine what it is like for those who are homeless. A multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Kristie Hadden, Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Interim Director of the UAMS Health Office of Population Health, has published a case study in the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst on their work to address homelessness and COVID-19 patient discharge.
Dr. Hadden’s team developed and implemented a screening tool to determine the ability of homeless individuals who were being tested for the coronavirus or who had tested positive to self-quarantine, and to refer them to appropriate facilities when needed. Contributors to the Office of Population Health initiative included Administrative Fellow Dia Partlow, M.H.A.; the College of Pharmacy’s Dr. Nalin Payakachat; the Department of Internal Medicine’s Dr. Hazel Liverett and Dr. Riley Lipschitz; and the Department of Neurology’s Dr. Bhawna Jha. Thank you for this very important, collaborative work.
ENT ExcellenceThe Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recently learned that its residents scored among the top three or four ENT programs in the nation on the in-service examination this year. With over 100 ENT residency programs across the country, this is a remarkable achievement. Congratulations to Drs. Zachary Anderson, Terrell Bibb, Mary Catherine Brown, Erin Creighton, Olivia Daigle, Quinn Dunlap, Victoria Gau, Blake Hollowoa, Anvesh Kompelli, Tyler Merrill, Sriram Navuluri, Cody Page, Shep Russell, Mariah Small and Don Vickers. I also want to thank Dr. Abby Nolder, Residency Program Director, Otolaryngology Chair Dr. John Dornhoffer, and all of the dedicated faculty and staff who helped make this possible.
Silver & Gold
Congratulations to the teams at the UAMS North Street Clinic in Fayetteville and the UAMS 12th Street Health and Wellness Center in Little Rock on their respective recognitions from the National Association of Free and Charitable (NAFC) Clinics. Both were recognized for meeting high quality standards in their work to ensure access to affordable health care for the medically underserved, with North Street achieving a Gold Rating for 2020 and 12th Street receiving a Silver Rating. Kudos to North Street Co-Directors Dr. Thomas Schulz and Maryalice Kelly, M.S.N., APRN; and to 12th Street Director Dr. Melissa Clark, Assistant Director Dr. Erin Puryear, and Medical Director Dr. Elizabeth Gath, along with all of the faculty and staff who worked so hard to achieve NAFC ratings.
Bravo to Dr. Laura Hobart-Porter and her team in the Spinal Cord Disorders Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which has been designated as a Spina Bifida Association (SBA) Care Partner. ACH is one of only 31 facilities in the nation to earn the designation for meeting the best practice standards established by the SBA. Dr. Hobart-Porter, Assistant Professor in the Division of Developmental Pediatrics and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, is the Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Disorders Program. This achievement would not have been possible without the hard work from her spinal cord nurses, Becky Bregy and Allison Curtis. Dr. Eylem Ocal of the Department of Neurosurgery has been instrumental in advancing research within the program, which is clinically supported by dedicated staff from Rehab, Neurosurgery, Urology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neurology, Therapy (PT and OT), Nutrition, Neuropsychology, and Social Work.
Ashley Sanders, Manager of Operations for the Department of Pathology, has been elected by her national peers as Chair-Elect of the Association of Pathology Chairs’ Graduate Medical Education Administrators Section (GMEAS). She will serve a total of six years in the leadership of the organization, which supports the development and enhancement of GME programs in pathology and promotes the professional and educational development of GMEAS members. Thanks to Ashley for her excellent work at UAMS and her increasing national contributions!
Certified Faculty Developer
Dr. Stanley Ellis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Education for the Institute for Digital Health and Innovation, recently became the first person in Arkansas to receive the Certified Faculty Developer (CFD) credential from the Learning Resources Network (LERN). As a Certified Faculty Developer, Dr. Ellis is equipped with the most current and comprehensive techniques to develop faculty in institutions of higher education. LERN is the world’s largest association in continuing education and lifelong learning. Congratulations Dr. Ellis!
Career Development Award
Congratulations to Dr. Graham Strub, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, on winning the 2020 Research Career Development Award from the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology. Dr. Strub will receive a $40,000 grant for his research proposal, “Identification of microRNA networks driving vascular malformation growth.” He will also be honored in the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s monthly magazine, Bulletin, and on the AAO-HNS website.
In the Spotlight
A shout-out to our colleagues in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology for their superb scholarly work. In February, Division Director Dr. Jon Oden and his team hosted a very successful meeting of pediatric endocrinologists from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas (PESTOLA). Meanwhile, the group has had several abstracts accepted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pediatric Endocrine Society (PES), PESTOLA and the American Diabetes Association, which also highlighted the program in a video circulated during its recent virtual conference. Congratulations also to Dr. Manish Raisingani, who was appointed to the PES Communications Committee and accepted into the Sigma Xi scientific research honor society.
Eat Late, Gain Weight
Dr. Elisabet Borsheim, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Physical Activity and Energy Metabolism Lab and the Physical Activity Core in the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC), Dr. Robert Wolfe, Professor of Geriatrics, and ACNC Research Associate Matt Cotter helped researchers at Johns Hopkins University reveal the mechanisms that may cause adults who routinely eat late-evening dinners to gain more weight.
The team published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, and the research was highlighted in a news release by the Endocrine Society. A key takeaway was that eating a late dinner (around 10:00 PM) substantially increases post-meal blood sugar as compared to eating earlier (6:00 PM), while also reducing cumulative fatty acid oxidation. Great work!
MFM Fellow & Scholar
I recently learned about the prolific scholarly work of Dr. Julie Whittington, who in her three years as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology published 12 peer-reviewed papers (with an additional three accepted for publication and 11 manuscripts under review), wrote six book chapters, and currently has 15 research projects underway. Her mentor, Professor and MFM Fellowship Director Dr. Everett “Pat” Magann, said that is unprecedented among all of the residents and fellows he has known in his 36 years in civilian and military academic medicine. We congratulate Dr. Whittington and wish her all the best as she becomes a MFM specialist and Assistant Director of the OB/GYN Residency Program at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia.
Disillusioned by COVID-19?
Dr. Erick Messias, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Psychiatry, wrote an essay about the phases of personal and societal response to a disaster – such as the COVID-19 pandemic – for the blog, The Doctor Weighs In. His article is being highlighted and gaining a broader audience on the hosting platform, Medium. In “The Phases of a Disaster: Are We Headed Towards Disillusionment?”
Dr. Messias traces the pandemic through phases described in a model by Zunin and Myers. He suggests we may have already passed through phases defined as Pre-Disaster, Impact, Heroic and Honeymoon, and that we may have transitioned to a fifth phase, Disillusionment, due to discouragement, stress and exhaustion from the ongoing crisis. Dr. Messias urges health care professionals to consider this progression and remain vigilant in providing support, taking care of oneself, and being prepared for the next phase: Reconstruction.
June 17, 2020
As we announced in our Spread Kindness e-newsletter yesterday, our college’s first-ever Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award went to the very deserving Dr. John Pagteilan, a fourth-year General Surgery resident. Dr. Molly Gathright, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, and I were delighted to surprise him with the award earlier this week. His nominator, second-year General Surgery resident Dr. Tamara Osborn, said Dr. Pagteilan embodies kindness in his interaction with colleagues, junior residents and patients alike. He has been known to take a hard-working intern’s pager so they can spend part of the afternoon off and enjoy a little rest and relaxation. Congratulations, and thank you for spreading kindness, Dr. Pagteilan!
Congratulations to our colleagues at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which has been ranked among the nation’s top pediatric facilities for four specialties in the 2020-2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. The specialties are Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Pulmonology & Lung Surgery, and Urology. Kudos to Arkansas Children’s President and CEO Marcy Doderer, FACHE, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gregory Sharp, and all of the outstanding faculty and staff in these specialty areas.
Step 1 & Potential for Bias
A shout-out to the Department of Anesthesiology’s Dr. Johnathan Goree, who co-authored an insightful correspondence article on the potential for gender and racial bias to impact resident and fellow selection as the USMLE moves to pass/fail reporting on the Step 1 exam. As Dr. Goree and Dr. Amy Pearson of the University of Iowa note in their article for the Journal of Clinical Anesthesia, a number of positive reasons for the impending change have been celebrated, including the potential to dramatically improve medical student wellbeing. However, it will be imperative for residency programs and those involved in the resident selection process to remain vigilant in avoiding implicit bias when making decisions about applicants in absence of the current numerical Step 1 score.
Dr. Austin Porter of the College of Public Health and Arkansas Health Department and Dr. Analiz Rodriguez, Director of Neurosurgical Oncology in the Department of Neurosurgery, led a multidisciplinary team to study how insurance status affects treatment and outcomes in pediatric traumatic brain injury. Their findings were recently published in Critical Care Medicine. Coauthors included Drs. Clare Brown, Mick Tilford, Saleema Karim and Namvar Zohoori of the College of Public Health, Dr. Todd Maxson of the Division of Pediatric General Surgery, Dr. Kevin Sexton of the Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, and Kevin Thomas, an M.D./M.P.H. student working with Dr. Rodriguez.
Congratulations to the Department of Geriatrics’ Dr. Obioma Nwaiwu and the College of Nursing’s Dr. Stephanie Trotter on being selected as the 2020 Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC) Junior Faculty Fellows. The fellowship program supports the career development of professionals planning to specialize in academic and clinical geriatrics. Dr. Nwaiwu has just completed his fellowship in the Department of Geriatrics and is joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor. He has already worked extensively to improve access to care and reduce disparities for vulnerable older adults with physical, mental, cultural or other limitations. Dr. Trotter’s teaching and research have focused on Arkansas’ geriatric population, and she is devoted to preparing the next generation of nurses to care for older adults. Read more about Dr. Nwaiwu and Dr. Trotter on the AGEC website.
Dr. Zhiqiang Qin, Associate Professor of Pathology, and collaborators have just published an article in Blood, the leading journal in the field of hematology. The study developed and identified new ceramide analogs that display effective anti-cancer activities in vitro and in vivo against primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), a rare but aggressive virus-associated malignancy. The postdoc fellows from Dr. Qin’s group, Dr. Jungang Chen and Dr. Lu Dai, made major contributions to the study. Collaborators included Dr. Steven Post, Professor of Pathology, as well as colleagues from Xavier University of Louisiana, Tulane University, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Dr. Arpan Prabhu, a Radiation Oncology resident, was interviewed in an article published in Medscape en Españolthat discusses the growing online presence of physicians, as well as patient reviews, around the world. The article, translated as “Can the opinions of patients on the internet be worth more than professional merits?” highlighted Dr. Prabhu’s previously published work on the digital presence of physicians as well as social media interactions among patients and physicians.
Above & Beyond
This past week I received two separate accounts of the extraordinary work and dedication of our team members in Obstetrics and Gynecology/Labor and Delivery and Neonatology. Well over a dozen individuals were mentioned in connection with these two cases – faculty and residents in the departments of OB/GYN, Pediatrics and Anesthesiology, nurses, scrub techs – and of course many others contributed. Our colleagues in these areas provided exceptional and compassionate care for the patients and family members. Their work was complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they went the extra mile for these families while also looking out for one another. I am profoundly grateful for these teams.
June 10, 2020
Surgery & COVID Patients
As members of the international COVIDSurg Collaborative, UAMS surgeons led by the Division of Transplant Surgery’s Dr. Emmanouil (Manos) Giorgakis contributed to an important study published in The Lancet, one of the most widely respected medical journals in the world. The article, “Mortality and Pulmonary Complications in Patients Undergoing Surgery with Perioperative SARS-CoV-2 Infection: An International Cohort study,” reported on the high rate of pulmonary complications and mortality in surgical patients with the infection and underscores the crucial need to postpone non-urgent procedures in these patients when possible. In addition to Dr. Giorgakis, UAMS authors included Drs. Avi Bhavaraju, Kyle Kalkwarf, Matthew Roberts and Ronald Robertson. Kudos for their dedication to improving care and surgical outcomes for COVID-19 patients.
DNA Damage Repair
A shout-out to Dr. Justin Leung, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, and colleagues on the publication of their new article in Nature Communications. The team reports on the role of the protein RNF168 in the repair of DNA damage caused by environmental sources. The article, “Histone H2A variants alpha1-extension helix directs RNF168-mediated ubiquitination,” also discusses how mutations of RNF168 impact patients with RIDDLE syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that increases predisposition to blood cancer, susceptibility to DNA-damaging agents, immunodeficiency, developmental abnormalities and learning disabilities. Co-authors include research assistant Jessica Kelliher, B.S., and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Kirk West. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Congratulations to Dr. Zufeng Ding, Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and colleagues on the publication of their important new article, “NLRP3 inflammasome via IL-1β regulates PCSK9 secretion,” in the high-impact journal Theranostics. Based on extensive in vitro and in vivo data, the study provides evidence that an inflammatory molecule, NLRP3 inflammasome, stimulates PCSK9 secretion, particularly in the presence of high-fat diet. PCSK9 is an enzyme that regulates blood cholesterol levels. In this process, the cytokine IL-1β plays an important signaling role. Dr. J.L. Mehta, Distinguished Professor in Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, is the senior author on the paper.
Vote for UAMS Culinary Medicine!
Margaret Pauly, R.D., culinary nutritionist for the UAMS Culinary Medicine program, is a finalist for a $20,000 grant that would boost efforts to take the program out into the community. The field of applicants for the “Siggi’s Starters” grant program has been winnowed from over 100 to just 10 – and a public voting process will help determine three winners. “UAMS Nutrition2U” aims to offer nutrition education and cooking tips for community members, particularly those in underserved populations and who have chronic diseases that are impacted by lifestyle. Visit the company’s grant proposals gallery and click on “UAMS Nutrition2U” to learn more and vote in support of the UAMS Culinary Medicine program.
Researchers from several disciplines at UAMS and the University of Mississippi have discovered that cannabidiol (CBD) supplements in high doses can be harmful to the gut microbiome. The College of Public Health’s Dr. Igor Koturbash led the study, which was published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements. UAMS collaborators included Charles M. Skinner, B.S., who worked on the project with Dr. Koturbash in the COPH’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Center for Dietary Supplements Research, along with Drs. Intawat Nookaew, Thidathip Wongsurawat and Piroon Jenjaroenpun in the Department of Biomedical Informatics; doctoral student Laura E. Ewing, M.Sc., in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Drs. Charles Matthew Quick and Eric U. Yee in the Department of Pathology; and Dr. Brian D. Piccolo in the Department of Pediatrics and the USDA-ARS Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
The Pediatric Sedation Service at Arkansas Children’s Hospital achieved Center of Excellence designation from the Society for Pediatric Sedation (SPS) back in January. Now, Arkansas Children’s and the Department of Pediatrics have learned that the team received the highest score of all applicants in the SPS Center of Excellence program’s three-year history. Congratulations to Dr. Abdallah Dalabih, Associate Professor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Director of the Pediatric Sedation Service, Jenny Janisko, RN, Dana Thomas, RN, and the entire team.
Encore! TEDxUAMS Now Online
In early February, 10 insightful UAMS team members presented talks at the first ever TEDxUAMS event. Their presentations spanned diverse topics including the importance of experiencing meaning in medicine, the value of intentional inclusivity, the stifling effects of imposter syndrome, the power of poetry, and much more. The UAMS talks are now online!
Thanks again to these fantastic speakers: Amber Booth-McCoy, Dr. Jerad Gardner, Dr. Tiffany Haynes, Dr. Jennifer Hunt, Kimberly Jones, Dr. Paulette Mehta, Dr. Erick Messias, Dr. Kevin Ryan, Dr. Joe Thompson and Dr. Wendy Ward.
Above and Beyond
The dangers posed by COVID-19 make this an especially frightening time for senior citizens and their families. When a telehealth visit with a very elderly patient of Dr. Priya Mendiratta, Associate Professor of Geriatrics, revealed the need for an evaluation in the Emergency Department, she and social worker Debbie Brady, LCSW, ACSW, reassured the patient and family that the visit would be safe. Dr. Zachary Brodrick, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, picked up the ball in the ER, going above and beyond to make the patient feel comfortable. The daughter called Ms. Brady the next day to express their gratitude and relay what a fabulous job Dr. Brodrick had done. Thank you, team, for truly putting patients first.
June 3, 2020
Expertise for Arkansas
Our state continues to benefit from the knowledge and experience of College of Medicine faculty members in the fight against COVID-19. Last week, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Dr. Jose Romero, Professor and Director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, to serve as Interim Arkansas Secretary of Health when Dr. Nate Smith departs for a post with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in late August. Governor Hutchinson noted Dr. Romero’s expertise in infectious disease and the invaluable support he has provided in the state’s response since the start of the public health crisis.
The Governor also announced the appointment of Dr. Kevin Sexton, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Co-Director of Healthcare Analytics in the UAMS Institute of Digital Health and Innovation, to the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Board. The College of Public Health’s Dr. Mandana Rezaeiahari also was named to the board, which will evaluate new technologies for testing and contact tracing in Arkansas. Expertise is paramount in this pandemic, and we are grateful to those who are lending their knowledge in service to our state.
Dr. Carolyn Greene, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, led the testing at UAMS of a promising cellphone app designed to treat depression, and the results were recently published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Psychiatry. The Intellicare app was developed by a research team at Northwestern University. Dr. Greene recruited study participants in Arkansas and worked with colleagues at UAMS and Northwestern to analyze the data, which showed a dramatic reduction in the symptoms of depression and anxiety among app users. Significantly, the study participants were UAMS primary care patients who had tested positive for depression. It is believed the app could help improve access to mental health treatment in primary care settings. Dr. Thomas Powell, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics, was a coauthor of the paper, which was featured on the front of the May 20 online edition. Congratulations!
When the editors at PLOS Genetics needed an expert to provide commentary and context for two new publications that challenge long-held assumptions in bone and metabolism research, they turned, not surprisingly, to Distinguished Professor Dr. Stavros Manolagas. The debate concerns osteocalcin, a protein produced by bone-forming osteoblasts. Internationally recognized for his decades of research and leadership in the field, Dr. Manolagas provided context in a perspective article, “Osteocalcin promotes bone mineralization but is not a hormone.” Read more about the scientific debate and Dr. Manolagas’ insights in the COM Newsroom.
Simulation Education Excellence
A shout-out to the Arkansas Children’s Simulation and Education Center team for achieving Provisional Accreditation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Special thanks to Dr. Tonya Thompson, Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of the Center, and Grace Gephardt, Center Director, for their leadership of the initiative. Full accreditation is anticipated following the two-year provisional accreditation period. Great job!
Congratulations to our College of Medicine colleagues who were recently named to national committees:
Dr. Jessica Snowden, Associate Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics, has been appointed to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Pediatric Research. Dr. Snowden also serves as Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research in the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute.
Dr. André Wineland, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, has been appointed to the Pediatric Otolaryngology Education Committee of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS/F). Dr. Wineland will serve as a consultant on the committee for a two-year term starting Oct. 1.
Congratulations to Dr. Ahmed Elolimy, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Laxmi Yeruva’s lab in the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, who has been selected to receive the American Society of Animal Science’s 2020 Agri-King Outstanding Animal Science Graduate Student Award. The highly competitive national award recognizes a recent graduate currently in a postdoctoral position for outstanding research and work toward the ASAS mission to foster the discovery, sharing and application of scientific knowledge concerning the responsible use of animals to enhance human life and well-being.
Above and Beyond
Dr. Ozlem Tulunay-Ugur, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, recently needed an after-hours COVID-19 test for a patient prior to a procedure – and second-year Pathology resident Dr. Matthew Parke didn’t hesitate to make sure their needs were met. “He ensured we would have results prior to the procedure,” Dr. Tulunay-Ugur said. “He called me back to update me and was professional and kind. Dr. Parke showed what UAMS is all about.” Thank you for going above and beyond, Dr. Parke.
May 27, 2020
UAMS Highlighted by AMA
UAMS was featured on the American Medical Association (AMA) website this week for our institution’s work to ensure the wellbeing of physicians and other health professionals and our use of the AMA’s “Coping with COVID-19 for Caregivers” survey. Dr. Erick Messias, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, led the survey initiative at UAMS. Dr. Messias said the survey helped UAMS leaders understand the concerns of clinicians during this stressful time, including the natural fear of contracting the virus and worries about keeping their families safe. Initially distributed on April 7, the survey drew over 800 responses at UAMS and was sent again for reassessment on May 7. Kudos to Dr. Messias for his leadership and to all who participated in the survey.
Financial Educator of the Year
Dr. Jason Mizell, Associate Professor of Surgery, has been named the 2020 Financial Educator of the Year by the White Coat Investor website for his pioneering work in financial education for medical students and trainees. At UAMS, Dr. Mizell’s award-winning Business of Medicine course has evolved into an exceptionally popular four-year honors track for College of Medicine students. Nationally, the numbers of medical schools with a financial curriculum has grown, and most of them gained insights from direct consultation with Dr. Mizell and/or insights from his published works and invited talks and podcast appearances. Congratulations to Dr. Mizell on this well-earned honor.
Outstanding Executive MBA
More great news from the Department of Surgery – Dr. Ben Davis, Assistant Professor and Medical Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, was recognized as an Outstanding Graduate of the Healthcare Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas this spring. Dr. Davis chose to pursue his EMBA because he understands the importance of strong physician leadership. As he said in a UA news release, “The current pandemic has shown that matters of economics, supply chain, finance, health policy [and] analytics have a tangible impact on the optimal delivery of healthcare.” Thank you for your current and future leadership, Dr. Davis.
I’d like to give another shout-out to those who are working so hard on behalf of our medical students, residents and fellows in this extremely challenging time. For example, the Department of Geriatrics quickly developed robust online coursework, simulations, a workshop, live culinary sessions, interactive modules and much for over 200 medical students, interprofessional learners and fellows in April. This was followed by four weeks of comprehensive online programming for fellows and other learners in May. Dr. Priya Mendiratta said faculty engagement and learner participation surpassed anything they had previously seen. Kudos to Dr. Mendiratta, and I join with her in extending special thanks to Geriatrics Chair Dr. Jeanne Wei, Geriatrics Clerkship Coordinator Patty Summons, Fellowship Coordinator Joni Pharis, and all of the faculty on multiple campuses who made this possible.
In the Spotlight
Congratulations to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Dr. Wayne Wahls, Dr. Mari Davidson and their research team, whose article “Targeted Forward Genetics” was featured in the Genetics Society of America’s annual “Spotlight: a showcase of research and scholarship in selected articles from 2019.” The team, which includes Dr. Aaron Storey, Dr. Reine Protacio and rising third-year medical student Hsin-Ping Wang, described a powerful methodology for precisely targeted, saturating mutational analyses of discrete chromosomal elements in situ. Read more about the team on the department’s website. Great job!
Insights into DIPG
As a highly aggressive pediatric brainstem tumor, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) accounts for 10% to 20% of childhood brain tumors, with poor prognosis. Dr. Zhiqiang Qin, Associate Professor of Pathology, and collaborators have just published two papers about DIPG. The first article, published in Journal of Cancer, reports the effective anti-DIPG activity of ABC294640, the only first-in-class orally available sphingosine kinase (SphK) inhibitor that already has been in clinical trials for solid tumors. The second paper, published in Bioorganic Chemistry, identifies new natural products with anti-DIPG activity through high-throughput screening. Major contributors to the studies include members of Dr. Qin’s group, Dr. Jungang Chen, Dr. Lu Dai and Ms. Lindsey Barrett. Collaborators included the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology’s Dr. Shengyu Mu and Dr. Zhen Lin of Tulane University.
ED Consultants of the Month
For their final Consultant of the Month Award for the 2019-2020 Academic Year, residents in the Department of Emergency Medicine chose to honor not just one, but 10 phenomenal graduating residents and fellows from other departments who always went the extra mile. These individuals were recognized for providing excellent patient care, contributing to a positive work environment and enriching the education of EM residents in the ED and on off-service rotations. I join with our ED residents in thanking and congratulating:
General Surgery: Drs. Brittany Solis and Conor Coogan
Internal Medicine: Drs. Arthur Slaton, Brooke Peeples and Quinton Palmer
Neurology: Drs. Yohei Harada and Lindsay Malatesta
OB/GYN: Dr. Zach Keller
Ophthalmology: Dr. Riley Sanders
Surgical Critical Care: Dr. Matthew Roberts
Excellence in Public Health
Finally this week, a shout-out to one of our outstanding 2020 graduates, Dr. Amy James, who received a national Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. James graduated with dual Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees. She was recognized for her work with the Marshallese population in Northwest Arkansas and epidemiologic research aimed at finding solutions to help control tuberculosis (TB) among the Marshallese. Dr. James will complete her residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and hopes to continue pursuing her interests in pulmonary disease and public health. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
May 20, 2020
Medical Society Leadership
Dr. Danny Wilkerson, Professor of Anesthesiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been voted President-elect of the Arkansas Medical Society (AMS). He will serve as President in 2021-2022. Dr. Wilkerson was also re-elected to continue serving as Chairman of the AMS Board of Trustees for 2020-2021. Congratulations, Dr. Wilkerson, and thank you for your outstanding service to Arkansas.
Engaging with NWA Students
A shout-out to the Department of Ophthalmology’s Dr. Megan Shirey and all of the faculty, residents and staff who collaborated to bring a robust tele-lecture series on ophthalmology topics to our Compton Academic House College of Medicine students at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus this spring. Colleagues engaged with the students on a wide range of topics including low-vision rehabilitation from Dr. Shirey; diabetic retinopathy from Dr. Mary Price; emergency ophthalmology care from Dr. Riley Sanders and Dr. Christian Ponder; basic strabismus from Dr. Brita Rook; and the aging retina from Dr. Sami Uwaydat. Camryn McGowan, Business Administrator for the COM at the Northwest Regional Campus, helped to coordinate the series. I join with Dr. Linda Worley, Regional Associate Dean, in thanking these colleagues for a job very well done.
Center of Excellence
The Division of Obstetric Anesthesia in the Department of Anesthesiology has been designated as a Center of Excellence by the Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP). This prestigious status is awarded to institutions that demonstrate the highest standards of obstetric anesthesia care. Congratulations to the Obstetric Anesthesia team: Drs. Nadir Sharawi, Jill Mhyre, Caroline Martinello, Faiza Khan and Matt Williams. Thanks also to our obstetrics and nursing teams for helping make this possible, including Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology faculty members Drs. Nirvana Manning, Dora Smith and Adam Sandlin, Service Line Nursing Director Michelle McFail and Clinical Services Manager Melony Stokes.
Our colleagues in the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) recently published two excellent papers. The first paper, by Dr. Laxmi Yeruva and Dr. Aline Andres and colleagues, relates to the gut microbiome in infants fed breast milk or formula. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the article is the first “catalog” of the human fecal metabalome throughout infancy and in response to diet types. Ultimately, this and other studies will demonstrate the molecular mechanisms that link infant diet to short- and long-term health outcomes. The second paper, published in Nutrients, stems from analyses spearheaded by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Britt Allman on data from the ACNC’s ongoing USDA/ARS-funded “Glowing” study led by Dr. Aline Andres. The paper deals with maternal diet effect on programming of offspring blood sugar control. The team found that protein intakes in mothers during pregnancy did not negatively impact insulin sensitivity in their offspring during the first two years of life. Great work!
National RecognitionCongratulations to the Class of 2020’s Dr. John Martindale, who received an honorable mention for the National Outstanding Medical Student Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association. The award recognizes students who will be pursuing careers in emergency medicine and have excelled in humanism, professionalism, leadership and service, research and academic excellence. Dr. Martindale served as President of the Emergency Medicine Interest Group while at UAMS. He will complete his residency at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital.
We asked Dr. Martindale about his mentors in medical school. He cited the Department of Emergency Medicine’s Drs. Carly Eastin, Brian Russ, Rachael Freeze-Ramsey, Meryll Bouldin, Lauren Evans and all of the EM residents; along with Drs. Fu’ad Habash and Hakan Paydak (Cardiology), Dr. Ricardo Lopez-Castellanos (Neurology) and Dr. Avi Bhavaraju (Trauma Surgery). I think this shows the impact that our faculty and resident teachers have on our students!
AOA Research Fellowship
A shout-out to rising third-year medical student Coleman Dennis, who has been awarded a national Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. Mr. Dennis will investigate socioeconomic factors and brachytherapy in gynecologic cancers over the next year. The award reflects the quality and promise of this project as well as the bright future ahead for this outstanding future physician. Coleman’s research mentor is Dr. Gary Lewis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.
First in State
UAMS is the first medical center in Arkansas to operate with a new robotic spine navigation system that makes spine surgery more precise and less invasive. Dr. Noojan Kazemi, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of the Spine Neurosurgery Program, performed the first procedure at UAMS using the ExcelsiusGPS robot. Kudos to Dr. Kazemi for his leadership on innovative spine surgery advancements such as this for Arkansans. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
Congratulations to third-year Dermatology resident Dr. Malan Kern and Dr. Jerad Gardner, Associate Professor of Pathology and Dermatology and Director of the Dermatopathology Fellowship, on the publication of their images of Mucocutaneous Manifestations of Scurvy – rarely seen in the United States – in the New England Journal of Medicine’s “Images in Clinical Medicine.” I also want to wish Dr. Gardner and his family the very best as they embark on a new chapter in their lives as Dr. Gardner begins a new position with Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania.
May 13, 2020
Honoring the Class of 2020
The College of Medicine Class of 2020 will receive their doctoral hoods virtually this year in a special online Honors Convocation Ceremony this Friday evening. Thirty-four seniors completed all four years of medical school with a perfect 4.0 GPA – and this class’ individual and collective accomplishments go far beyond the academic. Their spirit of service and volunteerism has always been strong, and this has been especially clear during these past few difficult months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We could not be prouder of this class!
Please join us as we celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of our graduating seniors. Students will participate remotely, and you can watch the live stream of the social distance-compliant ceremony on the COM Facebook page starting at 7:00 p.m. Friday.
Congratulations to Dr. Larry Cornett, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and Director of Arkansas INBRE, and colleagues on the $18.4 million, five-year renewal of the UAMS-led, multi-institution program’s funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The renewal brings total funding to $78.5 million. Arkansas INBRE has promoted biomedical research in Arkansas for the past two decades, providing research opportunities for undergraduates and other support for students and faculty at campuses across the state. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Study Section Appointment
Congratulations to Dr. Ashley Acheson, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Addiction Research, on being named to the Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology Study Section in the National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review. The appointment to the standing section reflects Dr. Acheson’s excellence in research and scholarly work. As Psychiatry Professor and Chair Dr. Rick Smith noted when he shared this news, the appointment will provide opportunities for Dr. Acheson to help shape this important field.
All-Stars Where it Counts
I recently received a heartfelt letter from a patient who has battled serious health issues over the past 35 years. He has lived in many cities and has seen specialists at some of the nation’s leading medical institutions. None of them, though, measured up to the “true all-star, cream of the crop, homerun hitting medical team at UAMS.” The patient, who has been coming to UAMS for the past eight years, expressed special gratitude for the clinical excellence and dedication of two teams – Professor and Chair Dr. Robert L. “Lee” Archer, Laura Barganier, APRN, and Brittany Holland, R.N., in Neurology; and Dr. Robert Lavender, Professor in General Internal Medicine. Thank you for making this patient’s life – and so many others – better.
Cardiology & COVID-19
Cardiology Fellows Dr. Aakash Shah and Dr. Sabeeda Kadavath spearheaded a national initiative among cardiology fellows to share resources about cardiology and its subspecialties as it relates to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Cardiology Coalition has launched a website to disseminate this information, which may also be of use to faculty and trainees in other clinical specialties and areas of research. The coalition was formed to help members stay abreast of cardiovascular issues they may encounter during the pandemic. It has evolved to also address issues relating to patient advocacy, education and awareness.
Kudos to Dr. Shah and Dr. Kadavath for their leadership and innovation. Thanks as well to Cardiology Fellow Dr. Negar Salehi and Interventional Cardiology Fellow Dr. Atif Hassan for representing UAMS on the coalition and for their contributions to the Interventional Cardiology subsection of the website.
Grocery Store Guidance
Even our best efforts to stay home and avoid public places these days doesn’t mean parents can always avoid the grocery store. Dr. Heather Young, Assistant Professor in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, recently shared excellent advice for families in “COVID-19: Grocery Store Tips,” in Little Rock Family magazine. In fact, Dr. Young provides great information about masks, hand-washing and much more for all of us, whether or not we have young children at home. Thanks Dr. Young!
If You Give a Doc a Book …
Social distancing, working from home and online schooling can be a challenge for families. The folks at Arkansas Children’s have come to the rescue with their ongoing “Story Time” video series featuring classic and contemporary children’s books read by faculty physicians – and even a certain College of Medicine Dean. You can view the entire collection on the Arkansas Children’s Facebook videos page.
A special shout-out to Jennifer Cobb, Director of Content Marketing at Arkansas Children’s, for leading the project. The physician “stars” thus far include Drs. Chuck Bower, Kevin Bielamowicz, Christina Dalton, April Kilgore, Juan Mejia-Otero, Eduardo Ochoa, Tamara Perry, Greg Sharp, Robert Williams and retired Chief of Pediatric Cardiology Dr. J.B. Norton. I couldn’t resist getting in on the fun, and I brought a special guest, “Chip,” to my own reading of Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond’s “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” Enjoy!
May 6, 2020
Above and Beyond
Dr. Avi Bhavaraju and the Surgical Trauma team were pulled in multiple directions one recent evening with simultaneous trauma cases, consults and patients in the Surgical ICU. Then, two extremely serious cases came in back to back. Dr. Blake Hollowoa, a second-year Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery resident, had been called in to assess one of those patients. He ended up staying with the patient well beyond the scope of the consult, providing life-saving care while Dr. Bhavaraju tended to the other patient.
“Dr. Hollowoa saw that we were stretched thin and volunteered to stay,” Dr. Bhavaraju said. “He didn’t have to be asked, coaxed or talked into helping us. Without Blake’s assistance and willingness to pitch in, this patient most assuredly would have had a bad outcome. Dr. Hollowoa represents the best of what UAMS has to offer and epitomizes what it means to be an exceptionally caring and dedicated physician.” I couldn’t agree more. Dr. Hollowoa, we are profoundly grateful.
Boost for Digital Health
Congratulations to Dr. Hari Eswaran, Program Director for the UAMS-based South Central Telehealth Resource Center (SCTRC) and colleagues on their new $825,000 federal grant to provide additional crucial education and support for health care providers turning to digital health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SCTRC serves as a resource to health care providers throughout Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi. It is housed within the UAMS Institute for Digital Health and Innovation, where Dr. Eswaran, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, also serves as Director of Research and Evaluation. The new funding stems from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
Congratulations to the 2020 recipients of the Translational Research Institute’s KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Awards. The awardees include the COM’s Dr. Britni Ayers, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus, and Dr. Kimberly Stephens, Assistant Professor in the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and the Department of Pediatrics’ Center for Applied Research and Evaluation; and the College of Public Health’s Dr. Jure Baloh, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management. The KL2 program is co-led by Dr. Elisabet Borsheim, Professor of Pediatrics, and Dr. Brooks Gentry, Professor of Anesthesiology. Read more in the TRI Newsroom.
A shout-out to Dr. Barrett Burger, a second-year Medicine-Pediatrics resident who serves on the educational steering committee of The Pediatric Overflow Planning Contingency Response Network (POPCoRN). The organization of medicine, pediatric and emergency medicine trainees and attending physicians has been working for the past two months to provide guidance to children’s hospitals that are now providing urgent care for adults due to the pandemic.
Dr. Burger has led the design and supervised publication of 47 peer-reviewed “one-pager” articles on the care of the most common adult conditions. He also served as the primary author on the guide for acute care of COVID-19. This work has been downloaded over 6,000 times by physicians in New York City alone and has been featured by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Burger will appear on an upcoming Pediatric Hospital Medicine podcast. Click here for more information about the initiative from Dr. Burger.
Culinary Medicine Goes Virtual
Bravo to Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis, Dr. Gina Drobena, Margaret Pauly, RD, and the entire Culinary Medicine team for their work to convert the innovative educational program to an entirely virtual platform. Thanks to their efforts, the “health-meets-food” curriculum for medical and other UAMS students, as well as a course for patients and community members, will continue unhindered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team partnered with the UAMS Institute for Digital Health, drawing on the expertise of Instructional Specialists Kim Lamb and Brian Lee and Director of Education Dr. Stanley Ellis. The project will be completed by June, with instructional videos for health professionals and students on the LearnOnDemand portal and community modules on the UAMS PatientsLearn portal, as well as links on the Culinary Medicine website.
The Mask Brigade
As face masks have become the norm on campus and beyond, it’s important to remember the faces behind the masks – the colleagues, friends and strangers whose days and circumstances may be more difficult than we know. It turns out there is something else behind many of these masks: a story of generosity.
Dr. Kevin Raney, Professor and Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was surprised and grateful when Dr. Tung-chin Chiang, an Assistant Professor in the College of Public Health and research collaborator with Dr. Alan Tackett, dropped off fabric masks for everyone in his department.
Dr. Raney learned that Dr. Chiang and her family have donated thousands of masks worldwide – including over 1,000 at UAMS alone. Dr. Chiang and her husband, COPH Professor Dr. Joseph Su, have put in countless hours to the project at UAMS. Dr. Chiang and her sister Jenny, with help from other sisters in Taiwan, designed their masks and coordinated production and shipment to places with limited immediate access to masks. Their efforts are dedicated to their late father, Fong-chan Chiang, and in the hope of having an impact on reducing the spread of COVID-19.
“We hope everyone can wear masks together to bring down the curve worldwide!” Dr. Chiang wrote to Dr. Raney.
Perhaps you have received one of these masks – or one of many thousands of others that have been made or contributed by generous, resourceful and creative members of Team UAMS and the community. There are countless good folks on our Mask Brigade, and we are grateful for them all.
Dr. Chiang has a great idea for anyone who wants to give thanks for those contributing masks: Make a contribution of time or money to the UAMS Stocked and Reddie Food Pantry. I applaud this idea and encourage you to consider it.
April 29, 2020
Congratulations to Dr. Laura James, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the UAMS Translational Research institute, on her election to the national Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) Board of Directors. Dr. James, who has directed TRI since 2014, also serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research at UAMS. She joins 13 other directors of Clinical and Translational Science Award (TSA) institutions on the ACTS Board of Directors. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
COVID-19 & the Heart
Congratulations to Dr. J.L. Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, on his timely and important article on COVID-19 and the cardiovascular system, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine. Dr. Mehta, who also holds the Stebbins Chair in Cardiology, is the senior author on the editorial written with colleagues in Rome and the Italian Federation of Cardiology.
A shout-out to Dr. James Yuen, Professor and Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery, and senior medical student Santiago Gonzalez on their timely article accepted for publication in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the highly regarded journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The forward-thinking article calls on the society and its members to advocate for and implement telemedicine avenues to involve medical students and sidelined residents in surgical education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article recommends using telemedicine for education in clinic and surgery settings. Great job!
Congratulations to Dr. James Fletcher, Assistant Professor in the Division of Palliative Medicine, on becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (FAAHPM). Fellow status is the highest honor that the AAHPM, the only national society in the specialty, bestows on physician members. Read more about Dr. Fletcher in the UAMS Newsroom.
Dr. Arpan Prabhu, a first-year Radiation Oncology resident, recently published two manuscripts. The first article, in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, examined the federal political contribution characteristics of U.S. radiation oncologists from 2003-2018. The manuscript was originally accepted as an oral abstract for the American Radium Society conference, which was postponed due to COVID-19. His second article, published in Brachytherapy, analyzed patent innovation in brachytherapy over the past two decades. Dr. Prabhu was mentored by Assistant Professor Dr. Gary Lewis. Well done!
We have so many heroes on the front line of caring for COVID-19 patients at UAMS. Two of them are hospitalists Dr. John Gray and Dr. Ian Crane, who have been involved in the care of the lion’s share of our COVID patients over the past six weeks. I join with Dr. Aaron Wenger, Director of the Division of Hospital Medicine, in expressing our gratitude for their selfless service, along with the significant contributions of fellow hospitalists Dr. Sreelakshmi Ravula, Dr. Nadia Alqurini and Dr. Bharat Dhanireddy.
The Extra Mile
I continue to delight in the creativity, generosity and thoughtfulness of our team members during the COVID-19 crisis. From Pediatrics to Geriatrics, so many are going the extra mile!
At Arkansas Children’s, the team in General Pediatrics made sure children were able to stay on schedule with immunizations while non-emergent clinical services were scaled back. Their solution: a colorful, fun drive-thru immunization station in a covered area previously set up for COVID-19 screening. Children were greeted by nurses offering hula hoops, bubbles, crayons and more, and posters of underwater scenes from “Finding Nemo” decorated the walls. Dr. Sowmya Patil, Interim Chief of General Pediatrics, applauded clinic team members Patti Martin, Kelley Means, Jessica Boswell and Karalyn Kerby for organizing the drive-thru station.
I also heard several wonderful stories from the Department of Geriatrics. Kellie Coleman, Ottenheimer Community Fitness Center Coordinator, is ensuring that seniors, including members of a Move for PD (Parkinson ’s disease) class, continue to have virtual fitness opportunities. She is also making and donating cloth masks for UAMS staff and has provided several for Dr. Priya Mendiratta to give to homeless citizens in Little Rock. Meanwhile, Dr. Yingni Che, a research associate, has donated hand sanitizer to many first responders and others across the community, as well as made and designed face masks to protect workers on the front lines. Geriatrics Fellowship Coordinator Joni Pharis, M3 Clerkship Coordinator Patty Summons, Geriatrics Administrator Suzy Sun, Chair Dr. Jeanne Wei, Geriatrics fellows and others even found time to coordinate birthday greetings and a social-distance-compliant surprise party for Dr. Mendiratta.
April 22, 2020
Expert Advisors for Arkansas
The longer-term response to COVID-19 in Arkansas will be informed by the expertise of public health experts from UAMS and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) who will examine testing capabilities, social distancing protocols and other factors as members of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Medical Advisory Committee for Post-Peak COVID-19 Response.
I want to take a moment to express gratitude for those serving on the committee, including Dr. Jose Romero, ADH Chief Medical Officer and Professor and Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s; Dr. Jerrilyn Jones, ADH Medical Director for Preparedness and Response and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine; Dr. Sam Greenfield, ADH Medical Director for Family Health and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Dr. Austin Porter, ADH Deputy Chief Science Officer and Assistant Professor in the UAMS College of Public Health. Thanks also to our colleagues Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of ADH and Committee Chair; Dr. Greg Bledsoe, Arkansas Surgeon General; Dr. Naveen Patil, ADH Medical Director for Infectious Disease; and Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, ADH State Epidemiologist.
For the Kids
The new Day Camp for school-aged children of team members, a partnership of UAMS and the Little Rock School District, will help many families in the weeks and months ahead. This huge undertaking is made possible by scores of volunteers and contributors. Among them are 47 employees of our Department of Pediatrics-led Kids First program and 18 Head Start staff members. These outstanding programs are also donating items for the Day Camp including children’s games, paper, crayons and other art supplies, masks, gloves and sanitizers. Meanwhile, the department’s Foster Care team members are helping to staff screening sites at UAMS. Hats off to these volunteers and everyone who has stepped up in so many ways.
When Dr. Jerry Ware, a member of the COM Scholarship Committee and Associate Director of Arkansas INBRE, reviewed scholarship applications for next fall’s incoming medical students, he noticed that over a third of the applicants had undergraduate research experiences linked to the Arkansas INBRE program. That speaks to the impact of the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence and the INBRE team led by Dr. Larry Cornett. Indeed, early exposure to biomedical research prepares our students for the rigors of medical school and the fast pace of bench to bedside practice they will encounter in their careers. Providing undergraduate research opportunities is just one of the ways the UAMS and University of Arkansas-led program, funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, works to expand and strengthen biomedical research in Arkansas. Great work!
The Society for Critical Care Medicine accepted a PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Abdallah Dalabih, Associate Professor in the Critical Care Section of the Department of Pediatrics, for its COVID-19 Rapid Resource Center website. Dr. Dalabih contributed “Noninvasive Ventilation Aerosol Producing? Is There a Risk?” which can be viewed here. Kudos for sharing your expertise nationally, Dr. Dalabih.
Putting Patients First
Dr. Mary Nance, a first-year Psychiatry resident, wrote to let me know about the superb patient care and collegial assistance provided by Dr. Scott Kaczenski, a fourth-year Medicine-Pediatrics resident. Dr. Nance, fourth-year Psychiatry resident Dr. Megan Mueller and Assistant Professor Dr. Jessica Coker recently consulted Internal Medicine for help with a patient with a difficult medical history and multiple medication prescriptions. Rather than simply offering advice, Dr. Kaczenski called pharmacies and clinics to assist in gathering information to formulate a safe and appropriate plan for the patient. Just a week earlier, Dr. Nance had needed a consult on another patient. Dr. Kaczenski, who was on call then as well, recommended an ICU consult but still immediately went to the Psychiatric Research Institute to assess the patient. Great job!
Congratulations to Dr. Meera Mohan, a graduating Hematology-Oncology fellow, on receiving a Merit Award from Conquer Cancer, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Foundation. Dr. Mohan was the first author on an abstract, “Clinical implications of loss of minimal residual disease (MRD) negativity in multiple myeloma.” The abstract was also one of 12 accepted for presentation in a poster discussion session on plasma cell dyscrasia at the ASCO Annual meeting, which will be held online in late May. The Myeloma Center’s Dr. Maurizio Zangari, Professor of Internal Medicine, mentored the project.
ED Consultant of the Month
Congratulations to Dr. Sean Parham, a second-year Orthopaedic Surgery resident, on being named Consultant of the Month by our Emergency Medicine residents. Dr. Parham was recognized for going out of his way to help the ED team, such as arranging for online access to the spine service call schedule. “Sean not only provides great patient care, but also takes the time to teach us,” commented one of the residents. “He is always prompt, efficient and has a great attitude,” said another.
Art & Medicine
And finally this week, Dr. Erick Messias, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, and Samuel Byrd, a first-year medical student, were both in the spotlight last week for their poetry, which goes to show how art and medicine go hand in hand. Dr. Messias’ “We Are All Immigrants Now” was featured in Stanford Medicine’s “Voice of a Physician,” a weekly selection of stories and other works from physicians across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Samuel Byrd’s “Fair Share of Coffee” received an Honorable Mention in the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas’ 2020 Jeanie Dolan Carter Collegiate Poetry Contest. Congratulations to both!
April 15, 2020
Tools for a Healthy Mind
Mental health is a serious concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for health care professionals. Dr. Sacha McBain, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Surgery and Associate Director for Physical Trauma in the Center for Trauma Prevention, Recovery and Innovation, is one of the warriors fighting back with information about stress, anxiety and other mental health concerns. Dr. McBain worked with Dr. Tim Atkinson, Dr. Carol Thrush and the GME team to produce a video providing tangible tips for medical residents and others from Stress First Aid, a peer-support model for high-risk occupations. She also drew praise from the Arkansas Medical Society and Psychiatry Chair Dr. Rick Smith for her swift work to compile guidance on coping during COVID-19 for Arkansas physicians. Great job!
Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Hunt, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services, on being named the 2020 Outstanding Woman Faculty at UAMS. By a vote of her peers, she was recognized for her work to champion women in medicine at UAMS and nationally. This latest honor for Dr. Hunt is especially timely, given her extraordinary leadership in developing laboratory testing capabilities and our drive-through screening and triage services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know I speak for all of us in the COM in expressing how grateful and honored we are to have Dr. Hunt as a colleague.
We are also thankful for the exceptional contributions and service of this year’s other finalists for the award. They include the COM’s Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Breast Surgical Oncology; and Dr. Michele Moss, Professor of Pediatrics, who has devoted her career to providing world-class Pediatric Cardiology care at Arkansas Children’s. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
Putting Patients First
The adaptability and commitment to teamwork we are seeing during this challenging time is phenomenal. Joni Barker, APRN, a nurse practitioner in the Integrated Medicine Service Line, told me about the prompt and collaborative efforts of Dr. Dora Smith, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Inpatient Obstetric Services, and Dr. W. Conan Mustain, Assistant Professor in Colorectal Surgery, to help a patient who needed to be evaluated in person following a telemedicine visit. Because a visit away from the main campus was best for this patient, she was seen in the Women’s Health Clinic on Financial Centre Parkway. In addition to the fantastic teamwork of Ms. Barker, Dr. Smith and Dr. Mustain, this demonstrates how UAMS continues to be “open for business,” providing outstanding care for Arkansans in multiple ways.
Congratulations to the College of Medicine faculty members who have been selected as Research Academy Scholars in a joint initiative of the UAMS Division of Research and Innovation and the UAMS Translational Research Institute. Three of the six inaugural scholars are COM faculty: Dr. Jin-Ran Chen, Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Dr. Nirmala Parajuli, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Dr. Kristin Zorn, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Program mentors include the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology’s Dr. Alexei Basnakian, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Dr. Shuk-Mei Ho, and Dr. Yuet-Kin “Ricky” Leung; Dr. Timothy Chambers and Dr. Robert Eoff of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Dr. Steven Post of the Department of Pathology; and Dr. Sean Adams and Dr. Jessica Snowden of the Department of Pediatrics. Kudos to all!
The College of Nursing’s Dr. Melodee Harris and the College of Medicine’s Dr. Priya Mendiratta, Associate Professor and Director of the Geriatrics Clerkship, and additional colleagues in Nursing and Pharmacy published insights from a recent study in the Journal of Interprofessional Practice and Education. The team found that video-enabled standardized patient simulations can be successfully incorporated in health care education to prepare students with interprofessional competencies for screening older adults at risk for late-life depression. Among many benefits, this innovation has the potential to help educational institutions overcome geographic barriers to learning and, ultimately, minimize the isolation of older adults and increase their access to needed care. Well done!
Dr. Carol Thrush, Associate Professor of Surgery/GME, led an interprofessional UAMS team on an invited scoping review paper about mobile spaced education published in Current Surgery Reports. Coauthors were Dr. Karina Clemmons, Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Director of Curriculum Evaluation and Improvement for the COM; Susan Steelman, MLIS, AHIP, Professor and Head of Education and Research Services in the UAMS Library; Surgery resident Dr. Tamara Osborn; and Dr. Katie Kimbrough, Associate Professor and Program Director of the General Surgery Residency program and the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship. Their findings suggest a substantial return on investment for implementing mobile spaced education in undergraduate and graduate surgical education.
Downtime is Go Time
And finally this week, a shout-out to faculty members, residents and students who are making impressive use of the clinical downtime the COVID-19 pandemic has forced on so many. In Ophthalmology and the Jones Eye Institute, for example, faculty and learners have teamed up on numerous scholarly projects, often finalizing and submitting research articles and surgical video projects they had initiated before the outbreak.
“Students are very interested in finding other worthwhile activities to work on during this time away from the hospital,” said Dr. Brita Rook, Assistant Professor in Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus, who has just been named Clerkship Director. “Faculty are similarly using this time to finish projects we may not otherwise have as much time to work on.” Third-year medical student Michelle Huynh created two videos of surgeries (available here and here on CSurgeries.com) that were performed by Dr. Rook and third-year resident Dr. Joseph Fong.
“Our residents are doing a stellar job in publishing,” said Dr. Ahmed Sallam, Associate Professor and Program Director of the Ophthalmology Residency. Dr. Sallam and fourth-year resident Dr. John Chancellor recently had a case report on fungal endophthalmitis accepted for publication in the very prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. They also had a video accepted by the competitive American Academy of Ophthalmology 1-Minute Video series.
Third-year students Adam Neuhouser and Victoria Ly also worked on video projects with Dr. Sallam, including this on CSurgeries.com. Fourth-year resident Dr. Riley Sanders worked with Dr. Sallam on a video for the AAO website and with Dr. Sami Uwaydat on a video accepted and posted on Eyetube.net.
April 8, 2020
Congratulations to the Department of Anesthesiology’s Dr. Johnathan Goree, who was named Arkansas Physician of the Year at the Arkansas Business Healthcare Heroes virtual celebration last week. Dr. Goree was honored for his dedication to fighting the opioid crisis and providing Arkansans with innovative and compassionate pain care.
We are also proud of our colleagues who were finalists in several categories, including Dr. Thomas Kiser (Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation) and Dr. Jon Oden (Pediatric Endocrinology) for Physician of the Year. Finalists for Innovation Hero included Dr. Mayumi Nakagawa (Pathology); Dr. Erin Mannen (Orthopaedic Surgery); and the Orthopaedic Hand Trauma Telemedicine Program, which includes Dr. John Bracey, Dr. Thomas Frazier, Dr. Sean Morell, Dr. Mark Tait and Dr. Theresa Wyrick-Glover. UAMS Medical Center was a finalist for Large Hospital of the Year, and we are so pleased that Arkansas Children’s Northwest won the Small/Rural Hospitals category.
A shout-out to Dr. Stacie Jones, Professor of Pediatrics, and colleagues in the Division of Allergy and Immunology for their hard work and successful effort to obtain initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for an adult and pediatric Allergy and Immunology Fellowship program at Arkansas Children’s. The program will have two fellowship positions and help to train outstanding specialists for Arkansans of all ages.
Dr. Jill Mhyre, Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology, has been selected for the highly competitive Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program at Drexel University College of Medicine. The one-year fellowship provides intensive leadership training, networking and mentoring opportunities for outstanding current and emerging women leaders in academic medicine and other health professions. I was honored to nominate Dr. Mhyre, who also received strong endorsements from Dr. Brooks Gentry, Dr. Jan Shorey, Dr. Steppe Mette, Dr. Brian Gittens and other UAMS leaders. We know she will contribute greatly to the national program as well as bring insights from ELAM participation to UAMS. Congratulations Dr. Mhyre!
As Chair of the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Standards Committee, Dr. Lawrence Tarbox, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics, is on the forefront of issues pertaining to the security of radiology images. He is an author on a paper highlighted on the cover of the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, “DICOM Images Have Been Hacked! Now What?” and is featured in two associated podcasts. Dr. Tarbox also will teach a course on DICOM security at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Great work!
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has done a remarkable job overcoming the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, for the benefit of OB/GYN providers and their patients at UAMS and across the state. Assistant Professors Dr. Luann Racher and Dr. Chad Taylor were instrumental in developing a Women’s Health Telemedicine Toolkit now available on the UAMS Health website. The kit includes telemedicine guidance for physicians and patient guides for managing pregnancy and prenatal visits during the pandemic, in both English and Spanish. Meanwhile, the department’s faculty and staff found time to coordinate and pitch in to provide a meal for about 80 people, along with other supplies, at Our House in Little Rock. Thank you, OB/GYN team!
Dr. Lowry Barnes, Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, has assumed leadership of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons as its 30th President. Dr. Barnes addressed the association’s board of directors via video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the tough issues the organization and surgeons face this year. Like Dr. Barnes’ national peers, we are fortunate to have his strong leadership at UAMS at this time. Read more about Dr. Barnes in the COM Newsroom.
Kudos to Dr. Maya Lopez, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and her team in the Arkansas Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Program, for their superb work on a newly released report regarding the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Arkansas youth. The report, part of national data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that one in 66 Arkansas 8-year-olds had ASD in 2016, the latest available data, compared with one in 77 two years earlier. Dr. Lopez explained that the increase might be due in part to improvements in diagnostic and treatment services. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
Congratulations to Dr. Amir Mian, Associate Professor in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, on being named to the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology (ASPHO) Practice Committee leadership. Dr. Mian will serve as Vice-Chair for 2020 and as Chair in 2021, leading the committee’s mission to analyze national workforce issues and trends, including compensation, productivity and quality improvement, for the specialty.
Heroes in Triage
Amid the hard work, constant change and uncertainty in our efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the stories I hear about our heroes on the front lines continue to inspire. This past week, the Department of Surgery’s Dr. Janina Bonwich wrote to praise the contributions of Dr. Edita Newton, a second-year Dermatology resident who has served as a trainer for rotating screeners at our drive-thru triage operation. “She had great ideas and was constantly assessing the workflow, etc., to improve the process,” Dr. Bonwich wrote. “A great asset, indeed.”
Neurology Chair Dr. Lee Archer also took time to shine the spotlight on a deserving team member, Barbara McDonald, APRN. Already known for her outstanding care of headache patients in the Neurosciences Service Line, the retired U.S. Air Force Captain put her military experience to work in the triage operation. She helped improve the traffic flow, duty assignments and overall structure. “Barbara is universally praised, appreciated and respected in that area,” Dr. Archer wrote, noting that she puts in 60-70 hours a week between her work in triage and with headache patients. “She is the perfect example of someone who has risen to the occasion in this pandemic.”
Spreading Kindness … COVID-19 isn’t the only thing going viral
Finally this week, I want to share an incredible account of the excellence – and kindness – of the staff working in the E4 Medical Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Harriet K. Kayanja, Assistant Professor in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine wrote:
I don’t have enough words to describe what it has been like to work alongside this team as we all got to learn and get comfortable taking care of the COVID-19 patients.
They have shown tremendous courage under a lot of stress, and frankly fear, with a lot of unknown and changing recommendations and procedures. They have taken it in stride with smiles under the PPEs. They take care of each other, and if you listen to the individual stories, many are sacrificing time away from their families to be able to come to work and also keep their families safe.
On a personal note, they showed incredible kindness to me on my birthday and surprised me with cake and food. This was in the midst of learning the donning and doffing and everything in between. Yet in the midst of that, they found time to be kind and selfless.
Thank you, E4 team. You exemplify the teamwork and spirit that will help us all prevail in this public health crisis.
April 1, 2020
Terrific in Triage
A trio of team members is a big reason our drive-through testing and triage operation is running so efficiently. I join with Dr. Stephen Sorsby, Medical Director of the Family Medical Center and Community Programs, in saluting the incredible leadership of Pathology Chair Dr. Jennifer Hunt, who stepped up to fill a critical need, and Integrated Medicine Service Line Clinical Services Manager Deb Hutts, MSN, RN, who took the lead on coordinating logistics and staffing. Dr. Sorsby also praised Dr. Alexa Martin, a second-year Family Medicine resident, who stepped in to train the rotating providers and help make the entire triage process more effective. We are grateful for these three and all of you who are serving in triage.
Bioethics Leadership in a Pandemic
Our Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics has long been on the forefront of national and international discussion of the most pressing bioethics issues, and the faculty’s expertise and leadership has never been more important than now. Professor and Chair Dr. D. Micah Hester and Assistant Professors Dr. Laura Guidry-Grimes and Dr. Jamie Carlin Watson were coauthors on “Ethical Framework for Health Care Institutions and Guidelines for Institutional Ethics Services Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic” from the internationally renowned Hastings Center. The publication is helping to guide policies throughout the United States and around the world. We are very fortunate to have this world-class team at UAMS!
The Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology has selected an article by Dr. Bill Culp, Professor of Radiology, Surgery and Neurology, and colleagues as a Distinguished Clinical Study for 2019. The seminal article on the first human stroke trial of dodecafluoropentane emulsion demonstrated the safety of DDFPe for carrying oxygen to hypoxic brain tissue during acute stroke. The drug also showed significant evidence of efficacy in the study, which was supported by the Jonathan S. Fitch Distinguished Chair in Stroke, which Dr. Culp holds.
Dr. Culp’s coauthors included Dr. Sanjeeva Onteddu (Neurology), Dr. Aliza Brown (Radiology/Neurology), Dr. Krishna Nalleballe (Neurology), Dr. Rohan Sharma (Neurology), Dr. Robert Skinner (Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences), Dr. Taylor Witt (Radiology), Dr. Paula Roberson (Biostatistics), and Dr. James Marsh (Internal Medicine). The Society of Interventional Radiology was planning to honor Dr. Culp at its annual meeting in Seattle this week. The meeting was canceled, but I know you will join me in applauding Dr. Culp and his team!
Bravo Baptist-UAMS FM!
Congratulations to Dr. Julea Garner, Program Director, and the entire Baptist Health-UAMS Family Medicine Residency team for receiving a full 10-year accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The program received a glowing final report from the ACGME, a phenomenal accomplishment for a community hospital-based program. This is a strong testament to the residency’s leadership, faculty and staff as well as their supportive teams at UAMS and Baptist Health. Bravo!
Thanks to Dr. Beatrice Boateng, Assistant Dean for Faculty Assessment and Evaluation for our college and Director of Evaluation in the Translational Research Institute, for her work to launch our new Scholarly Product Repository. The repository was created to acknowledge and document peer-reviewed and accepted abstracts, posters and other scholarly work affected by cancellations of regional and national meetings due to COVID-19. “Several research faculty and their chairs have expressed gratitude for this tool, and Dr. Boateng was a key player in making it happen so quickly and so well,” said Dr. Erick Messias, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs. “She has been a great addition to the Faculty Affairs team and has definitely helped to strengthen our partnership with TRI.”
Congratulations to Dr. Roy Morello, Dr. John Carroll and their colleagues at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s on the publication of their new paper on respiratory system defects relating to osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) in the American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. Dr. Morello is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Division of Genetics. Dr. Carroll, Professor of Pediatrics and Physiology and Biophysics, is the James H. Hamlen II Endowed Chair in Pediatric Pulmonology at Arkansas Children’s. Their work demonstrates intrinsic respiratory system defects in a mouse model of osteogenesis imperfecta and provides a physiological explanation for the respiratory distress in the neonatal period and the progressive impairment in adult pulmonary function that is often observed in patients with the disease. Read more about the collaboration here.
Congratulations to the newly named scholars in the UAMS Translational Research Institute’s Health Sciences Innovation and Entrepreneurship Postdoctoral Training Program – and a shout-out to their College of Medicine mentors. The scholars and mentors are: Dr. Emilie Darrigues (Dr. Analiz Rodriguez, Neurosurgery); Shana Owens, Ph.D. Candidate (Dr. Craig Forrest, Microbiology and Immunology); John Sherrill, M.P.H., Ph.D. Candidate (Dr. David Bumpass, Orthopaedic Surgery); and Dr. Zachary Waldrip (Dr. Marie Burdine, Surgery). Thanks as well to Dr. Nancy Rusch, Professor and Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology, who directs the program, along with leadership team members Dr. Nancy Gray, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and President of UAMS BioVentures, and Dr. Kevin Sexton, Assistant Professor of Surgery. Read more on the TRI website.
Our Internal Medicine and Medicine-Pediatrics residents are among those have truly risen to the occasion these last several weeks while having to put other things on hold. “Our residents are the backbone of our program, and it is admirable how they have evolved to handle the current situation,” writes Dr. Gayathri Krishnan, Chief Resident in Internal Medicine. “Many of them had to cancel state, regional or national conferences and have missed opportunities to showcase their research.” In fact, 16 residents were set to deliver a combined 12 presentations at nine conferences. Here’s a shout-out to Drs. Emily Askew, Barrett Burger, Jim Chen, Michael Cross, Akshay Goel, Charles Lavender, Jacob Leffert, Yadav Pandey, Arya Roy, Husam Salah, Emily Sanders, Tanya Sharma, Lovepreet Singh, Kirby Von Edwins, Anna Witt and Kaleb Wolfe for their excellent research!
Three faculty physicians are the inspiration behind a new endowed scholarship for College of Medicine students. Anonymous donors funded the scholarship named in honor of Neurology Chair Dr. Lee Archer and the Department of Ophthalmology’s Dr. Joseph Chacko and Dr. Sami Uwaydat. The forward-thinking donors have also offered to match up to $5,000 in additional contributions from others in order to accelerate the endowment and make more scholarships possible. Many of us have been fortunate to work with these excellent physicians and know that this is a well-earned honor. Read more in the COM Newsroom. Congratulations Dr. Archer, Dr. Chacko and Dr. Uwaydat!
Spreading Kindness: COVID-19 isn’t the only thing going viral
UAMS leaders and faculty are doing a fantastic job communicating important information to the public, as well as the UAMS team, in this difficult and uncertain time. Senior Vice Chancellor and UAMS Medical Center CEO Dr. Steppe Mette has kept us well informed with his daily briefings, and Dr. Cam Patterson’s messages as Chancellor have bolstered our sense of community.
Others are sharing information in videos and podcasts, such as Orthopaedic Surgery Chair Dr. Lowry Barnes, who discusses why hospitals have postponed elective surgeries during this health crisis. The Department of Pediatrics’ Dr. Rebecca Cantu provides a great overview of COVID-19 in the Arkansas Children’s “Live, Learn and Play” podcast.
And finally, if you have little ones at home – or you’re in need of a smile – check out Arkansas Children’s Northwest’s Story Time with Dr. Charles Bower, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Bower reads his favorite book for very young children, “Dr. Seuss’s ABC.”
March 25, 2020
Match Day is a joyous occasion every year, and last Friday’s celebration was no exception even though College of Medicine seniors had to reveal their residency destinations via videoconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A stellar team made this possible, including Dr. Sara Tariq, Dr. James Graham, Dr. Karina Clemmons and Dr. Lindsey Sward. Academic Affairs staff members Jennifer VanEcko, Sharanda Williams, Jessica White and Marcie Johnson were indispensable. Communications & Marketing staffers Chris Lesher, Amy Widner and Katrina Dupins did a phenomenal job orchestrating the Facebook Live video stream and external publicity. Of course, we are also incr11edibly proud of our seniors and how well they did in the Match. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
Clinical informatics and information technology have been critical to the development, launch, testing and operation of UAMS’ mobile triage unit. Dr. Joseph Sanford, UAMS Chief Clinical Informatics Officer, took a moment last week to let me know about the “Herculean efforts” of Director of Clinical Informatics Ashleigh Kathiresan, Dr. Kevin Sexton, Dr. David Nelsen and Dr. Donna Elrod, and the entire Clinical Informatics and IT teams over the prior weekend. The triage unit went from conception to first patient in about a day, and more than 1,600 patients were seen in the first five days alone. “Dozens of people worked far beyond the requirements of their job to accomplish this,” Dr. Sanford said. “They were, and remain, committed to doing whatever is needed to care for our patients.” Bravo!
A heartbreaking aspect of the opioid crisis and maternal opioid use is the rise in the number of infants with neonatal opioid withdraw syndrome (NOWS). The leaders of the Data Coordinating and Operations Center for the IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network, Dr. Jeannette Lee, Professor of Biostatistics, and Dr. Jessica Snowden, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, have received a $1.07 million grant from the National Institutes of Health HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative to address this problem. They are collaborating with the Duke Clinical Research Institute to support the development of two clinical trials to improve management of these infants. One of the studies will evaluate an innovative care approach aimed at decreasing the length of hospital stay for NOWS infants. The other study will examine a rapid schedule of weaning infants from opioid replacement therapy.
Knocked it out of the Park
Last year, UAMS Anesthesiology residents’ In-Training Examination (ITE) scores mirrored the national pattern. This year, they exceeded it, with 18.5% scoring in the top 10th percentile, 37% in the top 20th, and 65% in the top half. I join with Professor and Chair Dr. Jill Mhyre in congratulating the residents who scored above the 90th percentile: Drs. Loren Guzman, Jed Kinnick, Patrick Page, Daniel Bingham, Andrew Wright, Jonathan Aronson, Bryce Ferry, Nikhil Kamath and Bardia Azar. Kudos also to Dr. Shannon Dare and Dr. Riley Lide for launching the new “flipped classroom” and active learning curriculum and to Dr. Jill Ramsey for what Dr. Mhyre described as truly creative solutions for promoting resident wellness and capacity to study while meeting clinical demands.
Diversity in Orthopaedics
The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has created an innovative scholarship to help recruit underrepresented minority medical students to its program through fourth-year visiting student rotations. Special thanks to Dr. Corey Montgomery, Associate Professor and Director of Student Clerkships, for his scholarly work aimed at increasing diversity in orthopaedic surgery and his leadership on fundraising for the scholarship during the 2019 Day of Giving. The drive raised almost $8,500, which was generously matched by Professor Dr. John Vander Schilden, for a total of almost $17,000 to support up to five scholarships. As Professor and Chair Dr. Lowry Barnes notes, diversity-focused efforts like this are important for the specialty and our state. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
The UAMS Little Rock Family Medicine Residency Program has received its third consecutive commendation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for being in compliance with all requirements and having no areas noted for need of improvement. The program has not received any citations from the ACGME in more than five years, and the program’s graduates have maintained a 100% first-time board pass rate for the past seven years. Special thanks to Dr. Shashank Kraleti, Residency Program Director; Dr. Diane Jarrett, Assistant Residency Director and the department’s Director of Education; Residency Coordinator Kathy Carlson; and all of excellent faculty members who contribute to the program.
Congratulations and thanks to Dr. Sisira Yadala, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Director of the Division of Epilepsy, and Dr. Viktoras Palys, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, for their excellent work to obtain Level 4 Epilepsy Center accreditation – the highest level – from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers for the next two years. Great job!
A shout-out to third-year medical student Muhammad Abu-Rmaileh for being selected for a poster presentation at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Conference in Boston and the Society of Lateral Access Spine Surgery meeting in Chicago this spring. Both events were canceled due to COVID-19, but I join with Muhammad’s mentor, Dr. Noojan Kazemi in the Department of Neurosurgery, in commending him for his research into a novel approach to sacroiliac (SI) joint fusion surgery and its outcomes. M2 Sidhant Dalal, winner of the People’s Choice Award for his oral presentation at the recent Three Minute Thesis Semifinals, also participated in the research.
Congratulations to Dr. Isabelle Racine Miousse, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and colleagues on having their publication selected as the best research paper in the March issue of the American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. The team’s research suggests that a diet high in methionine, such as a typical Western diet, may worsen the gastrointestinal side effects from radiation therapy and thus prevent cancer patients from receiving the most effective doses of radiation therapy. Read more on the UAMS Translational Research Institute website.
The Arkansas Children’s ECMO team and UAMS Department of Pediatrics were well represented at the recent Children’s National Symposium in Keystone, Colorado. The conference included educational meetings for providers working with neonatal, pediatric and adult patients experiencing respiratory and/or cardiovascular failure. The Arkansas delegation contributed two invited oral presentations: Blake Frazier, RN, ECMO Program Manager, “Supply and Demand: Getting the Right Equipment to the Bedside, Fast!”; and Dr. Courtney Cox, Pediatric Critical Care fellow, “No Two Units are the Same: Results from a Multi-Center Survey of ECMO Resting Ventilator Settings.” Two additional poster presentations by made by Pediatric Critical Care fellows: Dr. Mireille Liboiron and Dr. Cassandra Louis, “No Platelets? No Problem! Anticipating Complications of HUS in Children Receiving ECMO Support;” and “An Analysis of Inter-institutional Pediatric ECMO.”
Spreading Kindness: COVID-19 isn’t the only thing going viralFinally this week, I am very pleased to share a message that Dr. Jennifer Hunt, Professor and Chair of Pathology, just sent to Dr. Shuk-Mei Ho, Dr. Richard P. Morrison and the UAMS research community. Like Dr. Hunt, I am profoundly grateful for how so many have stepped up to the plate. This is collegiality at its finest.
Over the past 10 days, I have reinvigorated my gratitude practice. It is one of the few proven things that increases happiness, and we all need more happiness right now. And, I also share my gratitude with the recipient(s), because that’s also been proven to amplify and sustain the happiness effects beyond just me.
This morning as I prepare for another day, I am reflecting on our research community and feeling grateful for all of you. We are thrown into the midst of this crisis, where the clinical teams know what to do. They’ve trained for this, have specific jobs to carry out. But, what happens when the clinical mission becomes massive and overshadows the other missions for a period of time? Where do our educators and investigators find meaning and purpose during this time of fear, anxiety and crisis? I have at least one potential answer…they donate. We have received incredible donations of every kind: tubes, reagents, supplies, and crucial components. Our UAMS and UA system investigators are digging deep to find things we need every single day, some of which would stop us in our tracks if we didn’t have. Who would have thought that this week’s limiting component would be backordered tubes? And, who would have thought we would get thousands donated within an hour or two?
And, our research community is also donating intellect, brain power, innovation, and ideas–even if we don’t have time to think about them today. While we implement the most simple and streamlined approaches for testing, our research community is thinking about generation 2.0 and how we can make it better, faster, more efficient. We will need this for the marathon we are running.
And, our research community is donating time. We have teams of scientists and highly trained research staff stepping up for support of clinical testing. We have people coming in on the weekend to make up reagents for us.
So today, I am specifically and intentionally grateful to our research community, for stepping up and answering our calls for help.
March 18, 2020
Expertise on Hand
A shout-out to Dr. Jose Romero, Professor and Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, for his outstanding job communicating with physicians in Northwest Arkansas about COVID-19 on Monday. Dr. Romero joined Chancellor Cam Patterson for a news conference with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and met with area physicians. As an internationally known expert in viruses, childhood immunizations and controlling infectious diseases, he did a great job addressing concerns. As Dr. Patterson said to me, “We are very lucky to have him on our team!”
It’s uncommon for U.S. research institutions to receive grants from the European Union, but a UAMS Biomedical Informatics team led by Professor and Chair Dr. Fred Prior has done just that. UAMS has received a four-year grant of 805,479 euros (nearly $900,000) to lead a joint venture with colleagues at Emory University as part of a major international project based at the University of Barcelona in Spain. The goal is to build a distributed data management and machine-learning infrastructure so that cancer data, including imaging and genomics, can remain in a local institution while being curated and formatted consistently for use in training new Artificial Intelligence algorithms that are passed from site to site. Congratulations to Dr. Prior and UAMS colleagues Dr. Lawrence Tarbox, Kirk Smith, William Bennett and Tracy Nolan.
Margaret Woods, a Research Assistant in the Department of Surgery, and Nicole McGehee, a Program Manager, both members of the Health Initiatives and Disparities Research Office, were accepted for a podium presentation at the Xavier University Health Disparities Conference in New Orleans later this month. They were invited to share information about the outstanding screening efforts of the UAMS Colorectal Cancer Screening and Prevention Program. Although this event was canceled due to COVID-19, I want to congratulate and thank Ms. Woods, Ms. McGehee and their interdisciplinary colleagues in the Health Initiatives and Disparities Research Office, Dr. Dina Jones, Dr. Karen Crowell, Dr. Pebbles Fagan and Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman.
Great Work, Residents
Two residents working with the Division of Pediatric Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at Arkansas Children’s, Pediatrics resident Dr. Adam Price and Internal Medicine resident Dr. Caitlan Murphy, were selected to present posters at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Philadelphia. Dr. Price also received a Resident Travel Award from the Academy. I join with Dr. Josh Kennedy in applauding these residents for their research, which they won’t be able to present this month due to the conference’s cancellation. Dr. Price’s mentors are Dr. Kennedy, Dr. Stacie Jones and Dr. Richard Kurten. Dr. Murphy’s mentors are Dr. Kennedy and the Department of Biomedical Informatics’ Dr. Michael Robeson.
And the Winners Are …
Congratulations to the College of Medicine students, Graduate School students and postdoctoral fellows who took home top honors in their divisions at Student Research Day last week with help from outstanding COM faculty mentors. Third-year medical student AlleaBelle Gongola earned first place in the “3MT” (Three Minute Thesis) Finals, with mentoring from the Department of Surgery’s Dr. Kevin Sexton and Dr. Hanna Jensen. M3 Brianna Klucher placed second with mentoring from Surgery’s Dr. Katie Kimbrough. Second-year medical students swept the COM Poster Presentation competition, with Clayton Davis taking first (Dr. Jerry Ware, Physiology/Biophysics); Kevin Fialkowski in second (Dr. Keith Bush, Psychiatry); and Morgan Treece (Dr. Luann Racher, Obstetrics/Gynecology) placing third.
In the Graduate School Poster Presentations, the top three finishers were Megan Reed (Dr. Robert Eoff, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology); David Henry (Dr. Sung Rhee, Pharmacology/Toxicology); and Melissa Clemens (Dr. Mitch McGill, College of Public Health). Postdoctoral fellows earning top honors for their posters were Dr. Kirk West (Dr. Justin Leung, Radiation Oncology); Dr. Takeo Shibata (Dr. Mayumi Nakagawa, Pathology); and Dr. Kindann Fawcett (Dr. Aline Andres, Pediatrics).
Many contributed to this fantastic annual event. Very special thanks to Dr. Bobby McGehee and Dr. Latrina Prince in the Graduate School, the Academic Senate, Leslie Humphries in the ABI Office, Linda Williams in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Fred Goad in Pharmacology/Toxicology and Ernie Bailey and the team in UAMS IT/Classroom Technology. Well done!
Above and Beyond
Finally this week, I want to share two stories that illustrate some of the remarkable ways folks are going above and beyond in this extremely challenging time.
Dr. Jennifer Hunt ordinarily works long days as Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology. This week, she felt compelled to do even more. Dr. Hunt has voluntarily covered UAMS’ drive-up COVID-19 screening and triage site for the past five consecutive nights, putting in an additional 22 hours under very trying circumstances. For someone whose primary responsibilities do not typically involve direct patient care, this is remarkable and laudable.
I also want you to know about a patient’s incredible act of generosity in the Jones Eye Optical Shop on Monday. While having her glasses adjusted, a returning patient overheard a new patient express concern about being able to afford the glasses she needed. Without saying a word to the new patient, this generous individual quietly paid for the glasses. Needless to say, this anonymous gift meant the world to the person in need. My accolades are usually about UAMS faculty, staff, students and residents. This one is about our patients – the reason we’re here.
Thank you for all the good things you are doing when no one is looking.
March 11, 2020
GPIBS Teamwork Pays Off
The incoming class in the Graduate Program in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (GPIBS) is extremely strong, and the number of applications was the highest in many years, thanks in no small measure to a recent team effort to increase graduate student stipends.
I want to thank all of you who were involved in this effort, including GPIBS Track Directors and Department Chairs Dr. Karl Boehme and Dr. Dan Voth (Microbiology/Immunology); Dr. Robert Eoff and Dr. Kevin Raney (Biochemistry/Molecular Biology); Dr. Tom Kelly (Pathology); Dr. Lee Ann MacMillan-Crow and Dr. Nancy Rusch (Pharmacology/Toxicology); Dr. Mark Mennemeier and Dr. Gwen Childs (Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences); and Dr. Rosalia Simmen and Dr. Mike Jennings (Physiology/Biophysics). And of course, hats off to Dr. Bobby McGehee (Pediatrics) for his fantastic leadership of the Graduate School and the GPIBS program.
Congratulations to Dr. Karina Clemmons, Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics and Director of Curriculum Evaluation and Improvement for the College of Medicine, on her appointment as the Undergraduate Medical Education Section Chair on the Steering Committee for the AAMC Southern Group on Educational Affairs. The nomination reflects the growing recognition of Dr. Clemmons’ substantial expertise and dedication to medical student education here in Arkansas and beyond.
Dr. Lawrence Cornett, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and Director of Arkansas INBRE, has been elected to the National Committee of the National Association of IDeA Principal Investigators. Dr. Cornett, who has expanded Arkansas’ biomedical research infrastructure as Director of the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence since 2001, will represent the Southeastern Region. Congratulations Dr. Cornett!
Banish the Impostor!
Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Hunt, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology, on the release of her new book, “Unlocking Your Authentic Self: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome, Enhancing Self-confidence, and Banishing Self-doubt.” In addition to being a rising national leader in pathology and academic medicine, Dr. Hunt has become a leading expert in impostor syndrome, which can hold back highly capable and accomplished professional women from greater professional advancement and personal growth. Dr. Hunt gave a superb presentation on this important topic at the recent UAMS TEDx Talks, and her new book is drawing praise.
When a veteran recently came in for an ENT visit at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, third-year resident Dr. Mariah Small and Dr. Carl Shipp, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Chief of ENT Services at the VA, quickly realized the veteran was in danger of harming himself and needed mental health services. They worked compassionately with the patient and ensured that he received the help he needed. For going above and beyond, Dr. Shipp and Dr. Small received the I CARE Award – an honor recognizing “Integrity, Commitment, Respect and Excellence” – at a recent VA Director’s Meeting. Great job!
GME Excellence Across the State
A shout-out to UAMS Regional Campuses, which, like the College of Medicine, recently received continued accreditation with no citations as a Sponsoring Institution. Special thanks to Designated Institutional Officer and Education Director Tricia Edstrom, M.Ed., for her dedication and hard work to ensure the highest quality residency training at the regional campuses. Kudos as well to the leaders and faculty physicians in these excellent programs.
Presenting in Philadelphia
Two outstanding residents have been accepted for poster presentations at the Pediatric Academic Society Meeting in Philadelphia in May. Congratulations to Med-Peds resident Dr. Emily Sanders and Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellow Dr. April Clawson!
A shout-out to Dr. Whit Hall, Dr. Paul Wendel and Dr. Wendy Nembhard, who shared excellent insights on the topic of birth defects on a recent episode of the KUAR/NPR series “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” The long-running program addresses issues from the perspectives of representatives of older, middle and younger generations. The discussion benefited significantly from the broad expertise of Dr. Hall, Professor in the Neonatology Division of the Department of Pediatrics; Dr. Wendel, Professor in the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Dr. Nembhard, who serves as Associate Professor and Chair of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and Director of the Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention.
When former Cardiovascular Medicine Fellow Dr. Abhishek Deshmukh, now a faculty member and electrophysiologist at the Mayo Clinic, was honored as a 2020 Teacher of the Year by the Mayo Fellows Association, he touched bases with his mentor, UAMS Professor Dr. Hakan Paydak. “You have been my inspiration for teaching since July 2007,” Dr. Deshmukh wrote. The two first worked together at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where Dr. Deshmukh completed his internal medicine residency and Dr. Paydak served on the faculty prior to his recruitment to UAMS as Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology in 2009. Dr. Deshmukh completed his fellowship at UAMS in 2014. Thank you for your dedication to teaching and mentoring, Dr. Paydak!
March 4, 2020
Great News for GME
We were delighted to receive word from the ACGME last week that we have been granted continued accreditation status as the College of Medicine Sponsoring Institution – with no institutional citations or institutional areas requiring improvement. Like individual residency and fellowship programs, sponsoring institutions can also receive citations for issues that must be addressed. The fact that we have none is testimony to the outstanding work of Dr. Molly Gathright, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, the GME team and all of our programs. Way to Go!
Two Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology faculty members have been named to Committees of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Associate Professor Dr. Laura Hollenbach will serve on the CREOG (Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology) Examination Committee, which develops and reviews questions used on the resident in-training examination in OB/GYN. Assistant Professor Dr. Kathryn Stambough will serve on the Committee on Clinical Consensus – Gynecology, which provides clinical recommendations to practicing gynecologists. Congratulations!
Beyond the Headlines
A shout-out to Dr. Donald Johann, Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Internal Medicine, who is among the national leaders from academia, industry, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration to co-author an important new paper in the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. UAMS is a member of BloodPAC, the public-private consortium behind the paper, “Minimum Technical Data Elements for Liquid Biopsy Data Submitted to Public Databases.” Studies focusing on pre-analytical variables of advanced molecular diagnostic tests don’t tend to grab headlines, but they are foundational to valid testing and the future benefit of cancer patients. UAMS is involved in national efforts to bring liquid biopsy assays to the clinic for these patients – and this work is important in our efforts to achieve National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation.
In the VA Spotlight
Check out the homepage for VA Research, and you’ll see a familiar face – the Department of Psychiatry’s Dr. Corey Hayes, Assistant Professor in the Center for Health Services Research. A VA news feature highlights the work of Dr. Hayes with colleagues at UAMS and other institutions. The team recently reported on a VA study that found that increasing opioid prescription doses for chronic pain patients does not appear to improve their pain. Thank you, Dr. Hayes, for your hard work and dedication to fight the opioid crisis.
Coaching for Success
A shout-out to the faculty and staff who made the 11th annual Teach the Teacher Symposium last Friday a great success. Special thanks to faculty organizers Dr. Karina Clemmons, Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Dr. Sara Tariq, Professor of Internal Medicine and Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and the Office of Educational Development’s Dr. Steve Boone. Special thanks also to staff members Jennifer VanEcko, Marcie Johnson and Allison Streepey.
The symposium featured the University of Washington Medical School’s Dr. Molly Blackley Jackson, a nationally recognized expert on coaching for academic success, and insightful workshops on coaching and mentoring. Faculty presenters included the COM’s Dr. Latha Achanta (Internal Medicine), Dr. Puru Thapa (Psychiatry), Dr. Erick Messias (Psychiatry/Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs), and Dr. Meryll Pampolina (Emergency Medicine); and the College of Health Professions/Northwest Campus’ Dr. Angel Holland.
Students Shine at 3MT Semis
Congratulations to the College of Medicine students who shined at UAMS’ annual “3MT” Semifinals last week and will move on to present their three-minute theses during the Finals at UAMS Student Research Day on March 10. AlleaBelle Gongola took first place in the COM Semifinals, Sid Dalal claimed the “People’s Choice,” and Hayden Hairston, Liza Hill, Brianna Klucher, Blake Richardson and Courtney Wright were runners-up. Meanwhile, medical student Austin Morgan took first place in the all-colleges Northwest Arkansas Regional Campus Semifinals.
Many thanks to Dr. Bobby McGehee Jr., Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Dean of the Graduate School, and event team members Leslie Humphries and Latrina Prince. Kudos as well to judges Linda Williams, Dr. Lee Ann MacMillan Crow and Dr. David Wessinger.
Giving Back at 12th Street
Kudos to the faculty, residents and medical students who made the recent Women’s Health Night at the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center a big success. I join with Dr. Elizabeth Gath, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the center, in thanking Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology faculty members Dr. Laura Huffman, Dr. Renee McGraw, Dr. Kathryn Stambough and Dr. Chad Taylor, and OB/GYN residents Dr. Georgia Gamble and Dr. Ann Marie Mercier. We also applaud first-year students Brian Bumpous, Michaela Edwards, Marinna Tadros, Corbin Stinnett and Manasa Veluvolu; M2 Emily Ray; and M3s Micah Clay, Danica Ordonez, Allison Schneider and Jordan Spencer.
ED Consultant of the Month
Last month I announced the new recognition program created by Emergency Medicine residents to honor exceptional consulting resident and faculty physicians from other departments. This month’s honoree is Dr. Shannon Petrus Zehtaban, a second-year General Surgery resident. Here’s an example of the great things Emergency Medicine residents said about Dr. Zehtaban:
“She is fantastic – always willing to come and see patients, and she has a great rapport with all of the residents and faculty. Even with cases that are not surgical emergencies, but when we could use some expert advice, she comes down with a smile on and a good attitude. She will always advocate for the patient’s best interest, even when it is more work for her. She is always willing to bring ED residents and med students into rooms and teach them things that are extremely valuable. I am always happy to see her name on the call schedule.”
My breakfasts with M1s and M2s continue to be a highlight of most weeks. Here are some of the things students attending recent breakfasts said about their favorite experiences in medical school so far:
Shadowing during Practice of Medicine 1 – with nods to Dr. Bill Ventres in Family and Preventive Medicine and Dr. Melissa Helmich, along with intern Dr. Clara Tang, in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Human Structure – the Department of Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences’ Dr. Mohsin Syed, for spending extra time outside of class teaching in the lab; and Dr. David Davies, for his commitment to students’ success and helpful practice questions.
Molecules to Cells – Students concur that Dr. Alan Diekman (Biochemistry/Molecular Biology) runs an amazing course.
Ultrasound Curriculum – with excellent leadership by Dr. Kevin Phelan (Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences) and Dr. Greg Snead (Emergency Medicine).
Summer Lab Experiences – Dr. Jerry Ware (Physiology/Biophysics) was a standout.
Student Success Center – Special thanks to Dr. Jasna Vuk for helping students improve their study skills and do better academically.
Student Wellness Service – with gratitude for the Department of Psychiatry’s Dr. Puru Thapa, Medical Director, Dr. Victoria Flynn, Associate Director, and therapists Angie Moore, LCSW, and Jim Holland, LCSW.
Above and Beyond
Two of the faculty members I mentioned above received special recognition from a student who wasn’t able to attend a scheduled breakfast. In an email, the student expressed his heartfelt gratitude for Dr. Alan Diekman and Dr. David Davies for their help during a very difficult time, when a family member’s death and his own serious illness wreaked havoc on his first semester of medical school.
“Dr. Diekman showed immense understanding and compassion,” he said, emphasizing Dr. Diekman’s patience and efforts to help him review for the last crucial exam. Dr. Davies also went out of his way to help the student with his grief and illness. “He really loves his job and his students, and that is something that deserves recognition,” he said. Thank you Dr. Davies and Dr. Diekman, for exemplifying what we should all aspire to as faculty members.
February 26, 2020
Arkansas Children’s Honors
Arkansas Children’s recently honored two exemplary Pediatrics faculty members, Dr. Aline Andres, Associate Professor in Developmental Nutrition, and Dr. David Becton, Professor and Section Chief of Hematology/Oncology. Dr. Andres received the Dr. Robert H. Fiser Jr. Research Achievement Award, which honors an Arkansas Children’s Research Institute scientist whose work will have a lasting impact on the health, development and wellbeing of children and their families. Dr. Becton received the Ruth Olive Beall Award, which honors a physician who consistently displays Arkansas Children’s values of safety, teamwork, compassion and excellence. Check out these moving video tributes to Dr. Andres and Dr. Becton. Congratulations to both!
Congratulations to Dr. Grover Paul Miller, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Mary “Allie” Schleiff, a Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology (T32) Fellow in Dr. Miller’s lab, on being selected individually as finalists for the Sternfels Prize in Drug Discoveries. The annual industry-sponsored award was created to foster novel, clinically relevant, testable ideas for reducing the risks associated with real-world use of pharmaceuticals. Dr. Miller’s group develops strategies for better assessing drug liabilities causing significant adverse drug events including cardiovascular and liver toxicity. Learn more about Dr. Miller’s and Allie’s proposed projects and the important work being done by this group here.
Leader and Scholar
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology recently honored Dr. Pat Magann, Professor and Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the MFM Fellowship, for his remarkable contributions to research and education. Dr. Magann reached a major career milestone in December with 350 PMID publications in the medical literature. As the department’s newly appointed Vice Chair for Education and Research, Dr. Magann will support other excellent educational leaders in OB/GYN and work to increase publications and funding of clinical and basic science research. Thank you, Dr. Magann!
Published in Stroke
Dr. Krishna Nalleballe, Assistant Professor of Neurology, and Dr. Sen Sheng, a third-year resident, are co-first authors along with Assistant Professor Dr. Sanjeeva Onteddu on a special report on industry payments to vascular neurologists published in the leading journal Stroke. Dr. Nalleballe noted that the article would not have been possible without the contributions of many faculty and residents in the COM departments/divisions of Neurology, Radiology, Cardiology and Pediatrics along with the College of Pharmacy. Well done!
An abstract submitted by Dr. Erin Willard, a third-year Emergency Medicine resident, has been selected by the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare for presentation at the Compassion in Action Healthcare Conference in Boston in June. The abstract describes a study comparing resident physician and patient perceptions of physician empathy in the ED. Dr. Willard is a co-investigator on the study led by Associate Professor Dr. Carly Eastin. Assistant Professor Dr. Sofie Morgan and research technician Jade Beshears are also coauthors. The team found that residents actually rated themselves significantly lower on perception of physician empathy than their patients did. Great work, team!
The Department of Pediatrics has been well represented at conferences this month including the 2020 Southern Regional Meeting/Southern Society for Pediatric Research. A shout-out to our outstanding residents who presented posters on behalf of research teams: Dr. Feng Zheng and Dr. Linda Murphy (Pediatric residents), and Dr. Kisha Rogers (Med-Peds resident). Dr. Joana Mack, Assistant Professor in Pediatric Hematology, delivered an oral presentation at the conference. Meanwhile, Dr. Kristen Long, a third-year Critical Care Medicine Fellow, presented a study at the Annual Critical Care Congress in Orlando. For more information on the posters, presentations and many people behind them, click here.
Kudos to the Arkansas Geriatric Education Cooperative (AGEC) and Department of Geriatrics for their ongoing initiatives to foster healthy aging for older Arkansans. AGEC recently introduced a convenient, free online option for its course to help officers and other first responders at UAMS and beyond be able to quickly identify, understand and assist someone showing signs of dementia. AGEC Outreach Coordinator Laura Spradley is doing a great job spreading the word about this important program, which has been featured in the UAMS Newsroom and on KARK-TV.
And finally this week, congratulations to third-year medical student Zain Alfanek, who has been awarded a $5,000 Women in Medicine Leadership Scholarship. With the support of the Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Zain has led the UAMS Rainbow Health Alliance. The Alliance is a campus-wide organization with a mission to improve LGBTQ+ health in the Arkansas community, and to advance LGBTQ+ education and inclusivity on campus. For her work with the Alliance, Zain will be honored at the leadership conference in Suquamish, Washington, this spring.
February 19, 2020
For the past 16 years, Dr. Jeannette M. Shorey II has had an extraordinary impact on all of us at UAMS through her dedication to our institution and mission, her leadership in improving faculty policies and services, and, especially, her unwavering focus on professionalism. As Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and CME for 11 years, and then as Associate Provost for Faculty, Dr. Shorey has helped to make UAMS a fantastic place to teach, conduct research and practice medicine. She has strived to make UAMS a better place to learn and a better place to receive care. You can join in the celebration of Dr. Shorey’s retirement at a drop-in reception this Thursday, February 20, 3:30-5:00, on the 10th floor of the Cancer Institute.
Thank you so much, Jan. Have a wonderful retirement!
I am delighted to announce that Dr. James Graham, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, has been elected to a three-year term on the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).
Dr. Graham has been involved in the LCME’s important work to accredit medical schools in the United States and Canada for the past decade, serving as a site survey team member for about a dozen different medical schools during their accreditation and reaccreditation processes. He was nominated to the LCME by the American Medical Association, which co-sponsors the accrediting committee in conjunction with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The committee includes 15 professional members (medical educators and practicing physicians), two public members and two medical students.
This is a remarkable accomplishment and strong reflection of the high regard for Dr. Graham among the nation’s leaders in academic medicine. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Graham!
Thank You, Admissions Committee & Team
Each year, 15 dedicated faculty members and Arkansas physicians undertake one of the most important responsibilities in our college. The Admissions Committee met for several days last week to complete their review of applicants and select the very best students for our next freshman class. I especially want to thank the six members who are completing their four-year terms on the committee: Dr. Stephen Johnson, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UAMS Northwest; Dr. Kevin Means, Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Dr. Richard Morrison, Executive Associate Dean for Research; Dr. Daniela Ochoa, Associate Professor of Surgery; and COM alumni Dr. David Jacks and Dr. John Lytle.
I also want to express appreciation for the continuing members: Drs. Mark Brown, Romona Davis, Sarah Beth Harrington, Laura Hutchins, Bobby McGehee, David Ratcliff, Amy Scurlock, Mark Thomas and Susan Ward.
The committee could not do the fantastic job they always do without the hard work of our Admissions team: Tom South, Assistant Dean for Medical Student Admissions; Dr. Jeanne McLachlin, Director of Admissions and Recruitment; and Tammy Henson, Administrator for Rural Practice Programs/Admissions. Thank you so much!
A shout-out to Dr. Amit Agarwal and the entire Pulmonary team at Arkansas Children’s, who recently completed their first telemedicine home visit for a chronically ventilated child. This milestone in the care of children with complex needs was the culmination of months of planning and collaboration with clinicians, ACRI researchers and the telemedicine team. Joining Dr. Agarwal on the multidisciplinary project team are Dr. Tamara Perry, Dr. John Carroll, Mary Salassi-Scotter, Shawn Harwell and Emily Erion.
Congratulations to Dr. Erick Messias and his UAMS and international co-authors on their new book, “Positive Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychology.” Dr. Messias, Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, served as chief editor and authored or coauthored a number of chapters on topics such as professional wellbeing, successful aging, midlife crisis and positive psychiatry as existentialism. UAMS lead- and co-authors included the Department of Psychiatry’s Dr. Victoria Flynn and Dr. Samidha Tripathi, and Dr. Paulette Mehta of the Department of Internal Medicine.
Center of Excellence
A shout-out to Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists Dr. Adam Sandlin and Dr. Dawn Hughes and the entire Placenta Accreta Spectrum (PAS) team, for their outstanding work to make UAMS the first hospital in the nation to be designated an Accreta Center of Excellence by the Maternal Safety Foundation. Dr. Hughes and Dr. Sandlin work with several other specialties including OB Anesthesia, led by Dr. Jill Mhyre and Dr. Nadir El Sharawi; Neonatology, led by Dr. Sara Peeples; the Acute Care Surgery Division, and the blood bank and cell saver teams. Placenta Accreta Spectrum is a rare but serious condition that happens when the placenta abnormally attaches to the uterine wall during pregnancy, placing the mother at high risk for severe, life-threatening bleeding at the time of delivery. Read more about this condition and our highly experienced team on the UAMS Health website.
Lifetime Service Award
Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard Clark recently received the President’s Award for a Lifetime of Service to the Practice of Medicine from the Pulaski County Medical Society. Dr. Clark, a 1958 alumnus, served in the departments of Anesthesiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology for 30 years before his retirement in 1996. One of his passions has been preserving and sharing the history of medicine in Arkansas. Congratulations Dr. Clark!
February 12, 2020
Congratulations to Dr. Scott Dickson on his investiture last week as the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, George K. Mitchell, M.D., Endowed Chair in Primary Care. It was a pleasure to join Dr. Dickson and many others for the celebration in Jonesboro, where Dr. Dickson serves as Assistant Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine, Residency Program Director at the UAMS Northeast Regional Campus, and Chief of Staff for St. Bernards Medical Center. Dr. Dickson has done outstanding work on primary care residency expansion and development of chronic disease management curriculum for residents. He has also focused extensively on patient safety, working to develop clinical programs relating to medication reconciliation.
Dr. Stacie Jones, Professor of Pediatrics, was a key leader in the groundbreaking study that led to the first ever drug for treating children with peanut allergies. On January 31, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced approval of the new drug Palforzia. This is profoundly good news for children with life-threatening peanut allergies. I join with Dr. Tamara Perry, Chief of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics Chair Dr. Rick Barr and many others in congratulating Dr. Jones and the phenomenal team at Arkansas Children’s that was so instrumental in bringing this to fruition. Read more in the Arkansas Children’s Newsroom.
Medicine & Meaning
Have you checked out UAMS’ fantastic new literary journal, Medicine & Meaning? The first issue, which debuted online last week, features thought-provoking works of visual art, poetry, fiction, non-fiction and conversations from creative and talented UAMS faculty, staff and students. Hats off to Dr. Erick Messias, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, for leading the initiative to launch this journal with the help of the dedicated editorial board. Read about the creation of Medicine & Meaning in the COM Newsroom.
A shout-out to Dr. Alan Tackett, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, for his leadership on the fourth-annual Proteomics Facility Staff Symposium, which brought proteomics core directors and staff members from across the country to UAMS. Dr. Tackett serves as Co-Director of the IDeA (Institutional Development Award) National Resource for Quantitative Proteomics, a partnership between the Arkansas INBRE (IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence) and the Oklahoma INBRE that shares expertise with other IDeA states. Thanks also to Dr. Sam Mackintosh and Dr. Stephanie Byrum in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Dr. Rick Edmondson in the Department of Internal Medicine for doing such a great job in making UAMS Proteomics a nationally recognized core facility.
Off to a Great Start
Congratulations to Dr. Gary D. Lewis, Assistant Professor in Radiation Oncology, on his New Practitioner Seed Grant from the American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO). The grant will support a study to compare preoperative stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to postoperative SRS in patients undergoing surgical resection for brain metastases, and provide funds for travel to the 2021 ACRO annual meeting. Dr. Lewis, whose career is off to a great start, joined us in August after completing residency training at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, with rotations at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Houston Methodist Hospital.
A shout-out to fourth-year medical student Chesley Murphy, who recently was named a STFM Foundation Student Scholar by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. He presented his poster, “Health Equity Rounds: Developing a Socially Accountable Consciousness in Medical Students,” at the recent STFM Conference on Medical Student Education in Portland, Oregon. Ches was mentored in this work by Department of Family and Preventive Medicine faculty members Dr. Leslie Stone and Dr. Bill Ventres.
Chancellor Cam Patterson shared a wonderful letter from a patient of Dr. Thomas Jennings, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Assistant Director of Dermatologic Surgery in the Cancer Institute. The patient described Dr. Jennings as a “rare and unusual human being” whose exceptional surgical skill is matched by his compassion. The patient appreciated his personable directness and diplomatic manner when delivering information such as test results and treatment recommendations. Great job, Dr. Jennings!
Round of Applause
And finally this week, bravo to the 10 UAMS team members who presented talks at the first TEDxUAMS last week. The talks, recorded for the TEDx YouTube Channel, explored thought-provoking topics such as meaning in medicine and physician burnout, mental health, imposter syndrome, poetry, abuse, diversity, team-based medicine, the effects of decisions we make on our future quality of life, social media in medicine, and the intersection of law and health. UAMS organizers will announce when the videos become available.
Meanwhile, let’s have a round of applause for our speakers: Amber Booth-McCoy, Dr. Jerad Gardner, Dr. Tiffany Haynes, Dr. Jennifer Hunt, Kimberly Jones, Dr. Paulette Mehta, Dr. Erick Messias, Dr. Kevin Ryan, Dr. Joe Thompson and Dr. Wendy Ward. Read about the perspectives they brought to the stage here.
February 5, 2020
Wonderful out West
To quote a grateful patient, UAMS West in Fort Smith “is one fine operation!” Residency Program Director Dr. Katherine Irish-Clardy shared a very nice letter from a patient to Assistant Professor Dr. John Lane, who knew the patient in the community and recommended UAMS. Third-year medical student Spencer McClure impressed with the great care he took when conducting her medical history, and third-year resident Dr. Kevin Dinh added further to the overall positive experience, as did “tenderhearted” phlebotomist Jamie Collier. The fact that a patient took the time to write an old-fashioned letter says a lot about the folks at UAMS West. I think it also demonstrates how every member of the health care and educational team makes a difference for our patients. Way to go!
For the third year in a row, dozens of volunteers donated their time on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to give area schoolchildren the gift of better sight. It was heartwarming to see so many students, UAMS staff and faculty, and many others join forces to help more than 120 youngsters who had failed annual vision screenings at school. The kids got the exams they needed and a free pair of glasses. Very special thanks to COM student John Musser and Dr. Katie Brown of the Department of Ophthalmology and Jones Eye Institute for their leadership of this annual event. Read more about it here. If you scroll to the end of the story, you’ll find a note of gratitude from me along with a list of many of those who volunteered.
Students Say …
It’s always a pleasure to pass along the good things our students have to say. Last week, the M1s and M2s I met with over breakfasts thanked Dr. Shelley Crary (Pediatrics) for her case discussions and praised Dr. Crary and Dr. Jerry Ware (Physiology and Biophysics), for ensuring all of the science in the hematology module is clinically relevant.
Students greatly appreciated the new ethics-focused simulation sessions with standardized patients, led by Dr. Angie Scott (Pediatrics) and Dr. Micah Hester (Medical Humanities). They also praised their clinical experiences at the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center, where Dr. Elizabeth Gath (Internal Medicine) serves as Medical Director. As one student said, “It reminds us why we are studying so hard.”
Dr. Alan Diekman (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) was noted again for his responsiveness, organization and “making a difficult course not feel so overwhelming.” And finally, a shout-out to Dr. Mohsin Syed (Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences) for his excellent reviews and “taking the time with us to ensure we learned the material very well.
A shout-out to Dr. Abdallah Dalabih, Associate Professor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Director of the Pediatric Sedation Service at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Dana Thomas, RN, and the entire pediatric critical care medicine sedation team for their hard work and great success in achieving Center of Excellence designation from the Society for Pediatric Sedation (SPS). ACH is one of only 10 children’s hospitals in the nation to receive SPS designation, and the team will be honored during the SPS Conference in Baltimore in May. Congratulations!
Congratulations to Radiology Residency Director Dr. Kedar Jambhekar, Medical Education Director Dr. Linda Deloney and former resident Dr. Rachel Pahls on their new article in Academic Radiology. The article discusses the novel “escape room” educational platform they developed for radiology residents. The competitive game has been tremendously popular at national conferences and other events, where it is used for team-building and teaching content about the specialty. Great job!
Kudos to Department of Pediatrics Division of Neonatology faculty members Dr. Becky Rogers and Dr. Nidhi Agarwal and the NICU team at Arkansas Children’s Hospital for their outstanding work in quality improvement and management of postoperative pain for NICU patients. The team recently received the Golden Collaboration Award from the Children’s Hospitals Neonatal Consortium. Congratulations!
A shout-out to Dr. Emmanouil Giorgakis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery’s Division of Transplantation, who co-authored a chapter in the recently published Handbook of Gastrointestinal Cancers. The handbook focuses on evidence-based treatment approaches that are transforming the oncological care landscape. Dr. Giorgakis teamed up with Dr. Amit Mathur of the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix on a chapter titled “How I Treat Early-Stage Hepatocellular Cancer Through Transplant.”
Clinical Informatics Certification
Congratulations to Dr. Jimmy Magee on becoming board-certified in the subspecialty of Clinical Informatics. Dr. Magee serves as Associate Medical Information Officer at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and is a Professor in the newly established Section on Clinical Informatics in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Magee is also an outstanding asset to the new UAMS Clinical Informatics Fellowship Program, which will welcome its inaugural cohort in July 2020.
January 29, 2020
Dr. Richard P. Wheeler graduated from the College of Medicine in 1976. Dr. Laura Hutchins graduated a year later. Both would train in Internal Medicine, complete their fellowships in nephrology and hematology/oncology, respectively, at UAMS. And both would go on to become extraordinary leaders who dedicated their careers to our institution and those we serve. This week we celebrate their retirements and many accomplishments.
Dr. Wheeler’s positive impact on medical education and Arkansas’ physicians while serving as Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, as well through earlier roles, cannot be overstated. On behalf of the College of Medicine, thank you so much.
Dr. Hutchins has made a profound difference in the lives of Arkansans with cancer through her leadership in clinical care, research and education, most recently as Interim Director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Our college is grateful for your service.
Emergency Medicine residents have come up with a creative way to show their appreciation for outstanding consulting physicians – both faculty and residents – from other departments. PGY3 Dr. Meredith Von Dohlen and PGY2 Dr. Laura Werline teamed up to get the “Consultant of the Month” award program off the ground. Each winner will be featured on a board in the Emergency Department during the month and receive a certificate and small token of appreciation. I will also recognize the winners in Accolades.
The first honoree is Dr. Rohan Sharma, a PGY2 Neurology resident. EM residents lauded Dr. Sharma for always going above and beyond for patients, for his excellent communication with the Emergency Medicine team as well as patients and families, and for always having a smile on his face no matter how many consult requests he receives from the Emergency Department. Congratulations Dr. Sharma!
A shout-out to the newly appointed Vice-Chairs in the Department of Pediatrics, for their leadership and ongoing dedication to serving the children of Arkansas. Dr. Becky Latch, Associate Professor and Chief of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, and Dr. Eudice Fontenot, Professor in Pediatric Cardiology, have been named Vice-Chairs of Education, with each assuming select areas of responsibility in this crucial mission area. Dr. Jessica Snowden has been appointed Vice-Chair for Research. As mentioned in recent Accolades, Dr. Snowden, an Associate Professor, will become Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in July. Congratulations and kudos to all three of these excellent leaders.
Show of Support
In 2018, Dr. Diana Escalona-Vargas, an Assistant Professor in the Neurology Division of the Department of Pediatrics, received a two-year Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF) to test the effects of treatment for opioid addiction on babies in utero. Dr. Escalona-Vargas works with UAMS’ unique magnetic sensor-based system called SARA (SQUID Array for Reproductive Assessment). Now, her important, ongoing research has been selected for the foundation’s Research Partners Program, which establishes a personal link between donors and gifted scientists. The John and Polly Sparks Foundation has designated a contribution to support one year of Dr. Escalona’s BBRF grant. This speaks volumes about Dr. Escalona-Vargas’ work, and I couldn’t be prouder of our colleague.
Kudos to everyone whose efforts contributed to a 50% reduction in the use of Clindamycin in our operating rooms over the past six months – a wonderful accomplishment considering UAMS’ important work to reduce both Clostridium difficile and surgical site infection rates. I join with Dr. Jill Mhyre, Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology, in extending a special thanks to Dr. Ryan Dare, Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Sarah Tingle, Assistant Professor and Quality Officer for the Department of Anesthesiology. We also want to thank the many other faculty, CRNAs and residents who have expanded their evaluation of stated penicillin allergies among our perioperative patient population.
A Little TNT
Residents and faculty at academic medical centers are called upon to teach the next generation of medical students, but many don’t receive formal training in education. A newly published article by Dr. Lindsey Sward, Assistant Professor and Clerkship Director in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Dr. Stanley Ellis, Assistant Professor and Director of Education in the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation, discusses their educational initiative for OB/GYN residents and faculty called Teaching Now-Teaching, or TNT. The two-hour education seminar focuses on two easy teaching techniques. Cynthia Mercado, a research assistant in the Office of Educational Development, also contributed to the article in the online journal MedEdPublish. Great work!
Dr. Prasad Padala, Professor of Psychiatry and Geriatrics and Associate Director for Clinical Programs in the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center for the VISN 16/Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, has been doing wonderful work here and at the national level to build a geriatric mental health workforce. One of his accomplishments as Chair of Poster and Oral Presentations for the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry for the last three years was to develop an innovative Poster Rounds that pairs groups of senior research members with trainees. One of Dr. Padala’s own mentees, psychiatry resident Dr. Paul Parcon, has received a travel fellowship to present their data on cardiovascular effects of methylphenidate in patients with dementia. Well done!
Inspiring Future Scientists
I also would like to applaud all of you who serve as role models and mentors for young Arkansans who are interested in science and medicine. Dr. Robert Eoff, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, mentored one such budding scientist. Victoria Hwang, a student at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs, recently was named a top 300 Scholar in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competition for high school seniors. One of nearly 2,000 students to enter the competition this year, Victoria worked with Dr. Eoff on a research project entitled “POLKKO GBM-derived Cells Exhibit Increased Replication Catastrophe.”
January 22, 2020
It was a great pleasure to celebrate two wonderful Department of Geriatrics colleagues, Dr. AmyLeigh Overton-McCoy and Dr. Priya Mendiratta, at their double investiture ceremony last Thursday. Both of these faculty members have made strides in the care of senior Arkansans and the training of the next generation who will provide care for seniors. Dr. Overton-McCoy, Director of the UAMS Centers on Aging, was invested in the Murphy Endowed Chair for Rural Aging Leadership and Policy. Dr. Mendiratta, Geriatrics Clerkship Director and an Associate Professor of Geriatrics who will become a full Professor in July, was invested in the Alexa L. & William T. Dillard Distinguished Chair in Geriatrics. Heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Mendiratta and Dr. Overton-McCoy!
Excellence in Ethics
Congratulations to the highly deserving winners of the 2019 Chris Hackler Awards in Medical Ethics. Dr. Jennifer Kleiner, Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Research Institute, has been selected to receive the award in the faculty category for her exemplary work with patients as a neuropsychologist and her many years of diverse service in ethics-related campus roles. These included 10 years as a member of the Medical Ethics Advisory Committee, safety and ethics initiatives during a decade of service on the Institutional Review Board (IRB), many years as a small-group faculty member in the medical student ethic course and much more.
Dr. Paul Bucolo, a Chief Resident in the UAMS Northwest Family Medicine Residency Program, will receive the resident category award for serving as an excellent role model for junior residents and medical students through his compassionate, respectful and exemplary care of all patients. Alice Faye Crowder, RN, who serves on F8/Cardiac Inpatient Unit, will receive the non-faculty award for her steadfast patient advocacy and tireless dedication to UAMS.
Our thanks to all three of these stellar UAMS team members for their commitment to medical ethics.
Science as Art
A shout-out to Physiology and Biophysics Professor Dr. Brian Storrie and Research Associate Irina Pokrovskaya, M.S., who used sophisticated microscopic imaging techniques to produce a winning entry in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) 2019 BioArt competition. The UAMS researchers collaborated with investigators at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering on the surreal 3D rendering of a blood clot from a mouse. Read more – and check out the winning image – in the COM Newsroom.
Physician of the Year
The Department of Emergency Medicine’s Dr. Casey Smolarz, Medical Director of the Baptist Conway Emergency Department and Chief of Staff at the hospital, has been named Physician of the Year by the Conway Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Smolarz has been a leader in Conway since the facility opened in 2016, driving excellent patient satisfaction and other outcomes. Great job Dr. Smolarz!
And there’s more good news from Emergency Medicine, with two outstanding faculty members recently selected for prestigious national programs. Dr. Amanda Young, Assistant Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program, was chosen to participate in the inaugural Residency Administration Fellowship of the national Council of Residency Directors. Dr. Lauren Evans has been selected for the exclusive Academic Life in Emergency Medicine (ALiEM) faculty incubator. Congratulations Dr. Young and Dr. Evans!
A shout-out to Dr. Valentina Todorova, Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, on her superb new publication in the journal Translational Oncology. Dr. Todorova and colleagues from several departments are doing important research exploring new approaches to prevent cardiotoxicity from doxorubicin (DOX), a powerful chemotherapy agent used for treating various malignancies. Working with a breast cancer model, they found that dantrolene (DNT) can provide valuable protection against DOX-induced cardiotoxicity in cancer patients while maintaining its anti-cancer efficacy.
Congratulations to Department of Pediatrics faculty members who recently received important national appointments. Dr. Tamara Perry, Associate Professor and Chief of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, was elected to a four-year term on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Dr. Amir Mian, an Associate Professor in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, was appointed to serve for three years on the Health Care Delivery and Health Policy Workgroup of the American Society of Hematology/Oncology and the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Hematology/Oncology.
First to Board
The Department of Pediatrics’ Dr. Rebecca Cantu, Dr. Becky Latch, Dr. Stephanie Scheffler and Dr. Emily Smith are among the first in the nation to receive board certification in Pediatric Hospital Medicine. They achieved certification during the very first exam in the subspecialty offered by the American Board of Pediatrics. Well done!
And still more good news from the Department of Pediatrics – Dr. Jessica Snowden has been accepted into the highly competitive Leadership Institute of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. As I mentioned in Accolades a couple of weeks ago, Dr. Snowden, an Associate Professor, will begin serving as Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease on July 1.
Kudos to Dr. Nirvana Manning, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Director of the Women and Infants Service Line, and the entire team behind the successful and impactful CenteringPregnancy group prenatal-care program. The UAMS program recently received full, unconditional site accreditation from the Centering Healthcare Institute and is the only program of its kind in Arkansas. This program, launched in August 2018, is achieving excellent health outcomes for new moms and babies. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Neuroscience & Law
Congratulations to Dr. Edgar Garcia-Rill, Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences and Director of the Center for Translational Neurosciences, on his latest book, “Fundamentals of Neuroscience and the Law.” The book, co-authored by Dr. Garcia-Rill and Erica Beecher-Monas, LLD, JSD, provides insights into the intersection of these two fields, addressing questions such as why courts sometimes dismiss medically sound mental health diagnoses, and how laws could be drafted to be more scientifically based.
January 15, 2019
Quotable and Notable – Students Share What Makes the COM Special
Last week I enjoyed not just one, but two breakfasts with students. The notes from these conversations with our M2s on Wednesday and M1s on Friday are brimming with good things the students had to say about faculty members and the College of Medicine culture and learning environment as a whole. I am devoting this issue of Accolades to share their comments with you.
This is a big part of what makes our college special!
Sometimes your influence starts before a student even starts medical school, as was the case with an M1 who had the good fortune to work with Dr. Bobby McGehee (Pediatrics, Graduate School) before becoming a COM student:
“He is such a powerful mentor. He gave me a chance when maybe others wouldn’t, and he helped me succeed.”
The faculty of the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences earned high marks:
Dr. Noor Akhter – “She was so attentive to us. She spent so much extra time in the lab helping us to learn. One word to describe her: selfless.”
Dr. David Davies – “He is very personable and very helpful in the lab. He really made a connection with us.”
Dr. Kevin Phelan – “Somehow Dr. Phelan has a knack for explaining things so I can learn anatomy in a 3D fashion. He expanded my way of learning.”
Dr. Mohsin Syed – “His reviews are great. He was so helpful in the anatomy lab. He would stay late to help us learn.”
Kudos, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology:
Dr. Mari Davidson – “She is very well organized and explains the material so well. She is easy to follow, even with complicated material. She really helped my learning.”
Dr. Alan Diekman – “Dr. Diekman explains complicated concepts in a way that I can understand him. He is so organized.”
The Department of Internal Medicine’s Dr. David Straub also stood out – “He is such a great teacher. He tells stories to illustrate his point. He is funny, but so memorable.”
Anchoring the M1 experience are Practice of Medicine 1 (POM1) Course Directors Dr. Angie Scott (Pediatrics) and Dr. Rachael Freeze-Ramsey (Emergency Medicine) – “They are very open to feedback about their course. They have made changes already based on our input. Great course directors!”
Superb teachers often earn praise from learners at different levels. Two Pediatrics faculty members who recently earned raves from M1s who had shadowed them also earned high marks as second-year POM 2 preceptors:
Dr. Jacob Filipek – “Dr. Filipek is a great preceptor. He is devoted to teaching us, easily accessible and always ready to talk to us. He has made a real difference for us this year.”
Dr. Heather Highsmith – “She is an excellent role model and preceptor. She emphasizes how the pediatric physical exam is different, and watching her take care of kids is amazing.”
Likewise, Dr. Antonio Howard – who has earned praise for his teaching in the third-year Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation selective course – was described as “awesome” when teaching in the M2 musculoskeletal (MSK) module.
M2s appreciate Dr. Sung Rhee of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology – “He is clearly committed to our success. He is always thinking about better ways to teach us. He is so encouraging.”
Here’s praise for Internal Medicine faculty members serving as POM 2 preceptors:
Dr. Anuradha Kunthur – “Dr. Kunthur in Oncology is a great preceptor and made me much more comfortable working with patients.”
Dr. Manisha Singh – “Working with her is eye-opening. She is dedicated to her patients. It is really great to get to use the skills you’re learning on real patients, and she helps us learn how to do it well.”
Last, but certainly not least, students are grateful for the dedication, energy and teaching excellence of the Dr. Sara Tariq, Associate Dean for Student Affairs – “Our interactions with Dr. Tariq always ignite a spark in us. She is so willing to help us with and through our struggles. She is really a ray of sunshine!”
Students also said …
“I am so impressed with the environment here. I thought it would be cutthroat, but it is not. It is supportive and welcoming. Everyone seems to be committed to helping us do our best.”
“The new peer-instruction sessions are great. It forces intentional repetition, which improves our learning.”
“I love our team-based learning sessions. It is very different from my undergrad experience, but learning in a group using cases is amazing. It has really helped me learn, but it is helpful emotionally as well.”
“Our experiences in the Simulation Center have been really excellent. We learn how to solve problems and work as a team. We would like even more experiences in simulation.”
“One of the things that has surprised me about being in medical school at UAMS is the culture, which is ‘we are all in this together.’ The faculty and staff all seem very committed to our success.”
January 8, 2020
The Division of Nephrology’s Andrea Easom, M.N.Sc., APRN, has been selected to receive the Tim Poole Award from the National Kidney Foundation-Council of Advanced Practitioners in March. She will be honored in New Orleans for her dedication to all patients with chronic kidney disease and her extraordinary work as an APRN, researcher and educator in Arkansas over the past four decades. You may recall that Ms. Easom was our Clinical Staff Excellence Award recipient at Dean’s Honor Day last year. Congratulations on this latest well-earned award!
Congratulations to Dr. Gresham Richter, Professor, Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology Services and Vice Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, on his election as President-elect of the Society of Ear, Nose and Throat Services in Children (SENTAC). Dr. Richter previously served as Treasurer for SENTAC, a multidisciplinary national organization of speech pathologists, audiologists, pediatricians and otolaryngologists dedicated to ENT health for kids.
Congratulations to Dr. Laura James, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the UAMS Translational Research Institute, on her appointment to the national Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program Steering Committee. Dr. James, who also serves as UAMS Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research, will be a strong asset to the steering committee, which guides the sharing of information and ideas among the more than 60 CTSA-supported institutions across the country. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
Last June I noted that a paper by Dr. Jay Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, and colleagues from the Cardiovascular Division was garnering national and international attention. Now, “Aspirin for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Events,” has been recognized as one of the 10 most popular journal scans of 2019 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and ACC.org. Dr. Marwan Saad, a former UAMS fellow who is currently completing an interventional cardiology fellowship at Brown University, was a joint first author on the publication. Dr. Naga Venkata K. Pothineni, who was an Assistant Professor and is now completing a fellowship in advanced electrophysiology at the University of Pennsylvania, was among the co-authors. Dr. Mehta, who holds the Stebbins Chair in Cardiology at UAMS, was the senior and corresponding author. Congratulations to all!
Helping Distressed Physicians
Congratulations to Dr. Linda Worley, Associate Regional Dean and Professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology, on the publication of an important and insightful paper in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. As you may know, in addition to her leadership of COM programs at the Northwest Regional Campus, Dr. Worley serves on the faculty of the Program for Distressed Physicians in the Center for Professional Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Dr. Worley and colleagues at Vanderbilt evaluated the effectiveness of a professional development program addressing unprofessional physician behaviors that can lead to medical errors and affect patient safety and care. They found that these behaviors can be positively modified through a relatively brief, intensive education program that focuses on learning and implementing emotional intelligence-driven skills. Dr. Erick Messias, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, notes that this study confirms our college’s experience with this high quality program at Vanderbilt.
Dr. Spyridoula Maraka, an Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, coauthored a chapter in the new edition of Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, the gold standard in the field. Dr. Maraka and collaborators contributed a chapter on “Navigating through Clinical Practice Guidelines in Endocrinology.” Great work!
It can feel bittersweet when a valuable faculty colleague moves on, but we also are pleased when one of our own achieves a prestigious post. Dr. Brendan Stack, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery here at UAMS, has been named the inaugural Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. The school selected Dr. Stack to lead SIU into the future as it elevates a division and residency program to a full department. Dr. Stack has made many contributions to clinical care, research and education here as well as to his field nationally since joining our faculty in 2005. I want to wish Dr. Stack and his family the very best as they begin their own next chapter early next month.
I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Jose Romero for his nearly 12 years of outstanding leadership of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease, where he has built excellent programs in clinical care, research and education. Dr. Romero has decided to step down as Division Chief effective July 1. Fortunately, he will continue his work in public health in Arkansas and internationally in the years before his retirement. We are very pleased that Dr. Jessica Snowden will assume leadership as Division Chief, bringing her nationally recognized expertise in pediatric infectious diseases and pediatric clinical and translational research to the role. As many of you know, Dr. Snowden also serves as Co-Principal Investigator of the NIH-funded IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network Data Coordinating and Operations Center. Again, many thanks to Dr. Romero, and congratulations to Dr. Snowden.
Course and course faculty evaluations are a virtual treasure trove of positive comments from our students, and I am delighted to share some of them with you as the academic year continues. Up first: excerpts from evaluations of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation M3 Selective:
Dr. Antonio Howard
“He pushes you by asking hard questions and encourages you to do your own research to find some of the answers. I appreciate the challenge because it truly facilitates my learning.”
Dr. Thomas Kiser
“If I one day have half of the efficiency and compassion that he utilizes on a daily basis I will be a wonderful physician. He displays great depth of knowledge and remembers all of his patients even from the past.”
Dr. Rani Lindberg
“She was patient while we learned procedures and patient care and she was always willing to explain topics to us. She is passionate about what she does and is an asset to the UAMS faculty.”
I also would like to share a few of the many positive comments from first-year medical students who participated in our new Practice of Medicine 1 Shadowing Program:
Dr. Heather Highsmith | Pediatrics-Infectious Diseases
“She took the time to really explain the pathologies as we walked between consults. She also respected me as a first-year student, as opposed to being bothered with a student in her way.”
Dr. Jacob Filipek | Pediatrics-Hospital Medicine
“He had been up most of the night before we met, but despite being tired, he still made an effort to explain concepts at my level and include me in his work with the M3s.”
Dr. Jerrilyn Jones | Emergency Medicine
“She did an incredible job allowing me to engage with the patients. She answered any questions enthusiastically … Honestly, kindest and calmest ER doctor ever.”
My thanks to these faculty members, and all of our educators, for your excellent work with our students. Kudos as well to Dr. Karina Clemmons and Dr. John Spollen, Co-Chairs of the Evaluation Subcommittee, for sharing the M3 comments and Dr. Angie Scott, POM 1 Course Director, for the M1 comments. The POM 1 shadowing activity will be available at the beginning of each semester. The slots for spring have been filled, but we encourage faculty to take advantage of this opportunity when it becomes available again in the fall.
Students Give Back
Speaking of students, I would like to wrap up this week’s Accolades with a shout-out to the 11 College of Medicine students who were accepted to and are serving in the UAMS Student Ambassador Program this year. Administered by the Alumni and Annual Giving Office, the campus-wide program provides students with opportunities to volunteer, network and serve alumni and the university through impactful projects and events. Hats off to M1s Breyanna Dulaney (COM/COPH) and Anna Mears; M2s Erica Dewey and Olivia Speed; M3s Joel McGowan, Jeanne Rabalais, Laney Sideroff and Danielle West; and M4s Ashley Elser, Sarah Johnson and Harrison Winslow.
December 18, 2019
Congratulations to Dr. Tom Frazier, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, who will be invested tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 19) in an endowed chair established in his honor – the G. Thomas Frazier, M.D., Chair in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery. I hope you can join us for the ceremony, which starts at 4:00 p.m. in the Fred Smith Conference Center, 12th floor, Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute. Dr. Frazier has long been a leader in subspecialty orthopaedic care in Arkansas, focusing on joint replacement of the hand, wrist and elbow as well as joint arthroscopy for the elbow and wrist. We were very fortunate to recruit him to UAMS in 2017 and are honored to have him as our colleague.
Dr. Jeanne Wei, Professor and Chair of Geriatrics and Executive Director of the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, received the 2019 Scientific Award at the recent annual meeting of the Chinese American Medical Society in New York. For her Scientific Award Lecture, she presented “New Ideas for Old Hearts.” Congratulations Dr. Wei!
Congratulations to Dr. Shuk-Mei Ho, UAMS Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, on winning the Distinguished Toxicology Scholar Award from the international Society of Toxicology. Dr. Ho will be honored during the society’s annual meeting in March. Read more about the award and Dr. Ho’s expertise in the COM Newsroom.
Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Beetstra, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatric and Special Needs Dentistry, on his installation next April as President of the Special Care Dentistry Association. Dr. Beetstra and Dr. John Jones, Associate Professor, also were selected to present abstracts at the annual meeting of the national organization representing dentists who practice in hospital settings and who care for geriatric patients as well as individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Dr. Beetstra also will be an invited presenter that month at the National Oral Health Conference, which focuses on national and state oral health policy and dental public health.
Dr. Riley Lipschitz, an Assistant Professor in General Internal Medicine, is spearheading an American Medical Association (AMA) funded project at UAMS to develop a curriculum to teach medical students about population health. UAMS received a $30,000 grant as part of the Accelerating Change in Medical Education Innovation Grant Program. The curriculum will focus on core concepts of population health, risk stratification and caring for high-cost/high-need patients. A chronic disease dataset developed with help from the UAMS Institute for Digital Health and Innovation teaches future physicians about trends in cost and chronic illness, and using data to understand populations. Great work, Dr. Lipschitz!
A shout-out to Dr. Brian Hohertz, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, on his installation this month as President of the Arkansas Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Also during the chapter’s annual meeting, Dr. Jacob Howard, a second-year resident, was elected the statewide resident representative. Way to go!
Dr. Tresor Mukiza just earned his doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is already receiving national attention. He is the first author on a paper published in the journal Genetics and selected for a “Highlight” by the journal. As Dr. Mukiza’s mentor, Dr. Wayne Wahls, notes, this accomplishment reflects the high quality and importance of his research. Dr. Mukiza’s dissertation research focused on meiotic cell division leading to aneuploidy, the leading cause of spontaneous pregnancy loss, intellectual disability and congenital birth defects such as Down syndrome. Read more in the COM Newsroom.
Dr. Westbrook’s Wisdom
A video interview of Dr. Kent Westbrook, Distinguished Professor of Surgery, by Dr. Jerad Gardner, Associate Professor of Pathology and Dermatology, is chock-full of observations about cancer treatment, medicine and much more that Dr. Westbrook has gleaned over his many years at UAMS as a student, resident, faculty member and leader. “What an honor to sit down with him and hear stories and wisdom he has acquired over his nearly six decades in medicine,” said Dr. Gardner, who posted the video to his YouTube page. You can listen in on their conversation here.
December 11, 2019
This week we had the great pleasure of announcing the recipients of our first annual Clinical Excellence Awards. Congratulations to:
Physician of the Year – Dr. Ashley Ross, Associate Professor and Chief of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics
Excellence in Service and Professionalism – Dr. Carly Eastin, Associate Professor, departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics
Excellence in Quality and Safety – Dr. Jennifer Laudadio, Associate Professor, Department of Pathology
Best Consulting Physician – Dr. Nithin Karakala, Associate Professor, Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine
Clinical Collaborations and Teamwork – Dr. Michael Wilson, Assistant Professor, departments of Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry
Rising Stars Clinical Faculty – Dr. Mary Katherine “Katie” Kimbrough, Associate Professor, Division of Trauma and Critical Care, Department of Surgery; and Dr. André Wineland, Assistant Professor, Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Read more about these exemplary physicians in the COM Newsroom.
Congratulations to Dr. Teresita Bellido, our incoming Chair of Physiology and Biophysics, on her appointment as an Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) Scholar. Dr. Bellido was honored by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, UAMS Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson and other dignitaries at a ceremony at the State Capitol last week. The ARA Scholars Program supports collaborative and innovative work at the state’s five research institutions and helps recruit world-class researchers like Dr. Bellido to Arkansas.
Kudos and congratulations to Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis and Dr. Rosemary Nabaweesi for stepping into important new leadership positions in the UAMS Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Davis, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and former Division Director for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, will serve as Executive Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Nabaweesi, an Assistant Professor in the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation in the Department of Pediatrics, will serve as Senior Director of Research and Evaluation.
In the Spotlight
A paper by Dr. Tonya Thompson, Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and her colleagues on the Standards of Best Practices Committee for the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE), is in the international spotlight. The publication, which defines best practices for standardized patient educators, has become the No. 1 most downloaded article in the journal Advances in Simulation. It also received a Special Contribution Award for advancing simulated patient methodology in China. Dr. Thompson serves as Vice President of Operations on the ASPE Board of Directors. Great work!
Two Radiology faculty members have earned honors for their work as reviewers of journals of the Radiological Society of North America. Dr. Sanjaya Viswamitra, an Associate Professor in the Nuclear Medicine Section, received the 2019 Radiology Editor’s Recognition Award for Reviewing with Distinction, the highest annual honor. Dr. Teresita Angtuaco, Professor and Chief of the Body Imaging Section, received the RadioGraphics Editor’s Recognition Award with Special Distinction, an honor she also received for the past three years.
Congratulations to Dr. Martin Radvany, Professor and Chief of Interventional Neuroradiology, on his election as a Fellow of the American College of Radiology (ACR). This is one of the highest honors the ACR bestows on members and reflects exceptional service to the organization and the profession of radiology as a whole.
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology colleagues Dr. Tamara Perry, Associate Professor and Division Chief, and Associate Professor Dr. Josh Kennedy have been elected to national pediatric societies. Dr. Perry was elected to the American Pediatric Society, and Dr. Kennedy was elected to the Pediatric Academic Society. Membership in these organizations is reserved for child health leaders, educators, scholars, policymakers and/or clinicians who have earned national or international recognition for their contributions. Congratulations to both of these fine colleagues.
Dental Education Leader
Congratulations to Dr. Ashley Jones McMillan on her appointment as Director of the General Practice Residency Program in the UAMS Center for Dental Education. Dr. McMillan, an Assistant Professor, received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center College of Dentistry in 2014. She has held a number of clinical, educational and leadership roles in the Center for Dental Education and the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation Oral Health Clinic at UAMS, including Director of the clinic in 2017-2018 and Interim Director of the General Practice Residency since last July.
The Pediatric Anesthesiology team, led by Professor and Division Chief Dr. Aru Reddy, is gearing up for a very active year of scholarly work in 2020. Faculty and trainees will collectively present six abstracts at the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia annual meeting in February. Joining Dr. Reddy are Professor Dr. Jesus Apuya, Associate Professors Dr. Robin Morris and Dr. Mohammed Siddiqui, and Assistant Professors Dr. Theja Edala and Dr. Anita Akbar Ali. Also presenting are fellows Dr. Matthew Green and Dr. Matthew Sabatini, and resident Dr. Renee Tolly.
UAMS was well represented at IDWeek in Washington, D.C., with presentations from six trainees, including all four Infectious Diseases fellows. ID Week is the joint annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the HIV Medical Association and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. Infectious Diseases fellow Dr. Joyce Johnsrud presented on the impact of procalcitonin use at UAMS; fellow Dr. Kevin Davis presented on clinical outcomes associated with blood culture contamination; fellow Dr. Mitch Jenkins was selected to present a case of histoplasmosis prosthetic valve endocarditis; and fellow Dr. Courtney Pearson was selected for an oral presentation on the clinical impact of implementing a rapid blood culture detection system at UAMS.
In addition, Internal Medicine Chief Resident Dr. Gayathri Krishnan presented on cross reactivity of fungal antigen testing in histoplasmosis, and third-year medical student Justin Klucher presented on risk factors associated with blood culture contamination in the Emergency Department. As Assistant Professor Dr. Ryan Dare reports, this motivated group of trainees made the Division of Infectious Diseases very proud!
Students Say …
My breakfasts with students continue to be a delight, thanks in no small measure to your efforts. The sophomores I met with last Friday echoed what I’ve heard before: that College of Medicine faculty members truly care about them and work to ensure their success. These M2s had great things to say about their experiences in summer preceptorships in Pathology and in Regional Programs/Family Medicine.
They also mentioned several faculty members as particularly effective and influential, including Dr. Jason Chang and Dr. Laura Stanley in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences; Dr. Neil Masangkay in Neurology; Dr. Jerad Gardner in Pathology; Dr. Sung Rhee in Pharmacology and Toxicology; Dr. Mike Jennings and Dr. Frank Simmen in Physiology and Biophysics, and Dr. Gary Bowman, Rural Programs/Family Medicine.
December 4, 2019
Faculty Scholar, Stellar Colleague
Dr. Laura Hutchins, Professor of Internal Medicine, epitomizes leadership in service to her profession, our institution and all those we serve. It was a great pleasure to honor her yesterday as the 2019 Distinguished Faculty Scholar. It was also a delight to hear the insights she has gleaned during her 36 years as a faculty member and leader in many capacities, including her most recent role as Interim Director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. In case you were unable to join us, watch for a story to post soon on the UAMS website and for coverage and a video link later this month in the COMmunication e-newsletter.
Pillar of the Community
Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Breast Surgical Oncology, will receive the Urban League of the State of Arkansas’ Whitney M. Young Jr. Award on December 11. She is one of two pillars of the community, along with Judge Olly Neal, who are being recognized for dedicating their lives and careers to creating equitable opportunities for all Arkansans to live prosperous lives. Congratulations on this well-earned honor, Dr. Henry-Tillman.
Glowing Support for DCOC
It was a joy to hear about the glowing letters of support that clinical sites in the ECHO IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (ISPCTN) have submitted on behalf of the UAMS team behind the ISPCTN Data Coordinating and Operations Center (DCOC). As Dr. Paula Roberson, Professor and Chair of Biostatistics, noted, the letters weren’t typical boilerplate letters of support; they were detailed and genuine letters extoling the leadership and expertise of Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Jeannette Lee, Professor of Biostatistics, and Dr. Jessica Snowden, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and their staff. Drs. Snowden and Lee have done an incredible job in the initial funding period, and the strong support from ISPCTN clinical sites should speak well for the upcoming review of the renewal application. Kudos, Dr. Lee and Dr. Snowden.
Congratulations to Dr. José Romero, Professor and Chief of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Section in the Department of Pediatrics, on being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS). Dr. Romero’s peers in the world’s largest general scientific society are recognizing him for his work in infectious disease control, particularly through enterovirus research and his service on national panels devoted to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Read more here.
Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Bona, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics, on being named Chair-Elect of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Working Group on Knowledge Representation and Semantics. We appreciate your outstanding work here and at the national level.
Dr. Bill Ventres, Associate Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine, was honored as a Master Reviewer for Academic Medicine during the recent annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).The award recognizes individuals who have earned the journal’s Excellence in Reviewing awards three times. Way to go Dr. Ventres!
Congratulations to Dr. Ezgi Saylam, a resident in the Child Neurology Program, on her Resident Research Scholarship from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Dr. Saylam was one of only three residents across the country to receive the award, which provides a stipend to conduct a research project in a clinical setting. The scholarship is intended as a springboard to the AAN Research Program and other programs for early-career neuroscience investigators. Dr. Saylam will conduct her project under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Dr. Aravindhan Veerapandiyan.
In the Spotlight
Dr. Freddy J.K. Toloza, a research fellow working with Assistant Professor Dr. Spyridoula Maraka in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, garnered media attention at the recent annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association (ATA) as the first author on the team’s work assessing thyroid function in patients with PTSD. Their findings were featured in the Endocrine Daily Briefing and Clinical Endocrinology News, which interviewed Dr. Toloza. Also during the meeting, Dr. Maraka was invited to serve on the ATA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. Well done!
A shout-out to Dr. Se-Ran Jun, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics, for her excellent mentoring of future scientists. Dr. Jun mentored Sasha Richardson, a junior at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. Richardson went on to receive a presentation award in the Computational Biology category at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Anaheim, California, in November.
Dr. Zhiqiang Qin, Associate Professor of Pathology, and his colleagues have just had an original article published in PLoS Pathogens, “Identification of new antiviral agents against Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) by high-throughput drug screening reveals the role of histamine-related signaling in promoting viral lytic reactivation.” Their study identified new anti-KSHV agents and provided novel insights into the molecular bases of host factors that contribute to lytic replication and reactivation of this oncogenic herpesvirus. Collaborators included Dr. Steven Post, Professor of Pathology, Dr. Craig Forrest, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Dr. Xulin Chen, a Professor at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The postdocs in Dr. Qin’s lab, Dr. Jungang Chen and Dr. Lu Dai, also made major contributions to the study.
November 20, 2019
Trauma Team Triumphs
Congratulations to the UAMS Trauma Team on the recent highly successful site survey, which earned excellent marks from the American College of Surgeons and the state of Arkansas, and which found zero deficiencies. I join with Trauma Medical Director Dr. Ron Robertson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery, and Trauma Program Director Terry Collins, RN, in thanking all of our trauma team members for your hard work and strong commitment to quality. I also want to take a moment to applaud Dr. Robertson and Ms. Collins for their outstanding leadership.
Helping Kids with EGIDs
Imagine being a child – or having a child – with a rare inflammatory disease that makes it impossible to eat many foods. Dr. Robbie Pesek, an Associate Professor in the Allergy and Immunology Section of the Department of Pediatrics, is devoted to helping Arkansas children with eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs). With Dr. Pesek as the site investigator, the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI) is now part of an NIH-funded, 19-site clinical research consortium that will enhance care for these children. Read more about Dr. Pesek’s exceptional work and expertise in EGIDs and the Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers in the Arkansas Children’s Newsroom.
Great Job, Gynecologic Oncology
The Gynecologic Oncology Division in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has been doing wonderful work at major meetings. Dr. Alexander “Sandy” Burnett continues to be a leader in developing minimally invasive surgery via a vaginal route, and most recently shared his expertise at the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. He had four plenary presentations, gave two post-graduate course lectures, hosted a round table lunch session for difficult cases, and participated in an international summit of vaginal laparoscopists. Dr. Burnett has performed more of these cases in the U.S. than any other surgeon.
Meanwhile, Melinda “Mindy” Simonson, Sc.M., CGC, presented a poster on behalf of the cancer genetics research team led by Dr. Kristin Zorn about use of an EMR-based tool to encourage appropriate referral of patients for cancer genetic counseling and testing. The team’s work was presented at a meeting of the National Society of Genetic Counselors in Salt Lake City, Utah, in early November.
I’d like to take a moment to applaud Otolaryngology colleagues Dr. Abby Nolder and Dr. Deanne King, along with Department Chair Dr. John Dornhoffer, for the outstanding summer clerkship experience they provide for rising second-year medical students. The ASCENT program (A Summer Clerkship in ENT) was offered for the second time this year, and participating students raved about it. In evaluations, the respondents rated their overall experience and interactions with faculty and residents as a perfect “10.” Dr. Nolder, who serves as ENT Residency Program Director, and Dr. King, Otolaryngology Director of Research, are truly dedicated to otolaryngology education at every level of medical school and training, and it shows.
Women’s Health at 12th Street
A shout-out to third-year medical students Amy Scott and Jordan Spencer, who recently coordinated a Women’s Health Night at the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center. Joining them from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology were faculty members Dr. Lindsey Sward and Dr. Chad Taylor, Tesa Ivey, APRN, and two residents, Dr. Ann Marie Mercier and Dr. Patricia Amorado. Medical and physician assistant students joined forces to care for patients, who also benefited from cytotechnology and ultrasound services and the Mammovan, which was booked solid. I join with Dr. Elizabeth Gath, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the 12th Street center, in applauding all Team UAMS members who participated. Thank you for your dedication to underserved patients.
Phenomenal in Phoenix
UAMS was well represented at the recent Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting in Phoenix with a record 19 faculty members attending. Among many contributions by UAMS representatives, Dr. Sara Tariq and Dr. Neil Masangkay joined with colleagues from other institutions to present a workshop: “Feed Forward – Identifying and Strengthening Support for At-risk Students during Clerkships.”
Maurice Rigsby, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Relations, was a presenter for a session: “Advocating for Academic Medicine – the Power of Personal Relationships.” Drs. Molly Gathright, James Graham, Jeannette M. Shorey II, John Spollen and Carol Thrush were among the co-authors of multi-site educational research poster: “Do they see what we want them to be? Multiple perspectives on the environment for learning to be professional.” Drs. Ari Filip, Carol Thrush, Tim Atkinson, Paula Podrazik, Travis Eastin and Jim Clardy were coauthors on a poster: “One-year changes in intern physicians’ QI/PS knowledge, awareness, engagement and interest.”
Finally, we were all so proud that Dr. Jennifer Hunt, Professor and Chair of Pathology, received the Group on Women in Medicine and Science Emerging Leader Award. This was the first year the award recognized an emerging faculty leader for contributions to advancing women leaders in academic medicine and science. Congratulations Dr. Hunt, and bravo to all of the colleagues who joined us in Phoenix!
November 13, 2019
Congratulations to Dr. Gregory Albert, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, on his investiture yesterday afternoon in the Lee and Bob Cress Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. This is a well-earned recognition for Dr. Albert, who provides outstanding leadership as Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at ACH and exceptional surgical care for children with epilepsy and other conditions.
Implementation Science Scholars
A shout-out to the COM clinical faculty members at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital who have been selected as the inaugural class of UAMS Implementation Science Scholars. The Translational Research Institute (TRI) and Center for Implementation Research selected five faculty members for the two-year program. The program features 10 didactic sessions per year led by CIR faculty, oversight and mentoring for implementation science projects, and salary support. Congratulations to:
Dr. Kapil Arya, Assistant Professor, Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, UAMS/ACH. “Implementation of Newborn Screening (NBS) for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Operationalizing Appropriate Patient Management.”
Dr. Johnathan Goree, Assistant Professor and Director, Division of Chronic Pain, Department of Anesthesiology, UAMS. “Implementation of Safe Post-operative Opioid Prescribing at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.”
Dr. Emily Kocurek, Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, UAMS. “ICU Liberation Bundle.”
Dr. Debopam Samanta, Associate Professor and Interim Section/Service Chief, Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, UAMS/ACH. “Quality/Implementation Gap in Epilepsy Surgery Evaluation.”
Dr. Megha Sharma, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, UAMS/ACH. “Minimizing Latrogenic Blood Loss and Reducing Cost of Lab Testing in Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) Neonates by Raising Staff Awareness and Optimal Use of EMR.
Best for Babies and Mamas
The arrival of two Mamava private lactation spaces on campus is wonderful news for nursing moms who work at UAMS or are visiting us. A shout-out to everyone who made them possible, including Dr. Nirvana Manning, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Women and Infant Health Service Line, Rebecca Sartini, D.N.P., NICU Assistant Nursing Director, along with Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson and members of the Chancellor’s Circle, which provided a grant to fund the units. The Mamava pods are located near the Admissions desk and Lobby Café on the first floor of the hospital and on the first floor of the Rahn Building. Nursing moms use a free mobile app to find and access the pods. Dr. Manning did a great job spreading the word through local news reports, such as this one on KARK-TV. Watch for more information soon on the UAMS website.
Shedding Light on a Dilemma
Congratulations to Dr. George Koshy Vilanilam, a first-year resident in the Department of Radiology, on the publication of his two-part, comprehensive review of the imaging of skull base infections, in the journal Radiology of Infectious Diseases. Part I and Part II explored the extremely challenging and important topic. Delayed detection of skull base infection often results in serious intracranial complications and subsequent morbidity and mortality. Dr. Vilanilam collaborated with coauthors at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was a research fellow before starting his residency at UAMS.
November 6, 2019
In the Spotlight
Dr. Steven Barger, Professor of Geriatrics, has been in the national spotlight for his groundbreaking research into the connections between Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and the metabolic processes that deliver glucose to fuel mental processes in the brain. The work was featured during a news conference hosted by the Society for Neuroscience at its annual meeting in Chicago. Dr. Barger’s abstract was one of only about 50 to be highlighted, out of more than 14,000 submitted, and the research was subsequently featured in Forbes, the American Association for the Advancement of Science EurekAlert!, and other outlets such as dLife.
His team’s research into Alzheimer’s pathology shows how a defect in the glucose delivery system can mimic diabetes. The findings could lead to effective treatments for patients even after the appearance of the hallmark amyloid plaque in the brain. Hats off to Dr. Barger and his colleagues, including Dr. Antiño Allen in the College of Pharmacy; Drs. Gwen Childs and Angela Odle in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences; graduate student Jakeira Davis; and former Neurobiology graduate student Dr. Rachel Hendrix.
Resident and Scholar
Fourth-year general surgery resident Dr. John Pagteilan excels as a surgeon and has been recognized by medical students as an exceptional educator. Dr. Pagteilan has also found time for impressive scholarly work. Chief Resident Dr. Nick Tingquist wrote to let me know that Dr. Pagteilan has done three oral presentations this year alone at national and regional meetings including the IASLC North American Conference on Lung Cancer, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association. Great job, Dr. Pagteilan, and thanks as well to Dr. Matthew Steliga, Division Head of Thoracic Surgery, and Dr. Jason Muesse, for providing a strong mentoring foundation for residents.
UAMS Pathology and Dermatopathology trainees and medical students “dominated” at the recent American Society of Dermatopathology annual meeting in San Diego, in the words of one of their faculty mentors. Dr. Katelynn Campbell, a dermatopathology fellow, and Dr. Miki Lindsey, a first-year pathology resident, gave oral presentations. Second-year pathology residents Dr. Kellen Dawson, Dr. Amrit Singh and Dr. Richard Dunn, and medical students Michael Franzetti and Jeremy Light all presented posters. They were cheered on by their “super proud” mentors, Associate Professors Dr. Sara Shalin and Dr. Jerad Gardner, who also had their plates full with numerous presentations, sessions and invited talks.
Congratulations to the research team at the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, on the inclusion of one of their recent papers in the American Physiological Society’s APSselect. The monthly roundup spotlights some of the most exceptional original research articles gleaned from the 10 APS research journals. The selected paper, “Exercise plasma metabolomics and xenometabolomics in obese, sedentary, insulin-resistant women: impact of a fitness and weight loss intervention,” was the result of multi-institutional research led by ACNC Director Dr. Sean Adams, Professor and Section Chief of Developmental Nutrition in the Department of Pediatrics. The team examined how an acute exercise bout in women changes hundreds of blood metabolites (the metabolome), generating a surprising finding that exercise triggers a rise in gut bacteria- and food-derived molecules in circulation. This raises the possibility that exercise leads to increased bioavailability of “non-self” molecules that could have important effects on health and function.
A shout-out to Dr. Terry Harville, Professor of Pathology and Internal Medicine, on his latest publication, an editorial in the November issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. His commentary on a review article in the journal along with earlier findings is titled “‘Testing’ for antibody deficiencies: Is it ‘practical’ for the clinician?” and can be read here.
Dr. Kimo Stine, Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, and his team have been approved for a Hematology Treatment Center Twinning Partnership with Pristina, Kosovo, by the World Federation of Hemophilia. The collaborative partnership between Arkansas Children’s and the hemophilia program in Kosovo will help improve the diagnosis, care and treatment for patients with hemophilia and other inherited blood diseases in Kosovo. Kudos to Dr. Stine and this team for their compassion and care for children around the world as well as here in Arkansas.
We may be well into autumn, but students haven’t forgotten their summer learning experiences with faculty members. The second-year students I had breakfast with this week applauded the summer in Surgery program, especially Dr. Deidre Wyrick and Dr. Todd Maxson; along with summer preceptorships in Emergency Medicine as well as Family Medicine through UAMS Regional Programs. They also said they received excellent guidance about choosing summer programs such as Honors in Research, and they expressed special appreciation for Dr. Bobby McGehee. Meanwhile, students are enjoying their experiences this fall in the Practice of Medicine 2 clinical preceptorship. They cited Dr. Michael Angtuaco in Pediatrics as a particularly outstanding preceptor. Well done everyone!
October 30, 2019
Great News from the LCME
In 2015, the COM received full, eight-year accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), with follow-up reporting requested on only two issues. One of those was fully resolved last year, and on Friday, we received a superb report from the LCME and the great news that no additional monitoring is needed on the final element, which related to student educational debt and measures to provide our students with appropriate financial aid services including debt management counseling.
A lot of hard work went into ensuring continued compliance and successful monitoring of this accreditation component, and to enhancing financial aid services for our students. Dr. James Graham, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, did an outstanding job leading this effort, which included extensive surveys with students and strong team work with UAMS Student Financial Services, the Provost’s Office and more. We want to thank all of our colleagues in Student Financial Services, including Gloria Kemp, Candace Lane and Janice Nottenkamper.
Honoring Service to UAMS
This week, UAMS pays tribute to those who make our institution so special: YOU! This year’s longest-serving UAMS team members include two on our faculty, Dr. Linda McGhee, Associate Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine and a faculty member and former Program Director of the UAMS Northwest Family Medicine Residency Program; and Dr. James Suen, Distinguished Professor and former Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Both have served at UAMS for 45 years! Read more about Dr. Suen and Dr. McGhee here.
Two COM team members have served for 40 years: Gwenn Higginbotham, Administrative Specialist III in the Department of Neurology; and Dr. John Shock, Distinguished Professor and former Chair of Ophthalmology, who was also Founding Director of the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute.
UAMS staff and faculty with 20-plus years of service were recognized at the Employee Service Awards Ceremony on Tuesday. Those with 5, 10 and 15 years of service will be recognized at a reception at 1:00 p.m. this Thursday on the 12th floor of the Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute. Click here for the full list of everyone who is being honored this year. Congratulations to all of you – and thank you!
Dr. Sara Landes, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and psychologist and implementation scientist for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, was a standout at the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Experience in Washington, D.C., last week. Dr. Landes received the VHA iEX Best Demo in Innovative Research Award for her presentation on “Caring Contacts” for suicide prevention among veterans. You can catch Dr. Landes’ presentation in this video (starting at the 14:00 mark). Her demo and presentations by other CAVHS team members also were highlighted in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Congratulations Dr. Landes!
Congratulations to Dr. Hoda Hagrass, Assistant Professor of Pathology, on her appointment to the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Publications Core Committee, which oversees the organization’s publications activities in laboratory medicine and sets direction for the AACC publications program in accordance with the strategic vision of the board of directors. Dr. Hagrass serves as Medical Director of Clinical Chemistry and Immunology Laboratories at UAMS and as Medical Director of Clinical Chemistry and Metabolic Diseases Laboratories at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Mark Smeltzer, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, is a Co-Investigator on a $5.6 million grant awarded to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to advance a groundbreaking bone regeneration technology that could help wounded soldiers, trauma victims and patients with bone disease. The team includes UA Little Rock’s Dr. Alex Biris, Principal Investigator, and Dr. David Anderson of the University of Tennessee Knoxville, in addition to Dr. Smeltzer and colleagues at UAMS. Read about this extraordinary project in the UA Little Rock Newsroom.
A shout-out to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology faculty and residents and COM student who have had their research accepted for the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology/Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (CREOG/APGO) Annual Meeting next February. Assistant Professor Dr. Lindsey Sward, resident Dr. Zach Pettis and COM senior Joseph Levy will lead a break-out session on “Keeping Men in OB/Gyn: Addressing Gender Disparities in the Ob/Gyn Clerkship.” Also heading to Orlando are resident Dr. Meredith McKinney and Assistant Professor Dr. Luann Racher, whose project, “Obstetrical Anal Sphincter Repair Using a Porcine Model,” has been accepted for the conference film festival.
Best Poster, – the Sequel
Drs. Karina Clemmons, Sara Tariq, Jason Mizell, James Graham and Puru Thapa, along with COM junior Annlee-Taylor Glass, took home a first-place poster award from the Learning Communities Institute national meeting – for the second year in a row. This year’s poster, “Learning Community Advising may Improve Residency Match Rates,” won in the learner category at the recent meeting in Kansas City. Last year the team aced the competition in the research poster category. Way to go!
October 23, 2019
Research Truly Matters
Dr. Erin Mannen, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, has been in the national news for her groundbreaking research that, simply put, will save the lives of countless babies in the future. As a leading baby biomechanics expert, Dr. Mannen led a team of UAMS researchers in a study into infant inclined sleepers at the behest of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The commission is considering regulations changes for the products following the tragic deaths of dozens of babies who suffocated in the inclined sleepers.
Dr. Mannen’s team of experts from the departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Pediatrics concluded that none of the infant inclined sleep products they evaluated as part of the study were safe. The team included Dr. John Carroll, pediatric pulmonologist, Dr. David Bumpass, pediatric spine surgeon, Dr. Brien Rabenhorst, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Brandi Whitaker, pediatric psychologist, and biomechanics researchers Dr. Junsig Wang and Dr. Safeer F. Siddicky.
You can learn more about the team’s crucially important research in this UAMS news story. The study was also featured in multiple news outlets, including the CBS Evening News and the Washington Post. We are incredibly proud – and grateful – for Dr. Mannen and her colleagues and their many contributions to infant safety, health and wellbeing.
Nationally Certified, World Class
A shout-out to Dr. Aravindhan Veerapandiyan, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Comprehensive Neuromuscular Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and his team for their outstanding work to become a Certified Duchenne Care Center (CDCC) by the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) organization. Major kudos also to Dr. Vikki Stefans, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, who began building the team at ACH over 30 years ago. Families of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy drive as long as six hours, from surrounding states, for the world-class care this team provides. Read more in the ACH Newsroom.
Insights into Step 1 Prep
Congratulations to Dr. Jasna Vuk, Associate Professor in the UAMS Student Success Center and the COM medical students and staff who collaborated on a newly published paper sharing insights about the student-led Step 1 exam prep program at UAMS. The authors include COM seniors Santiago Gonzalez and Basilia Gonzalez, who are the founding leaders of the prep program, and Raj Singh, certified research specialist in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Their paper was published in MedEdPublish, a journal of the Association for Medical Education. Great job!
A Month for Celebrations
Endowed chairs have been among the highest academic honors bestowed by universities on members of their faculty for centuries. This month we celebrate the investitures of four College of Medicine faculty members! Congratulations to each of these exemplary colleagues:
Dr. Randy Shinn, Assistant Professor of Geriatrics, became the inaugural holder of the Pat Walker Distinguished Chair in Senior Health on Oct. 3. Dr. Shinn, Medical Director for the Washington Regional Senior Clinic at the UAMS Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Springdale, has provided instrumental leadership to ensure the very best care for seniors in Northwest Arkansas for over two decades. He has served in many other leadership roles in clinical care, education and outreach.
Dr. J.D. Day, Professor and Chair of Neurosurgery, was invested in the Robert Watson, M.D., Chair in Neurological Surgery on Oct. 10. Dr. Day has propelled the Department of Neurosurgery and the Neurosciences Service Line to new heights since joining our faculty in 2010. He is also an internationally recognized leader in skull base surgery and specialist in Gamma Knife surgery and vascular disorders of the brain. We are grateful for his ongoing leadership and dedication to excellence on behalf of those we serve.
Dr. Arabinda Choudhary, Professor and Chair of Radiology, became the Ernest J. Ferris, M.D., Endowed Chair in Diagnostic Radiology on Oct. 14. Dr. Choudhary joined us in August, bringing extensive clinical, academic and executive experience from previous posts at top tier hospitals. He is internationally recognized for his work in pediatric neuroimaging and imaging related to pediatric abusive head trauma. We look forward to a bright, bold future in Radiology under Dr. Choudhary’s leadership.
This month will end on a high note with the Oct. 28 investiture of Dr. Mark Smeltzer, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Orthopaedic Surgery, in the Chair in Sciences Basic to Medicine. Dr. Smeltzer is one of the most highly funded microbiology researchers in the nation with multiple NIH and DOD grants. In addition to his own research into staphylococcal pathogenesis, he serves as Director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Host Inflammatory Responses, which has garnered $21.2 million to date from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and supports projects and training for junior researchers. Dr. Smeltzer has received many awards for his research, teaching and mentorship.
At the Top
Dr. Jerad Gardner, Associate Professor of Pathology and Dermatology, is ranked No. 1 on The Pathologist magazine’s 2019 Power List. The annual list features the top 100 trailblazers in pathology and laboratory medicine. Dr. Gardner was recognized for championing the use of social media to advance education, research and patient outreach in pathology. He has lectured internationally on the topic and has tens of thousands of subscribers and followers on platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Congratulations Dr. Gardner!
Congratulations to Dr. Simon Mears, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, on his election to the prestigious national Hip Society. Dr. Mears is only the third Arkansan to receive this honor, following the late Dr. Carl Nelson and current Professor and Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery Dr. Lowry Barnes. Dr. Mears will be a great asset to the society and represent UAMS very well.
The innovative, collaborative work of the UAMS and VA Center for Musculoskeletal Disease Research and colleagues in Orthopaedic Surgery, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Biomedical Informatics is in the national spotlight this month. A paper by Dr. Jinhu Xiong and first-author Dr. Xuehua Li, with coauthors including UAMS’ Drs. Li Han, Intawat Nookaew, Erin Mannen and Maria Almeida, was published in eLIFE. Their article, “Stimulation of Piezo1 by mechanical signals promotes bone anabolism” was also highlighted in an eLIFE “Insight” article focusing on how the skeleton senses and adapts to changes in the mechanical load it carries. The UAMS team was one of two independent groups to confirm and report on the role of Piezo 1, a protein embedded in the cell membrane.
October 9, 2019
Pediatric Otolaryngology Champion
Congratulations to Dr. Chuck Bower, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, who will receive the 2019 Pediatric Otolaryngology Advocacy Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Otolaryngology. Dr. Bower has championed pediatric otolaryngology care for children throughout his career. He is being recognized for his service as an Executive Committee member, Section Chair and mainstay of the Otoscopy Workshop, and for his outstanding work to educate pediatricians through AAP policy statements, the AAP National Conference and other activities. Dr. Bower will receive the award during the section’s program at the AAP National Conference in New Orleans on Oct. 28.
A shout-out to Professor and Chair Dr. Lowry Barnes and the entire Orthopaedic Surgery team for their incredible effort behind the more than six-fold increase in adult cases over the past five years. With 6,066 adult cases at UAMS Medical Center and 1,323 cases at Conway during the previous year, their clinical caseload today dwarfs the 1,100 adult orthopaedic cases of five years ago. While working to build a clinical presence that serves the entire state, the faculty has also vastly increased its scholarly work and publications.
Serving the Community
Hats off to the two dozen student volunteers from the College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy and College of Health Professions, who participated in the UAMS LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) Health Fair at St. Edward’s Catholic Church on Sunday. COM sophomore Becca Moreira serves as President of the UAMS LULAC chapter. Faculty Preceptors are Dr. Billy Thomas, Professor of Pediatrics, and Dr. Leslie Stone, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Eylem Öcal, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, has been invited to speak on the topic of pediatric cranial abnormalities and hydrocephalus at the American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Meeting in New Orleans this month. Her presentation, “Heads Up: When to Refer for Abnormal Head Size and Shape,” will be made on behalf of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery. Dr. Öcal, who practices at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, is dedicated to neurosurgical education and is particularly interested in international education. She has been invited to teach pediatric neurosurgical topics at four international courses and meetings this year. Well done Dr. Öcal!
Easing GME Scholarly Work
Congratulations to Graduate Medical Education team members Jennifer White and Jennie Kirby and UAMS Clinical Services Librarian Lindsay Blake, the lead author, on their new article in the Journal of Hospital Librarianship. The article, “Building an Online Framework to Guide Residents through ACGME Required Scholarly Activities,” highlights the Research and Scholarly Activities Guide introduced to UAMS residents in 2018. The guide has helped to streamline scholarly work for our residents by bringing together disparate resources and reducing the time needed for steps such as finding statisticians and publication venues.
Pediatric Hem/Onc Presenters
Faculty members in the Hematology Section of the Department of Pediatrics will have a number of key roles at the 2020 American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) Conference in Fort Worth next May. Dr. Shelley Crary, Associate Professor, has been selected to present a talk on “Coagulation Issues with Vascular Malformation” and was the senior author on a recent related article in Pediatric Blood & Cancer. Dr. Crary is a member of the ASPHO planning committee and will moderate another talk at the conference. Dr. Amir Mian, Associate Professor, will facilitate a workshop on “Financial Toxicity – a critical gap in care for survivors of childhood cancer.” Great work, Dr. Crary and Dr. Mian!
October 2, 2019
A Year of Celebrating YOU
This week marks the first anniversary of Accolades. Many of you have told me that you enjoy reading about accomplishments and honors of fellow College of Medicine team members. I want to take a moment to say a special thanks to those who have taken the time to lift up deserving colleagues. Thank you for embracing the culture of thoughtfulness and appreciation that we seek to foster in our college. That’s what Accolades is all about!
Congratulations to Dr. Jill Mhyre, the Dola S. Thompson Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, on her appointment to the ACGME Review Committee for Anesthesiology. In addition to being a well-earned national honor, Dr. Mhyre’s work on behalf of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will yield insights for our own anesthesiology training programs.
Transforming Health Care
Hats off to Dr. Feliciano “Pele” Yu Jr., Professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Biomedical Informatics and College of Public Health, for his excellent work to obtain initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for a Clinical Informatics Fellowship Program. We will be one of the pioneering programs in the country accredited by the ACGME to train physicians in this new information and communication systems-focused subspecialty that will transform health care across all medical specialties. The two-year fellowship will be administered by the Department of Biomedical Informatics and will train adult and pediatric fellows at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
ACP Abernathy Honoree
Dr. Omar Atiq, Professor of Internal Medicine and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, received the Robert Shields Abernathy Award during the American College of Physicians (ACP) Arkansas Chapter’s 2019 Scientific Meeting last month. The award is an ACP Laureate Award, recognizing Fellows or Masters of the ACP who have a long history of excellence and peer approval in internal medicine and who have served their chapter and community with distinction. That certainly describes Dr. Atiq, who also currently serves as Chair of the national ACP Board of Governors. Congratulations Dr. Atiq!
Dr. Sara Tariq, Professor of Internal Medicine and Associate Dean for Student Affairs, will receive the Anna M. Cox Compassionate Service Award at the annual Compassion Works Luncheon in Little Rock on October 29. The award is a top honor from Compassion Works for All, an organization dedicated to serving the disenfranchised and thousands of men and women incarcerated in jails and prisons in Arkansas with limited access to programs or opportunities for healing and personal growth. Dr. Tariq, thank you for your dedication to serving others.
Health Data Leader
Congratulations to Dr. Joe Thompson, Professor of Pediatrics and President and CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI), on being selected to receive the 2019 Elliot M. Stone Award of Excellence in Health Data Leadership. The award from the National Association of Health Data Organizations will be presented at the organization’s annual Healthcare Data Summit, which will be held in Little Rock this November. Dr. Thompson is being recognized for his leadership nationally and in Arkansas in the use of health care and public health data to improve health and facilitate understanding of health care delivery system performance.
Here’s the take-away message from the second-year students I met with over breakfast this week: the time you spend with them really matters. They praised faculty members who let students shadow them on clinical services, especially Dr. Lindsey Sward in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Also mentioned as being among the best of the best were Dr. Charles Matthew Quick and Dr. Jerad Gardner in Pathology, Dr. Alan Diekman in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dr. Sung Rhee in Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Dr. Jason Chang in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences. The summer preceptorships in Emergency Medicine and Anesthesiology drew raves, as did the M1 and M2 courses Brain and Behavior, Hematology, Musculoskeletal/Skin and Cardiovascular. Research opportunities, particularly those in Orthopaedic Surgery, also were applauded. Thank you all!
September 25, 2019
I had a great time at the first Breakfast with the Dean of the academic year last Friday. The second-year students we met with shared insights about their experiences so far in medical school – and unsurprisingly, they had fantastic things to say about faculty members. Several students noted their preceptorship in the Practice of Medicine 2 course, including their experiences working with many Emergency Medicine faculty members; Dr. Alexis White in Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Dr. John Bracey in Orthopaedic Surgery. Students also praised a summer preceptorship in the Department of Pathology and the overall teaching, approachability and helpfulness of Pathology faculty members including Drs. Charles Matthew Quick, Jerad Gardner, Steve Post and Eric Rosenbaum, along with resident Dr. Steve Hemberger. Thank you all!
Congratulations to Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility, on her appointment to a four-year term on the FDA Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee evaluates data on the safety and effectiveness of investigational and marketed drugs used in the practice of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease, obstetrics and gynecology, urology and related specialties and makes recommendations to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs.
Congratulations to Dr. Jay Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics and Stebbins Chair in Cardiology, on his latest international honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences. He received the award Sept. 14 in Serbia, during the academy’s joint meeting for Europe and North America. Also this month, Dr. Mehta and international colleagues published an insightful review article on “Epigenetic Modification in Coronary Atherosclerosis” in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the world’s premier cardiology journal. The authors discuss major epigenetic changes that contribute to coronary artery disease (CAD) and the latest findings on environmental influences on epigenetic profiles in development of the disease.
Wave of the Future
Dr. Spyridoula Maraka, Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, was part of an international team that has been in the spotlight for successfully delivering life-saving insulin to a remote island via a specially designed, autonomous drone. The first-ever accomplishment, and Dr. Maraka’s innovative contributions, were featured in multiple national and statewide news reports, including this from ABC News and this report from KARK in Little Rock. Great job Dr. Maraka!
Dedicated to Dr. Tad Fiser
The fourth edition of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization’s ECMO Specialist Training Manual is dedicated to the late Dr. Tad Fiser, who served in the Department of Pediatrics from 2000 until his death in 2017. The dedication recognizes his commitment to expanding the safe and appropriate use of ECMO technology. Dr. Fiser was a national leader in the field, and in addition to growing the Arkansas Children’s Hospital-based team, he trained many providers around the country through workshops in Arkansas. An endowed lecture was established in Dr. Fiser’s memory, and this year’s lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, November 12, 12:00 noon, in Chairman’s Hall. The Visiting Professor will be Dr. Thomas Brogan, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington, who is senior editor for the latest edition of the manual.
If the answer is “Los Angeles,” then in true “Jeopardy!” gameshow fashion, the question must be: “Where is a team of UAMS Internal Medicine residents headed following their state round victory in the American College of Physicians (ACP) “Jeopardy!” quiz?” I am pleased to report that third-year residents Dr. Akshay Goel, Dr. Lovepreet Singh and Dr. Anna Witt will represent UAMS and Arkansas in a medical “Jeopardy!” competition at the ACP national meeting in Los Angeles next April. We know they will continue to make us proud.
Elected to AOA
Dr. Benjamin Davis, Assistant Professor in the Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha at the national medical honor society’s Fall Meeting on Sept. 4. AOA membership is a lifelong honor signifying dedication to the ideals of professionalism, leadership, scholarship, research and community service. Elected faculty members must have demonstrated a strong commitment to scholarly excellence and medical education. Congratulations to Dr. Davis on this well-deserved honor!
Addressing Orthopaedic Barriers
A shout-out to fourth-year Orthopaedic Surgery resident Dr. Asa Shnaekel and the wonderful team in the UAMS Center for Health Literacy for their collaboration to address barriers that African American patients with osteoarthritis face when considering total knee arthroplasty. Dr. Shnaekel received a grant from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation for the work, which will focus on educational interventions to address racial disparities relating to total knee arthroplasty.
September 18, 2019
Bright Future for Cancer Research & Care
Last week’s announcement of the recruitment of Dr. Michael Birrer, an internationally recognized medical oncologist, as the next Director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute is wonderful news for UAMS and Arkansas. The Cancer Institute has been in great hand under the leadership of Interim Director Dr. Laura Hutchins, Professor of Internal Medicine, who has devoted her career to fighting cancer on behalf of Arkansans.
Dr. Hutchins will be honored as this year’s Distinguished Faculty Scholar, so mark your calendar for her lecture on Tuesday, December 3, 4:00 p.m., in Pauly Auditorium (Rahn G 219). Thank you for ongoing, extraordinary service, Dr. Hutchins!
Sincere thanks as well to Dr. Steppe Mette, for leading the search committee for the new Cancer Institute Director, along with committee members Drs. Stephanie Gardner, Jennifer Hunt, Donald Johann, Jonathan Laryea, Mayumi Nakagawa, Joseph Su, Alan Tackett, Frits van Rhee, Kent Westbrook, Linda Worley and Fen Xia, and Cancer Institute Foundation board members Stuart Cobb and Ray Dillon.
Dr. Terry Harville, Professor of Pathology and Internal Medicine, is the lead author on a major article, published this month in Frontiers in Psychiatry, discussing how inheritance of HLA-Cw7 expression is associated with autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Harville’s colleagues include faculty and staff from the departments of Pathology (Dr. Bobbie Rhodes-Clark) and Pediatrics/Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (Sirish C. Bennuri, Marie Tippett, Dr. Shannon Rose, Dr. Stephen Kahler) as well as the UAMS College of Public Health, the National Center for Toxicological Research and other institutions around the country. The group identified that HLA-Cw7 expression may be resulting in chronic immune system activation in a subset of patients with autism who exhibit immune system-related findings. Moreover, this chronic immune system activation may actually be resulting in the autism. Congratulations on this outstanding work!
Met on Facebook
An article co-authored by Dr. Jerad Gardner, Associate Professor of Pathology and Dermatology, and published in JAMA Network Open, demonstrates the power of using international Facebook patient support groups in medicine and research. The study is believed to be the largest-ever survey of patients with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP), an extremely rare soft tissue sarcoma. Dr. Gardner was featured on KARK-TV last night, and you can also read more in the COM Newsroom. Congratulations also on the publication of Dr. Gardner’s new textbook, Survival Guide to Dermatopathology.
Ready to Serve Rural Arkansans
This year’s $20,000 Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Primary Care Scholarships have been awarded to third-year medical student Olivia Brasher of North Little Rock and senior Drake Cullum of Bono. Both of these outstanding students understand the health challenges of rural Arkansans and want to help ensure they can receive high-quality primary care close to home. We are thankful for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s investment in these scholarships, which have been awarded to COM students since 2012. Congratulations Olivia and Drake!
Students Pay it Forward
A shout out to third-year students Jordan Spencer and Amy Scott for collaborating and putting together the fourth annual Women’s Pelvic Exam Workshop at the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center last week. Dr. Elizabeth Gath, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Director at 12th Street, notes that with the gracious help of the UAMS Centers for Simulation Education, 72 first- and second-year students had the opportunity to learn how to do a proper pelvic exam.
September 11, 2019
Congratulations to this year’s nominees and winners of the Dr. Edith Irby Jones Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Awards, which were presented at a celebration last Friday to kick off UAMS Diversity Month. The faculty award went to Dr. Gregory Robinson of the College of Health Professions. The College of Pharmacy’s Danviona King received the student award. The UAMS Library Historical Research Center’s April Hughes received the staff award. Other nominees from throughout campus included: Dr. Antiño Allen, Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, Dr. Aubrey Hough, Kate Liebmann, Dr. Alex Marshall, Dr. Pearl McElfish, Dr. Erick Messias, Rebecca Moreira, Dr. Mildred Randolph, Dr. Sara Tariq and Dr. Billy Thomas. Thank you all for your commitment to a diverse, equitable, inclusive and vibrant community at UAMS!
National Board Appointment
A shout-out to Dr. John Dornhoffer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, for being selected to serve on the eight-member national O&N Board of Directors. O&N is the joint board of the American Neurotology Society (ANS) and the American Otological Society (AOS), with directors selected by the respective Executive Councils. Dr. Dornhoffer is serving as an ANS Director through 2022.
Family Physicians Leader
Congratulations to UAMS Southwest’s Dr. Matthew Nix, Associate Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine, on his appointment as President of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Dr. Nix is Medical Director of the UAMS Family Medical Center in Texarkana and Associate Program Director for the UAMS Family Medicine Residency Program at the UAMS Southwest Regional Campus. He has served our state in numerous leadership and advocacy positions and will be an outstanding leader for the Arkansas AAFP, the state’s largest medical specialty organization.
Congratulations to Dr. Matthew Lindberg, Associate Professor of Pathology, on the recent release of the third edition of his textbook, Diagnostic Pathology: Soft Tissue Tumors, published by Elsevier. Dr. Lindberg also authored the previous edition of the book, issued in 2015. Co-authors on the new edition include Associate Professors Dr. Charles Matthew Quick and Dr. Jerad Gardner, and Assistant Professor Dr. Kandi Stallings-Archer.
Focus on Quality
Patients in UAMS’ Myeloma and Rheumatology clinics will benefit from a new quality improvement project to improve pneumococcal vaccine protection for high-risk, immunocompromised adults. Collaborators Lea Mabry, M.Ed., UAMS Director of Continuing Education, Dr. Robert Hopkins, Professor and Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine, and Dr. Mary Burgess, Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, received a $100,000 grant from Pfizer to fund the project. The team aims to increase vaccination rates by 25% in six months for the highest-risk patients through systems improvements relating to assessment of need, educational sessions for health care team members, and more. Thank you for your innovative work and dedication to quality improvement for our patients!
AAPI Pilot Award
Congratulations to Dr. George Vilanilam, a first-year Radiology resident, on winning the Pilot Grant Award from the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Arkansas. The award, presented at the AAPI’s annual meeting on Aug. 24, reflects the promising clinical and research career ahead for this outstanding College of Medicine trainee!
(Ultra) Sound Victory
And finally this week, bravo to the third-year COM students who aced the competition at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) South Central Regional Conference Sonogames/Simwars at UT Southwestern/Parkland in Dallas on Saturday. Putting their ultrasound skills to the test were first-place team members Paige Plumley, Joel McGowan, Blake Wiggins, Jace Bradshaw, Anjali Patel and Allison Schneider; and second-place team members Lane Gay, Cameron Parsley, Karam Sra, Caitlin Hirsh, and Dustin Brown. Hats off as well to all of the faculty members who helped spur our students to victory, including Department of Emergency Medicine Assistant Professors Dr. Zachary Lewis and Dr. Jason Arthur, who also helped organize and conduct the Sonogames competition.
September 4, 2019
AAMC Leadership Award
I was delighted to hear about the latest prestigious national honor for Dr. Jennifer Hunt, Professor and Chair of Pathology. Dr. Hunt will receive the 2019 Group on Women in Medicine and Science Emerging Leadership Award for an Individual during the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Annual Meeting in Phoenix in November. She was nominated by Dr. Roberta Gebhard, President of the American Medical Women’s Association, and our own Dr. Jennifer Laudadio, Associate Professor of Pathology. This is the first year that the award recognizes an emerging faculty leader for their contributions to advancing women leaders in academic medicine and science. Congratulations Dr. Hunt!
Tops in Clinical Trial
Congratulations to Dr. Erika Petersen, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, on being named the lead Principal Investigator for a major national clinical trial exploring a unique type of spinal cord stimulation for treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy. Nevro Corp., which is conducting the SENZA-PDN study, lauded Dr. Petersen for her leadership of the study at UAMS, which, despite being one of the last centers to open for enrollment, achieved a randomization rate more than three-fold higher than the overall study average and will finish among the top-ranked sites.
The company also applauded the outstanding contributions of sub-investigators Dr. Heejung Choi, Dr. Chris Paul and Dr. Johnathan Goree of the Department of Anesthesiology; neuropsychological assessments by Dr. Jennifer Kleiner and Dr. Jennifer Gess of the Department of Psychiatry; and research support services provided by the Translational Research Institute. As the lead PI, Dr. Petersen will be the first author of the primary endpoint analysis report and will represent investigators at many conference presentations of the study data.
Latunja Sockwell, Program Manager in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, has truly earned a place in the spotlight. Her dedication to HIV/AIDS research and education shines in this KARK Health Matters story, while this Daily Record feature tells the personal story behind her life’s work to “slay” a figurative dragon. Ms. Sockwell has just received a $2.5 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for Project HEAL, a partnership between UAMS and the Better Community Development organization. The program will expand and enhance treatment and recovery support services for African American adults who are involved in the criminal justice system, have a substance abuse disorder or co-occurring mental illness, and are at high risk for HIV/Viral Hepatitis infection or transmission.
Congratulations to our faculty members who were honored at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Arkansas on Aug. 24. Dr. G. Richard “Rick” Smith, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, received the Outstanding Arkansan Award for his decades of leadership in psychiatry and academic medicine. AAPI Arkansas presented Academic Excellence Awards to Dr. Shashank Kraleti, Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, and Associate Professors of Geriatrics Dr. Priya Mendiratta and Dr. Kalpana Padala. Dr. Suman Peela, a third-year family medicine resident, picked up a first place prize as the lead author on a poster. I had a great time at this event and appreciate the AAPI’s commitment to professional excellence, quality patient care, charitable activities and cultural integrity.
Congratulations to Ashley Sanders, Manager of Operations for the Department of Pathology and Pathology fellowship programs, on her appointment to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Milestones 2.0 Work Group for Dermatopathology. The work group includes pathology experts within graduate medical education, faculty, staff, trainees and others from across the country. The group will review and revise current GME Milestones and develop a specially tailored set to be used by all dermatopathology programs. Thank you for doing an outstanding job here at UAMS and for sharing your expertise at the national level!
Health Disparities Research
A shout-out to Dr. Eva Woodward, a psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Center for Health Services Research in the Department of Psychiatry, who was selected to attend the competitive Health Disparities Research Institute hosted at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Aug. 12-16. The institute supports career development of promising health disparities research scientists and stimulates relevant research across disciplines.
Published in Pediatrics
Congratulations to Dr. Jose Romero, Professor of Pediatrics, on his latest high-profile article, “Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in Children’s Hospitals: 2014-2017,” published this month in Pediatrics. Dr. Romero, the Horace C. Cabe Professor and Director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Section, coordinated data collection for the study at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, one of eight contributing sites across the country.
Dr. Spyridoula Maraka, Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine Division of Endocrinology, continues to draw national attention for her research into the treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism in pregnancy. Most recently, her article “Practice variation in the care of subclinical hypothyroidism during pregnancy – A national survey of physicians in the U.S.,” published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, was featured in the Aug. 20 Endocrine Daily Briefing, and received media attention in Endocrine Today, which interviewed Dr. Maraka.
Receiving a national award from an organization in your field of study is uncommon for a physician in training. Receiving two in the same week is almost unheard of. But I’m happy to report that is what happened to Dr. Musa Yilanli, a second-year fellow in the Department of Psychiatry’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. On August 21 he received word from the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry that he had received a travel award to attend the AAAP annual meeting and scientific symposium in San Diego, where he will present a poster, in December. The next day Dr. Yilanli learned that he had also been awarded a travel grant from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to attend the annual AACAP meeting in Chicago in October. Way to go Dr. Yilanli!
Primary Care for Rural Arkansas add link when news release posts Wed 9-4
Finally this week, I want to express my gratitude for the hard work of the team that helped UAMS secure a $4.6 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to expand our efforts to train and retain much-needed primary care physicians for rural and underserved areas of Arkansas. Arkansas Medical Education Primary Care Partnerships is a collaboration of the College of Medicine, including our Department of Family and Preventive Medicine (DFPM), and UAMS Regional Campuses.
As Program Director, I am incredibly thankful for Co-Directors Dr. Marcia Byers, Director of Clinical Innovation for UAMS Regional Campuses, Dr. Daniel Knight, DFPM Chair, and Dr. Leslie Stone, Director of Medical Student Education for DFPM. Many thanks to Regional Campuses’ Robin Howell, the primary writer on the grant proposal, along with Amber Marshall Fluharty and Jessica Bursk. Key contributors in DPFM also included Dr. Diane Jarrett, who will serve as the project evaluator, as well as Dr. Bill Ventres. You are a great team, and I look forward to working with you to improve access to high-quality health care for all Arkansans.
August 21, 2019
Congratulations to Dr. Jia Liu, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, on a very special honor – being named the Community Champion of the Year by the Arkansas Ovarian Coalition. Dr. Liu will be honored at Teal Light Night, the organization’s annual fundraiser, on September 27. We are all proud of Dr. Liu’s dedication to engaging the community as part of her research into engineering virus-based therapies to improve ovarian cancer patient outcomes and survival. If you are interested in attending the fundraiser in support of the organization and Dr. Liu, click here for more information.
Hats off to our Diagnostic Radiology Class of 2020 on their 100% first-time pass rate on the American Board of Radiology Core Exam. We are extremely proud of our senior residents: Drs. Shivang Desai, Joshua Eichhorn, Blake Jacks, Memoona Mian, Shobhit Sharma, James Sorensen, Harika Tirumani and Vibhor Wadhwa. Nationally this year there was a record 16% failure rate on this exam, making our residents’ accomplishment even more significant. We continue the trend of 100% first-time pass rate for the past three years!
Congratulations to Dr. Charles Matthew Quick, Associate Professor of Pathology, and his UAMS and international colleagues on the recent publication of their two-volume textbook, Gynecologic and Obstetric Pathology. Dr. Quick was an editor as well as chapter author of the comprehensive reference book, published by Springer, for practicing pathologists, pathology residents, gynecologic pathology and oncology fellows, clinicians and biomedical researchers. Chapter authors from UAMS include Associate Professors of Pathology Dr. Sara Shalin and Dr. Susanne Jeffus, Dermatopathology Fellow Dr. Katelynn Campbell, and Dr. Rosalia C.M. Simmen, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics.
Serving Arkansans in Crisis
A shout-out to Dr. Lisa Evans, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of the Pulaski County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit, along with the program’s multidisciplinary team, for becoming the state’s first nationally accredited unit of its kind. The accreditation signals the very high standard of care at the 16-bed unit, which has had some 500 admissions since opening one year ago. It is one of four units authorized for development by the Arkansas Legislature to help address the mental health crisis. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Spine Service Recognized
Kudos to Dr. David Bumpass, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Dr. Noojan Kazemi, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, for leading the successful collaborative effort to obtain national Blue Distinction Specialty Care Plus designation from Blue Cross/Blue Shield for the Neuro and Ortho Spine Service. The program recognizes providers that demonstrate expertise in delivering high quality, affordable health care and meeting consumers’ specialty care needs safely, effectively and cost-efficiently. Participating surgeons from the Department of Neurosurgery are Dr. J.D. Day, Professor and Chair; Dr. T. Glenn Pait, Professor; Dr. Erika Petersen, Associate Professor; and Dr. Thomas Morris, Dr. Viktoras Palys and Dr. Analiz Rodriguez, Assistant Professors. Participating surgeons from Orthopaedic Surgery are Dr. Richard McCarthy, Professor, and Dr. Samuel Overley, Assistant Professor. Thanks also to M.J. Orellano, P.T., M.B.A., Neurosciences Service Line Administrative Director. Great job everyone!
August 14, 2019
Inspiring Students in NWA
I had the pleasure of visiting with third-year students based at UAMS-Northwest over lunch recently. As I’ve done with M1s and M2s at breakfasts in the past, I asked these students what has been their highlight of medical school so far. The impact of our faculty members in Northwest Arkansas, as well as those in Little Rock, was clear. They mentioned several dedicated faculty members and local physician preceptors by name, including Dr. Bonnie Baker (Internal Medicine/Cardiology), Dr. Stephen Johnson (Internal Medicine), Dr. Glenda Patterson (Internal Medicine/Pulmonary), Dr. Wayne Hudec (Surgery), and Dr. Elijah Bolin (Pediatrics/Cardiology).
National Panel Leader
Dr. Jennifer Laudadio, Associate Professor of Pathology, will lend her expertise and leadership as the Chair of a new Technical Expert Panel for the College of American Pathologists. The panel of pathologists from around the country and a variety of practice settings will provide feedback and perspective on the identification, development, specification, testing, reevaluation and implementation of quality measures for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Payment Program.
Hope for Stroke Patients
Congratulations to Dr. Bill Culp, Professor of Radiology, Surgery and Neurology, and colleagues on the publication of a seminal article on the first human stroke trial of dodecafluoropentane emulsion (DDFPe) in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology. The article is the culmination of a Phase Ib/II clinical trial and many years of work by collaborators in several departments. The study demonstrated the safety of DDFPe for carrying oxygen to hypoxic brain tissue during acute stroke and showed significant signs of efficacy as well. Co-authors are Dr. Sanjeeva Onteddu (Neurology), Dr. Aliza Brown (Radiology/Neurology), Dr. Krishna Nalleballe (Neurology), Dr. Rohan Sharma (Neurology), Dr. Robert Skinner (Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences), Dr. Taylor Witt (Radiology), Dr. Paula Roberson (Biostatistics), and Dr. James Marsh (Internal Medicine).
A shout-out to Dr. Yuri Zarate, Associate Professor in the Genetics and Metabolism Section of the Department of Pediatrics, for his nationally recognized work relating to SATB2-Associated Syndrome (SAS). SAS is a rare multisystem disorder characterized by significant neurodevelopmental compromise with limited or absent speech, behavioral issues, craniofacial anomalies and other symptoms. Dr. Zarate and genetics counselor Katie Bosanko, M.S., CGC, organized the only SAS clinic of its kind, bringing children and families from around the country to Arkansas Children’s for multidisciplinary care on July 25-26. Meanwhile, the American Journal of Medical Genetics selected Dr. Zarate for the 2019 John M. Opitz Young Investigator Award for his article, “Natural history and genotype-phenotype correlations in 72 individuals with SATB2-associated syndrome.”
Tracing the Mumps Outbreak
Duah Alkam, a UAMS graduate student, is the first author on a paper just published in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution. In collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health, a team from the Department of Biomedical Informatics sequenced a large set of viral genomes from the 2016 mumps outbreak in Arkansas. Based on the evolutionary history of the whole genome, it appears that the Arkansas outbreak was related to earlier outbreaks in Massachusetts and Washington. Arkansas outbreak strains showed a different set of predicted B-cell epitopes than the commonly used vaccine strains, which might help explain the outbreak within a vaccinated population. The project was funded with a grant to Dr. Se-Ran Jun, an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Informatics, from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.
A novel study by Dr. Spyridoula Maraka, Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine Division of Endocrinology, was reviewed in the August issue of Clinical Thyroidology, the highly valued abstract and commentary publication of the American Thyroid Association. Dr. Maraka’s article, “Variation in treatment practices for subclinical hypothyroidism in pregnancy: US national assessment,” was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrincology and Metabolism on April 24.
Nutrition Data Expertise
Congratulations to Dr. Brian Piccolo, Assistant Professor in the Developmental Nutrition Section of the Department of Pediatrics, on his appointment to the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Statistical Review Board (SRB). As the world’s premier nutrition science society, the ASN publishes a number of high-impact journals. The society recently selected 18 leading experts in statistics and Big Data analysis to form the first-ever SRB for ASN journals.
Boost for ECG Teaching
All of our senior medical students will learn to read ECGs systematically thanks to the ingenuity and hard work of Dr. Hakan Paydak, Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Electrophysiology (EP) Program and the EP Fellowship, and Dr. Fuad Habash, a cardiology fellow. Dr. Paydak has been awarded a $2,955 grant from the Arkansas Medical Society’s Medical Education Foundation for Arkansas (MEFFA) to expand the EKG video library. Previously this teaching was limited to students who took Dr. Paydak’s excellent one-month ECG course. The library expansion will also enable ECG instruction for senior medical students around the United States and the world, bringing recognition to UAMS. Dr. Paydak said Dr. Habash’s technological skills and innovative input were a key to obtaining the grant. Great work!
Congratulations to Dr. Travis Ayers, Assistant Professor in the Pediatric Gastroenterology Section of the Department of Pediatrics, on his recent appointment to a three-year term on the Inflammatory Bowl Disease (IBD) Committee of the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. The organization is the only national society devoted to advancing knowledge of diseases and function of the gastrointestinal tract, liver and pancreas and of normal and abnormal nutrition in infants, children and adolescents.
Above and Beyond
A Florida family’s gratitude for the long-distance insights and help of Dr. Terry Harville, Professor of Pathology, is featured in the current issue of IG Living, a magazine for the immune globulin community. In 2014, the mother of a 17-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Epstein Bar Virus (EBV), and subsequently with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), contacted Dr. Harville after reading an article he had written for the magazine. The teen wasn’t Dr. Harville’s patient, but he took the time to help the family understand their son’s diagnosis and to put them in touch with specialists closer to their small town. Five years later, the young man is thriving. Thanks Dr. Harville.
July 31, 2019
Best of the Best
Hats off to Team UAMS for helping UAMS Medical Center earn recognition as the Best Hospital in Arkansas by U.S. News & World Report – and more! Our ear, nose and throat (ENT) program, led by Dr. John Dornhoffer, was ranked 42nd in the nation. Other clinical programs were noted as “high performing,” with national recognition for cancer services in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and regional recognition for colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. U.S. News evaluated more than 4,500 medical centers in nine procedures and conditions for the report. Sincere thanks to the many leaders, clinicians and staff who made this possible.
Congratulations to Dr. Erika Petersen, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, on receiving the inaugural Clinical Excellence Award from the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience (ASPN) at the society’s annual meeting in Miami last weekend. The award was created to recognize clinicians with exceptional achievements in clinical practice, research and advocacy. Way to go on this well-earned honor Dr. Petersen!
Congratulations to Dr. Tara Johnson, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, and Dr. Isabelle Racine Miousse, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, on their KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Program Scholar Awards, which were just announced by the UAMS Translational Research Institute. Dr. Johnson’s KL2 project is “Implementation and Quantification of the General Movement Assessment for Early Detection of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Infants.” Dr. Racine Miousse’s project is “Decreasing Methionine Intake to Improve Survival in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma.” Read more about the KL2 program here.
Congratulations to Dr. Kirt Simmons, Professor in the Department of Pediatric and Special Needs Dentistry, on two recent national appointments. He was reappointed to the Facial Identification Subcommittee of the Organization of Scientific Committees in the U.S. Department of Justice. Dr. Simmons also was selected as the orthodontic reviewer for program accreditation for the American Cleft Lip and Palate Association. Thank you for your outstanding work here and at the national level Dr. Simmons!
A shout-out to Dr. Priya Mendiratta, Associate Professor of Geriatrics, who just became a Certified Medical Director by the American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. Dr. Mendiratta is the Medical Director for Presbyterian Village and Premier Health and Rehabilitation Center, which are teaching facilities for medical students, residents and fellows. She directs the Geriatrics Clerkship and is active in resident education, leading a telemedicine initiative for training residents at the university’s regional campuses.
Dr. Jerad Gardner, Associate Professor of Pathology and Dermatology, is known by pathologists, trainees and students around the world through his expert use of social media for teaching and learning, networking, patient advocacy, research and communication. The Pathology Department at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia invited Dr. Gardner to present a Grand Rounds on “Social Media and the Pathologist” earlier this month, along with a microscopic slide seminar on rare soft tissue and skin tumors. See what the buzz is all about in his PPT presentation. Dr. Gardner’s national exposure continued last week, when he was featured on the West Wind Podcast.
It Takes a Village
I will close this week on a serious note. Imagine a mother with five small children, homeless, sleeping on the sidewalk for several nights. The team at Arkansas Children’s showed extraordinary compassion for one such family just last week. Dr. Rick Barr, Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, wrote about it in his newsletter, The Beat with Dr. Barr.
After police discovered the family, a virtual “village” at ACH responded, including Clinical Operations Manager Kelley Means, BSN, RN, CPN, and Dr. Karen Young in the General Pediatric Clinic. The children received expert evaluation, compassionate clinical care and support, and much more, including clothing, toys and essentials to take with them as they were placed in a safe and stable home. As Dr. Barr noted, this situation wasn’t unique. It was just the latest example of how this team puts their heart into everything they do. I am profoundly grateful.
July 24, 2019
Congratulations to our 14 Clinical Anesthesia 2 (CA-2) residents on their 100% pass rate on the American Board of Anesthesiology Basic Exam – and to the many faculty and staff members whose dedication to resident education made this possible. These outstanding residents are Drs. Kevin Barkley, Daniel Bingham, Elizabeth Blankenship, Stephanie Kierstead, Paul Lee, Wan Lovichit, Will McSpadden, Azhar Merchant, Matt Palascak, Banks Peterson, Blake Plyler, Renee Tolly, Benjamin Woodle and Andrew Wright. Special thanks to Dr. Jill Mhyre, Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology; Program Director Dr. Charles Napolitano; Associate Program Directors Drs. Shannon Dare, Riley Lide and Jill Ramsey; Drs. Donald Crabtree and Kristen Lienhart; staff members Mary Beth Gresham, Ashley Gregory and Alex Vandiver; along with many CRNAs, senior residents and APRNS.
A shout-out to Northwest Arkansas-based College of Medicine senior Jessica Bettis, who was the lead author on an article that has been accepted for publication in the American Journal of Surgery. She completed research for “What Makes Them Different? An Exploration of Mentoring for Female Faculty, Residents, and Medical Students Pursuing a Career in Surgery” for her honors research thesis. Congratulations as well to co-authors Dr. Krista Stephenson, a PGY3 surgery resident; Drs. Mary Katherine Kimbrough, Rachel Slotcavage and Carol Thrush of the Department of Surgery; and Dr. Erika Petersen of the Department of Neurosurgery.
Congratulations to Ph.D. student Keisha Cawley and M.D./Ph.D. student Ryan MacLeod on their recent honors from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR). Both students work with Dr. Charles O’Brien, Professor of Endocrinology and Director of the Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases. Keisha received the Young Investigator Award, and Ryan received a Young Investigator Travel Grant. Both students will be presenting at the annual ASBMR meeting in Orlando, Florida in September, and Keisha will be honored for her abstract during the President’s Dessert Reception.
Dr. Linda L.M. Worley, Professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology and Associate Regional Dean for the College of Medicine at the UAMS Northwest campus, is the senior author on an American Psychiatric Association Consultation Liaison Council (APA C-L) Resource Document on the all-too-common problem of “boarding” patients in need of psychiatric care in Emergency Departments. The newly published article in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine was a collaboration with lead author Dr. Kimberly Nordstrom of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and APA C-L Council colleagues from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Columbia University, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The authors discussed the need for both Emergency Department-focused and system-wide approaches to help solve the problem. Thank you for lending your expertise to this important work, Dr. Worley.
Dr. Whit Hall, a Professor in the Neonatology Section of the Department of Pediatrics, received well-earned kudos from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas (RMHCA) this month for his 25 years of ongoing service on the organization’s Board of Directors. In addition to serving on the RMHCA’s capital campaign committee, Dr. Hall was integrally involved in raising funds to build a new Ronald McDonald House in 2016. And thanks to Dr. Hall, fellow board members and many generous donors, the Ronald McDonald House Family Room at UAMS will open this December, providing families who have babies in the NICU a place to stay without worrying about the cost or logistical burden of having a child hospitalized far from home. Thank you for your tireless work on behalf of critically ill babies and their families, Dr. Hall.
UAMS was well represented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Science Research Conference on “the Growth Hormone and Prolactin Family in Biology and Disease” in West Palm Beach, Florida, earlier this month, with three team members giving invited talks. Dr. Gwen Childs, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, presented “Post-transcriptional Pathways Regulated by Leptin in the Control of Somatotrope Function.” Dr. Melody Allensworth-James, a postdoctoral fellow, gave a short talk: “Ablation of Musashi in Somatotropes Causes Retention of Progenitor Markers and Disrupts Metabolic and Reproductive Functions.” And Ph.D. candidate Tiffany Miles gave a poster introduction presentation: “Somatotrope Responses to Acute and Prolonged Loss of Leptin Signaling.”
Dr. Indranil “Neil” Chakraborty, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of the Division of Neuroanesthesiology, gave an invited lecture on “Neuroanesthesiology: Brain Surgery and Beyond” last Friday at the National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson, Arkansas, the only FDA Research Center outside of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Thank you for sharing your expertise and insights, Dr. Chakraborty.
July 17, 2019
Head Start with Heart
Congratulations to Dr. Eddie Ochoa, Associate Professor and Chief of Community Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics and Executive Director of UAMS Head Start, on securing a five-year renewal of the federal grant for the crucial program, with annual funding of $8.3 million. Head Start promotes school readiness of young children from low-income families and supports the mental, social and emotional development of children from three weeks to age five. Its myriad, high-quality services include health and nutrition programs as well as educational outreach and assistance for pregnant women and families.
In addition to Dr. Ochoa’s leadership, the renewal was made possible by the wonderful team at Head Start including Tyra Larkin, Director, Rashonda Williams, Financial Manager, and Patricia Price, Early Childhood Education Consultant. The Department of Pediatrics has served as the Head Start and Early Head Start provider in Pulaski County for over 20 years. Its need is abundantly clear, with an annual waiting list of 300-400 children for 224 slots in the Early Head Start program and an expected enrollment of 500 children for Head Start this fall.
The UAMS Trauma Team, led by Dr. Ron Robertson, Professor and Chair of Surgery, continues to draw national recognition through the Trauma Quality Improvement Project (TQIP). The American College of Surgeons has invited Dr. Robertson to share UAMS’ experiences and best outcomes at the “TQIP Academy” session of the Annual TQIP Conference in Dallas in September. UAMS is recognized as a national leader in quality improvement in the Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)/Pneumonia cohort. You may recall the news last fall that UAMS was in the top 10-20% of all Level 1 trauma centers in the country, and first placed in the top 1% for positive data relating to ventilator associated pneumonia. Great job!
Dr. Jinhu Xiong, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, received the 2019 Most Outstanding Basic Abstract Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR). The award goes to the lead investigator of the highest ranking abstract submitted to a basic category for presentation at the ASBMR Annual Meeting. Dr. Xiong will be honored for his abstract, “Stimulation of Piezo1 by Mechanical Loading Promotes Bone Anabolism,” during the President’s Dessert Reception at the September meeting in Orlando, Florida. Way to go Dr. Xiong!
Congratulations to Dr. Amy Scurlock, Associate Professor in Pediatric Allergy & Immunology, who recently received the Department of Pediatrics 2019 Joan Cranmer Mentor of the Year Award. Also recognized for their excellence in mentoring were nominees Dr. Elisabet Borsheim, Dr. Astryd Menendez, Dr. José Romero and Dr. Steve Schexnayder. The award is part of the department’s highly successful, nationally recognized Faculty Mentoring Program, which has been in place at ACH for over 25 years. In 2018, an overview of the program’s faculty mentoring model by Dr. Cranmer, Dr. Scurlock and other colleagues was published in Pediatrics.
The dedicated team in the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC), led by Dr. Robin McAtee of the Department of Geriatrics, continues to excel in its multifaceted work to provide training for community members, health care professionals and many others who provide care and services for older Arkansans. Congratulations to Dr. McAtee and the AGEC on their new five-year, $3.74 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job!
A shout-out to Dr. Shannon Rose, Dr. Eugenia Carvalho, Dr. Elisabet Borsheim and their colleagues in the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center and the departments of Pediatrics and Geriatics for their excellent collaborative work on “A Comparative Study of Mitochondrial Respiration in Circulating Blood Cells and Skeletal Muscle Fibers in Women.” Their novel study, published recently in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, indicated that most mitochondrial phenotypes in blood cells will not inform on muscle mitochondrial function. However, preliminary data also suggested that blood measures might be quite useful after all, for monitoring how mitochondria are impacted by changes in metabolic health including insulin sensitivity.
And Finally this Week …
You might not think of COM faculty as being recognized as film scholars, but Dr. Diane Jarrett, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, has had eight national publications on film history topics. Dr. Jarrett specializes in writing about actors who are somewhat obscure, or who had elements of their careers that were largely unexplored. As part of her research, she has interviewed performers such as actor Leslie Nielsen, singer Don McLean, and many others. Her latest publication is in the July issue of Classic Images, and it focuses on the personal life of actor George Macready, whose most famous film role was as the husband of Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946).
July 10, 2019
Accolades is back following a two-week hiatus, but your accomplishments have been non-stop!
Congratulations – and profound thanks – to Dr. Laura James and the entire team at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) for their hard work and success on UAMS’ new Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). As announced last week, the $24.2 million in funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health will help TRI’s colleagues across campus and their partners across the state advance research that targets some of Arkansas’ greatest health-related challenges. Dr. James, Professor of Pediatrics and TRI Director, is Principal Investigator on the primary grant for the prestigious, highly competitive award. Dr. Mary Aitken (Professor, Pediatrics) and Dr. Brooks Gentry (Professor, Anesthesiology), lead the Institutional Career Development Core grant. Dr. Nancy Rusch (Professor and Chair, Pharmacology and Toxicology) and Dr. Curtis Lowery (Director, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation, Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology) lead the National Research Service Award Training Core. Kudos also to U.S. Sen. John Boozman and Arkansas’ congressional delegation for championing UAMS’ CTSA application.
The latest rankings of the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report are further evidence of the exceptional, high-caliber care provided by faculty physicians and their team members at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Five specialty areas were ranked in the 2019-20 “Best Children’s Hospitals” report. These areas, along with their section chiefs, are: Cardiology and Heart Surgery (Drs. Paul Seib and Brian Reemtsen); Neurology and Neurosurgery (Drs. Debopam Samanta and Greg Albert); Nephrology (Dr. Richard Blaszak); Orthopaedics (Dr. Brant Sachleben); and Pulmonology (Dr. John Carroll). My thanks to Arkansas Children’s President and CEO Marcy Doderer, FACHE, and all of our colleagues at ACH for your dedication to the children of Arkansas. Read more in the Arkansas Children’s Newsroom.
Thank You, Dr. Young
I’d like to express my gratitude to Dr. Kevin Young for his 10 years of service in the College of Medicine, including the past two years as Chair of Microbiology and Immunology. He has been an outstanding leader as well as an accomplished scientist. I look forward to seeing many of you at Dr. Young’s retirement celebration this afternoon, 2:30-4:30 in the Helen Guinn Adams Atrium on the second floor of the Biomed I building. Dr. Young, it has been a pleasure having you as a colleague. Happy Retirement!
Tour with Meaning
A big shout-out to Dr. Becca Perin, Assistant Professor and an Associate Director of the Pediatrics Residency, for her thoughtful and inspiring work to organize and lead a bus tour for incoming interns to introduce them to Little Rock and the history and factors affecting the lives of some of their patients. Dr. Perin’s tour focused on things that could affect their ability to care for these patients, including health disparities, what it means to live in a “food desert” and much more. The interns also visited the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Central High School Visitors Center.
Dr. Indranil “Neil” Chakraborty, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of the Division of Neuroanesthesiology, recently returned from New Orleans, where he was invited to deliver the Mack A. Thomas Visiting Professor Lecture in Anesthesiology at Louisiana State University. He shared his expertise in awake craniotomy as well as cardiac standstill using adenosine during clipping of complex giant cerebral aneurysms. Congratulations Dr. Chakraborty.
Congratulations to Dr. Tiffany Weinkopff, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, on her recent Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. Sponsored by Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a national consortium, the award recognizes and supports the development of promising young scientists. Dr. Weinkopff’s research focuses on leishmaniasis, a parasite-spread infection found in tropical and subtropical regions. Neglected tropical diseases such as leishmaniasis affect one-sixth of the world’s population, and research into these disease processes could have bearing on other types of infections, autoimmune diseases and even cancer.
Congratulations to Dr. Edgar Garcia-Rill, Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences and Director of the UAMS Center for Translational Neuroscience, on the publication of his latest book, “Arousal in Neurological and Psychiatric Diseases.” The book focuses on the dysregulation of arousal that is found in many neurological and psychiatric disorders. And in case you missed it, Dr. Garcia-Rill’s legacy as the leader of UAMS’ first Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for the past 15 years was spotlighted in a UAMS Showcase of Medical Discoveries in May.
Early Career Award
Dr. Samidha Tripathi, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, recently received an Early Career Development Award from the Association for Academic Psychiatry (AAP). The program enables new educators to learn and share teaching techniques, skills and innovations and to network with experienced educators in the AAP along with other early-career psychiatry faculty members from across the country. Dr. Tripathi will be recognized at the organization’s annual meeting Sept. 4-7 in Boston.
Honor & Opportunity
Dr. Sean H. Adams, Chief the Developmental Nutrition Section in the Department of Pediatrics and Director of the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, has been appointed to the External Advisory Committee for the Division of Nutritional Sciences graduate program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). UIUC is among the upper tier of nutrition science training programs in the world. Serving on this committee will give Dr. Adams the opportunity to collaborate, network and better learn strategies for recruiting top student talent into M.S., Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. tracks. In addition to lending his own expertise, Dr. Adams will learn more about factors that have contributed to UIUC’s track record of securing training grants in the nutrition and obesity arenas, as well as hear how others create campus-wide interest to form a cohesive and comprehensive nutrition science program.
The hard-working colleagues of the Department of Geriatrics and Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging (RIOA) presented 15 abstract presentations at the annual scientific meeting of the American Geriatrics Society – more than any other institution at the recent event in Portland, Oregon. My thanks to Professor, Geriatrics Chair and RIOA Director Dr. Jeanne Wei and colleagues from multiple UAMS departments, the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, University of Arkansas Little Rock, Baptist Health Heart Institute and other affiliates for their excellent work.
In the Spotlight
Dr. Jason Mizell, Associate Professor of Surgery, was the featured guest recently on Doctors Unbound, a national podcast, to discuss his successful Business of Medicine course and its evolvement into a four-year honors track for College of Medicine students. The podcast was his third, following appearances on Doctor Money Matters and the White Coat Investor last year. Dr. Mizell’s award-winning educational initiatives are helping our medical students and residents gain much-needed personal and professional business acumen – and his national appearances and publications are shining the spotlight on his innovative work at UAMS. Well done Dr. Mizell!
June 19, 2019
Safety in the Spotlight
In last week’s Accolades I shared the good news about UAMS Medical Center surpassing the 90% compliance handwashing goal for the first time, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Thea Rosenbaum, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and UAMS Associate Chief Quality Officer for Safety, and the diligence of the entire clinical team. I am delighted to report that this work to transform our culture and support sustainable, long-term patient safety improvements was featured in Becker’s Hospital Review. Check it out. And thanks again, everyone, for your ongoing work to ensure patient safety at UAMS.
Pediatric Psychology Leader
Congratulations to Dr. Wendy Ward, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics Psychology Section, on her election as President of the Society of Pediatric Psychology (SPP). What a great honor to serve in this leadership position within the SPP and the American Psychological Association! This speaks volumes about Dr. Ward’s accomplishments and reputation among her national peers.
A shout-out to Dr. Priya Gupta, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, on her appointment to the Board of Trustees for the Arkansas School for the Blind and Arkansas School for the Deaf by Governor Asa Hutchinson. Thank you so much for your service to children with special needs as well as for all you do here at UAMS.
Kudos to Dr. Parimal “Perry” Chowdhury, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, for his four decades of service to our college – and for sharing his passion for science with students of all ages. Dr. Chowdhury has earned international recognition for his research as well as his longtime service to organizations such as the International Society for the Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases, which awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award last fall, and the American Physiological Society, which awarded him Fellow status earlier this month. I hope you can join us at Dr. Chowdhury’s retirement celebration this Thursday, 2:00 p.m., in the second floor atrium of Biomed I. Congratulations on your retirement, Perry!
Back in July
I hope everyone’s summer is off to a wonderful start. Accolades is taking the next few weeks off and will return in July. You can continue to send your ideas for future editions to COM Internal Communications!
June 12, 2019
A shout-out to Dr. Shashank Kraleti, Residency Program Director in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, along with fellow faculty members and residents, for the great strides they’ve made. We recently learned that Dr. Kraleti’s residents achieved a 100% pass rate on the board exam for the seventh consecutive year. This is unrivaled in Arkansas for this exam and possibly in the entire nation. As you may recall, Dr. Kraleti received the Residency Educator Award in April. He has introduced numerous initiatives to enhance the program, including a procedure clinic to provide more hands-on training, and substantially increasing residents’ experiences with pediatric patients.
The residency and entire department’s research was on display at the second Family Medicine Poster Day on May 28. Organized by Dr. Kraleti and Dr. Diane Jarrett, Assistant Residency Director and Director of Education and Communications, the event showcased 35 posters, including 20 projects by residents. You can also learn more about the department’s accomplishments here. Great job everyone!
Few things are more important to the safety and quality of the care we provide for our patients than the simple act of handwashing. Congratulations to Dr. Thea Rosenbaum, Associate Chief Quality Officer for Safety, for leading a year-long initiative to surpass the 90% compliance handwashing goal for the first time, and my thanks to UAMS’ entire clinical team for achieving this milestone. This really matters for our patients and families. Let’s keep up the great work!
Time for Fishing!
Hats off to Dr. Bob Burns, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, for his 50-plus years of service to UAMS and Arkansas through his research, teaching, leadership of the Partners in Health Sciences Program and many other contributions. I know I speak for all of us in the College of Medicine in wishing Bob the very best in his retirement, which I hope includes plenty of fishing and other outdoor pursuits. I look forward to seeing many of you at Dr. Burns’ retirement celebration at 3:00 this afternoon in the Hamlen Board Room, 12th Floor of the Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute. Congratulations Dr. Burns!
Congratulations to Dr. Marwan Saad, a fellow in the Cardiovascular Division of the Department of Internal Medicine, and Dr. J.L. Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics and Stebbins Chair in Cardiology, and their colleagues on the upcoming publication of their article, “Aspirin for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Events,” in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the premier cardiology journal. Dr. Saad was a joint first author with Dr. Hesham K. Abdelaziz of the Lancashire Cardiac Center in the United Kingdom and Ain Shams University in Cairo. Dr. Mehta is the senior and corresponding author, and Dr. Naga Venkata K. Pothineni, Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiology, is among the co-authors. The article, which will be published June 18, has been selected for CME credit and audio commentary by the journal’s editor-in-chief.
Hypertension: Immune Disorder?
One in every three adults in the United States has high blood pressure – the leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Despite the abundance of blood pressure medications on the market, less than half of patients are able to control their high blood pressure. That’s why the outstanding work of Dr. Shengyu Mu, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and his colleagues is so crucial. Dr. Mu recently received $1.89 million from the NIH to continue his investigation into evidence that salt-sensitive hypertension is an immune disorder. Read more here.
In the Spotlight
An innovative and important new paper by Department of Pathology faculty members Dr. Steven Post and Dr. Zhiqiang Qin and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Lu Dai, who served as first author, has earned editorial commentary in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The article is “Kaposi Sarcoma–Associated Herpesvirus and Staphylococcus aureus Coinfection in Oral Cavities of HIV-Positive Patients: A Unique Niche for Oncogenic Virus Lytic Reactivation.” The team found that S. aureus, one of common pathogens causing infection in HIV-positive patients, can effectively induce KSHV lytic reactivation from infected oral cells. This investigation provides further clinical evidence about the relevance of coinfection due to these two pathogens in the oral cavities of HIV-positive patients, potentially promoting virus-associated cancer development.
Kudos to the fantastic collaborative group in the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) for their continuing insights into issues such as developmental variations in the infant brain and neurodevelopmental outcomes over time. Dr. Xiawei Ou of the departments of Radiology and Pediatrics led a team that included Drs. Aline Andres, Jane Bellando (both in Pediatrics), and other colleagues on a paper, “Diffusion Tensor of MRI of White Matter of Healthy Full-term Newborns: Relationship to Neurodevelopmental Outcomes,” which was published last week in Radiology. The work was part of the ACNC’s ongoing “Glowing” clinical study. The team found that differences in brain activities and anatomy, measured with MRI in babies, associate with neurodevelopmental milestones later in life.
June 5, 2019
Carrying on the Legacy
Congratulations to UAMS Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson on his investiture Monday in the Harry P. Ward Chancellor’s Distinguished Chair. As Chancellor from 1979 to 2000, Dr. Ward led UAMS’ transformation into a true academic health center and research leader. Today, Dr. Patterson is leading UAMS’ growth and evolution as a statewide system for improved health care, health education and biomedical research. Thank you, Dr. Patterson, for bringing your vision, energy and strong leadership to UAMS and Arkansas.
FDA Committee Appointment
Dr. Jeannette Lee, Professor of Biostatistics and Co-PI of the Data Coordinating and Operations Center for the Idea States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network, has been appointed to a four-year term on the FDA Cellular Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee. The committee evaluates data relating to the safety, effectiveness and appropriate use of human cells and tissues, gene transfer therapies and xenotransplantation products that are intended for transplantation, implantation, infusion and transfer in the prevention and treatment of a broad range of human diseases and on the reconstruction, repair or replacement of tissues for various conditions. Congratulations Dr. Lee, and thank you for your service at the national level as well as here at UAMS.
Liver Center of Excellence
A shout-out to Dr. Lyle Burdine, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Surgical Director for the Solid Organ Transplant Program at UAMS, along with the entire liver transplant team, on their successful work to achieve Optum Center of Excellence for Adult Liver Transplant status for UAMS. The Clinical Sciences Institute at Optum evaluates transplant programs throughout the United States, accepting select programs into its Center of Excellence Network based on strict criteria to ensure the highest standards of care. Great job, team!
Gold and Red
Let’s have another round of applause for the fabulous faculty members honored by our medical students for their teaching and mentoring this year! Check out this year’s Golden Apple winners, Gold and Red Sash recipients, and other faculty members who were honored at Honors Convocation or Commencement here. I am grateful to all of you for your hard work and dedication to our students.
Congratulations to Dr. Raymond Molden, Assistant Director of the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship, who was honored as a Distinguished Fellow at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting in San Francisco on May 20. Dr. Molden was recognized for his dedication to the work of the APA and the field of psychiatry. He also just completed his second term as President of the Arkansas Psychiatric Society (APS), the state branch of the APA. Dr. Molden’s hard work this past year included a screening of the documentary “Killing Pain,” which Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson attended, and achieving record attendance at the annual APS conference in April. Congratulations as well to Dr. Lindsey Wilbanks, who just began her term as APS President.
Dr. Jerad Gardner, Associate Professor of Pathology, shared his expertise in the use of social media in clinical pathology practice at the 32nd Congresso Brasileiro de Patologia, the official meeting of the Brazilian Pathology Society last month. He delivered four lectures on topics such as the role of pathologists in Facebook patient support groups and the “histology” of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And that wasn’t Dr. Gardner’s only international speaking event in May. He also presented a talk on cutaneous soft tissue pathology at the first McKee Derm Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, hosted by the renowned dermatopathologist and textbook author Dr. Phillip McKee, whom Dr. Gardner interviewed for his YouTube channel, drawing 1,000 views in the first 24 hours. Great work, Dr. Gardner!
JEI vs. M1s
And finally this week, congratulations to Dr. Joe “the Commish” Chacko, Professor of Ophthalmology, and his ace softball team in the Jones Eye Institute for *almost* beating the first-year medical students on the softball field. Read about the game here!
May 29, 2019
Level 1 Children’s Surgery
I am very pleased to share the news, announced by Dr. Sid Dassinger, Medical Director of Surgical Quality at Arkansas Children’s, and Kim Rhodes, Children’s Surgery Program Manager, that Arkansas Children’s Hospital has been verified as a Level I Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons Children’s Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program. ACH is one of only 16 children’s hospitals in the United States to receive this highest level of designation.
The program was developed to improve the quality of children’s surgical care by creating a system that allows for a prospective match of every child’s individual surgical needs with a care environment that has optimal pediatric resources. ACH met all defined standards, to ensure that children facing surgery receive care under a multidisciplinary program with quality improvement and safety processes, surgeon-led performance improvement, data collection and appropriate patient resources. Drs. Aru Reddy, Sam Smith, Ashley Ross, Ron Sanders and Todd Maxson were critical to the verification process and were recognized by the surveyor team. Hats off to this phenomenal team from Surgery, Pediatrics and Anesthesiology along with our partners at ACH!
UAMS in the Spotlight
UAMS was represented along with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in a recent interview posted on the Cancer Network, the home of the journal Oncology. Dr. Donald Johann, Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Internal Medicine, was interviewed about the promise of liquid biopsies in the management of lung cancer. Thanks to Dr. Johann for representing UAMS so well.
Congratulations to the Department of Pediatrics Educators of the Year: Drs. Debra Becton, Sowmya Patil and Emily Smith in General Pediatrics; Dr. Rebecca Cantu in Hospital Medicine; and Dr. Brandi Whitaker in Psychology. Thank you for your dedication to the children of Arkansas and your work to teach and inspire the next generation of pediatric specialists and other physicians.
Congratulations to Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Breast Oncology, who will be honored as a “Changemaker” by her medical school alma mater, UC San Diego, this Saturday during the school’s Alumni Celebration Weekend. She is being recognized for her clinical work and leadership and her longstanding efforts to better understand and reduce cancer disparities in underserved populations. So proud to have this changemaker as a colleague!
A shout-out to Dr. Sanjaya Viswamitra, an Associate Professor in the Nuclear Medicine Division of the Department of Radiology, for his international professional leadership activities. Dr. Viswamitra was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Asian Society of Cardiac Imaging. He has served as President of the Indian Association of Cardiac Imaging for the past three years.
Two members of the Class of 2019 received national awards for excellence from professional organizations in their chosen specialty, emergency medicine. Dr. Daniel Escobar received the Medical Student Excellence in Emergency Medicine Award from the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. He will complete his residency at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Brendan Moore received the Medical Student Professionalism and Service Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians. He will complete his residency in Emergency Medicine here at UAMS. Congratulations to both of these outstanding graduates.
May 22, 2019
These Teachers are Tops
A shout-out to all of the COM faculty members who were recognized during Honors Convocation and Commencement for their work with students. These outstanding educators include Dr. Matthew Quick (Pathology), who was chosen by graduating seniors to deliver the Faculty Address to the Class at Convocation; Dr. Sung Rhee (Pharmacology/Toxicology), who received both the senior and sophomore Golden Apple awards; Dr. Lindsey Sward (OB/GYN), who was awarded the junior Golden Apple; and Dr. Alan Diekman (Biochemistry/Molecular Biology), who received the freshman Golden Apple. Dr. David Davies and Dr. Kevin Phelan (Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences) received the Chancellor’s Excellence in Education Award at the COM ceremony.
At the UAMS Commencement ceremony, Dr. Kristie Hadden (Medical Humanities; UAMS Center for Health Literacy) received the Chancellor’s Award for Society and Health Education Excellence, and Dr. John Spollen (Psychiatry) was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Watch for more about Honors Convocation and other faculty honorees in this month’s COMmunication and on the COM website.
Congratulations to Dr. James Suen, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, who recently received a Presidential Citation from the American Head and Neck Society in recognition of his decades of contributions to the specialty and to medicine. Dr. Suen’s 45 years of leadership and service here at UAMS has had immeasurable impact, not only for Arkansans but also for his patients and colleagues around the world. This latest honor for Dr. Suen is very well earned.
In other good news from our colleagues in Otolaryngology, Dr. Brendan Stack Jr., a Professor, and Dr. Blake Hollowoa, a first-year otolaryngology resident, won the best poster award at the American Head and Neck Society annual conference for “Normocalcemic Primary Hyperparathyroidism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on Laboratory Values.” Dr. Gresham Richter, Professor and Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology, was recently nominated to serve as Treasurer for the Council of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association. And congratulations to Dr. Austin DeHart, a pediatric otolaryngology fellow, who was the second place co-winner of the Charles Ferguson Award for the best clinical research manuscript at the recent American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology conference. Her paper was titled “Bone Conduction Treatment Options in Pediatric Unilateral Hearing Loss: A Comparison of Quality of Life and Audiologic Outcomes.”
Legacy & Leadership
Congratulations to Dr. Bob Saylors, a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics Division of Hematology, who received the Legacy Leadership Award from the Arkansas Division of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at the organization’s annual fundraiser in Little Rock earlier this month. The event raises funds to support patients with leukemia and lymphoma and to help fund ongoing research.
Hats off to Dr. Matthew Steliga, Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, for his decade of leadership in addressing lung cancer and tobacco addiction in Arkansas. Dr. Steliga was applauded last week as the 2019 Distinguished Honoree by the volunteer auxiliary of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Read more here.
Dr. Spyridoula Maraka, Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine Division of Endocrinology, delivered the plenary talk at the fourth International Forum of Thyroid Experts. Dr. Maraka was invited by the Mexican Society of Nutrition and Endocrinology, the equivalent of the Endocrine Society in the United States, because of her extensive work and publications in high-impact journals on the subject of hypothyroidism and pregnancy. She discussed clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism in pregnancy. Great job Dr. Maraka!
AAMC GME Leadership
Congratulations to Dr. Molly Gathright, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education, on completing the AAMC Graduate Medical Education Leadership Development Certificate Program. Dr. Gathright wrapped up her work for the course with a poster presentation on “GME Action Learning: Rethink, Redesign, Restructure: Building a Robust Resident Association” at the recent AAMC Group on Resident Affairs meeting in Portland, Oregon. Thank you for your leadership in GME here at UAMS and nationally, Dr. Gathright!
Congratulations to Dr. Brian Russ, a third-year Emergency Medicine resident who will join the faculty in July, on receiving the Resident Education Award from the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) Academy of Emergency Ultrasound (AEUS). AEUS recognized Dr. Russ for his leadership and teaching in numerous initiatives relating to point-of-care ultrasound, which is changing clinical care nationwide – and especially in emergency medicine. One of his projects was the development of last fall’s successful Ultrafest, a regional symposium to provide medical students with additional hands-on experiences with ultrasound. And speaking of Ultrafest, I was also delighted to hear that third-year medical student John Martindale, President of the Emergency Medicine Interest Group, recently received a grant from SAEM to conduct emergency medicine outreach at the second annual event this fall.
On the Fast Track in NWA
And finally this week, congratulations to Dr. Mikaila Calcagni, a resident in the UAMS Northwest Arkansas Internal Medicine Residency Program, on her recent selection as one of Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s “Fast 15” honorees. The award recognizes 15 up-and-coming young professionals who are on the “fast track” to success. Dr. Calcagni has excelled academically and clinically and is an avid volunteer who works extensively with current medical students. I applaud her ultimate career goal: to someday serve as Dean of the College of Medicine! Read more here about why Dr. Calcagni will be an asset for Northwest Arkansas and our state for years to come.
May 15, 2019
It’s GME Wellness Week!
Hats off to Dr. Molly Gathright, Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education, Dr. Vicki Flynn, Chief Resident in Psychiatry, and GME Education Coordinator Jennifer White for coordinating the first annual college-wide GME Wellness Week. Activities began on Monday and continue through Friday, with many faculty members contributing talks, guided meditation sessions and much more for our residents and fellows. Today’s noon “Lunch and Learn” talk with Dr. Puru Thapa is “Are we human beings or human doings?” On Thursday, Dr. Jerad Gardner presents “The Positive Side of Social Media.” On Friday, Dr. Erick Messias presents “The Science of Happiness.” Learn more and see the full schedule here.
Three Good Things
Speaking of wellness, kudos to Drs. Amanda Young and Rachael Freeze-Ramsey in the Department of Emergency Medicine for raising awareness of the power of positive psychology and how simply taking note of “three good things” each day can help colleagues build resilience in their professional and personal lives. Dr. Young, an Assistant Professor, recently discussed the concept in an article, “Three Good Things,” published in the newsletter of the Academy for Women in Academic Emergency Medicine. Inspired by Dr. Young, Dr. Freeze-Ramsey, Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency, created a “three good things” challenge for residents to celebrate Emergency Medicine GME Wellness Week in mid-April. She handed out small notebooks and encouraged residents to record positive things in their daily lives, and to share them with the group. My thanks to Drs. Young and Freeze-Ramsey, and also to Dr. Sarah Greenberger for sharing this uplifting story!
I am delighted to announce that Dr. Jennifer Hunt, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology, has been selected for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Council of Deans Fellowship Program. The year-long development program is designed for senior faculty members who are interested in becoming top academic leaders in the future. Dr. Hunt is one of only five fellows selected for the upcoming year. As we know here at UAMS, she is an exceptional leader with much to contribute to academic medicine. Congratulations Dr. Hunt!
Congratulations to Dr. Eddie Ochoa, Associate Professor and Chief of the Community Pediatrics Section of the Department of Pediatrics, on being named the 2019 Childhood Immunization Champion for Arkansas by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Association for Immunization Managers. Dr. Ochoa has been a strong advocate for vaccines for at least two decades, working with organizations including the National Network of Immunization Information to provide up-to-date, science-based information to health care professionals, the media, policymakers and the public. He has worked extensively to expand access to vaccinations in Arkansas through legislative advocacy, school and community clinics, teaching and other initiatives.
The Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention, led by Dr. Judith Weber of the Department of Pediatrics, recently hosted five successful “graduates” of COBREs at UAMS in a COBRE Junior Investigator Success Showcase at the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute. The graduates are junior faculty members who, as result of support they received as project leaders through the COBRE mechanism, have been awarded NIH RO1 grants as independent investigators. The graduates shared their success stories and tips with current junior investigators. Congratulations and thanks to the graduates – Dr. Elena Ambrogini of the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology; Dr. Michael Mancino of the Department of Psychiatry; and Drs. Karl Boehme, Jia Liu and Jason Stumhofer of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. These five represented three COBRE programs at UAMS – the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Host Inflammatory Responses (led by Dr. Mark Smeltzer), the Center for Translational Neuroscience (led by Dr. Edgar Garcia-Rill), and the Center for Musculoskeletal Disease Research (led by Dr. Charles O’Brien).
A shout-out to Drs. Stanley Ellis, Matthew Quick and James Graham on the publication of their article, “Faculty Peer Review as a Strategy to Assure Quality in a New Team-Based Learning Curriculum – a Single Institution Experience,” in Medical Science Educator. The article by Dr. Ellis, Assistant Professor and Director of Education in the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation, Dr. Quick, Associate Professor of Pathology, and Dr. Graham, Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, describes the College of Medicine’s successful shift from a lecture-focused curriculum to the TBL model and how a faculty peer-review program ensures high-quality TBL experiences that have likely contributed to improved student exam scores.
Young Investigator Awards
Congratulations to Assistant Professors Dr. Ha-neui Kim of the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, and Dr. Jinhu Xiong of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, who both received Harold M. Frost Young Investigator Awards from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. They will attend the 48th annual International Musculoskeletal Biology Workshop in Sun Valley, Idaho, in July. We can be very proud that two of only nine such national awards went to investigators in the UAMS Center for Musculoskeletal Disease Research. This speaks volumes about the future of the center, which is directed by Dr. Charles O’Brien, a Professor in the Division of Endocrinology, and funded by a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
Congratulations to Dr. Feliciano “Pele” Yu on the great success of the recent American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Clinical Informatics Conference. Dr. Yu, a Professor of Pediatrics and Biomedical Informatics and Chief Medical Information Officer at Arkansas Children’s, co-chaired the event – the fastest growing national conference in clinical informatics. Dr. Yu was also featured in a Q&A for “Faces of AMIA” on the organization’s website.
Thank You, Sharanda
As the academic year winds down, I want to share a note of gratitude I received about Sharanda Williams, Director of Academic Affairs for the College of Medicine. “Sharanda goes an extra mile to help with medical students, faculty, coordinators or anyone else who needs her help,” wrote Dr. Priya Mendiratta, Associate Professor of Geriatrics and Director of the Geriatric Clerkship. “She is absolutely amazing. I have always found her calm, very helpful and kind – no matter how difficult a situation may be.” I know many other COM team members agree. Sharanda, thank you for all that you do!
Breakfast of Champions
I have greatly enjoyed my weekly breakfasts with M1s and M2s, and the final breakfast of the academic year last Friday was no exception. The freshmen echoed many others from previous weeks in their appreciation of faculty members and learning experiences. They noted the newly renovated anatomy laboratory facilities along with additional technology such as iPads at each table and the Sectra 3D virtual dissection table. They also once again praised Dr. Alan Diekman (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) for his leadership and teaching of the Molecules to Cells Course.
Nearly 50 faculty members, as well as a number of staff, have been specifically mentioned at these breakfasts since last November – and some, like Dr. Diekman, have been cited as many as a dozen times! Thank you to all of our dedicated, inspiring faculty members.
May 8, 2019
Congratulations to Dr. Steve Schexnayder on his appointment to the newly created post of Executive Vice-Chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Schexnayder will assist Pediatrics Chair Dr. Rick Barr in key departmental functions, with a major focus on refining and implementing a new faculty evaluation process. He will continue to serve in his role as Chief of the Critical Care Section. I join with Dr. Barr in thanking Dr. Schexnayder for agreeing to serve in this new post as well as for his many years of ongoing service to the department, our college and the children of Arkansas.
Accolades from Students
For the second week in a row, first-year students who joined me for breakfast last Friday said the Practice of Medicine (POM1) course was one of their best experiences so far in medical school. One of the highlights of the course was the neurology clinic session in which they were able to examine patients with various neurologic conditions. Hats off to POM1 Co-Directors Dr. Angie Scott (Pediatrics, Medical Humanities) and Dr. Rachael Freeze-Ramsey (Emergency Medicine).
AOA Student Fellowship
Congratulations to junior medical student Christopher Flud, who has been awarded a $5,000 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship from Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA). The stipend will support his project, “Real-time volume status in the volume-volatile patient: New technology to bridge the gap between paracentesis and fluid resuscitation.” Dr. Kevin Sexton, Assistant Professor of Surgery, is a mentor on the project. Dr. Molly Gathright, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education, and Councilor for the local AOA chapter, worked with Christopher as he applied for the fellowship. Well done!
Neurosurgery Student Fellowship
COM freshman Jeffrey “Curran” Henson is one of fewer than 30 medical students nationwide to receive a prestigious Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation 2019 Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship. He will be mentored by Dr. Analiz Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of Neurosurgical Oncology at UAMS. Congratulations Curran!
Speaking of Dr. Analiz Rodriguez, I am delighted to point out that she will be honored as one of Arkansas’ “rising stars” at Arkansas Business’ annual “40 Under 40” awards luncheon on June 19. Dr. Rodriguez is gaining well-earned recognition for her work as a physician-scientist, educator and mentor. Last month she shared information about cutting-edge treatments for brain cancer as part of the Friends of Medicine Seminar Series co-sponsored by UAMS and UA Little Rock’s STEM Education Center.
A shout-out to Dr. Parimal Chowdhury, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, and Dr. Robert Griffin, Professor of Radiation Oncology, who with collaborators from other UAMS colleges, the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas-Little Rock presented five papers at the 27th Annual Arkansas Space Grant Consortium Symposium held at Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in Morrilton. Faculty and students presented oral presentations and posters at the NASA-funded event in April.
Dr. Brendan Stack, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, was an invited lecturer for two well-attended sessions on “Calcium Conundrums” at the recent 28th meeting of the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinology/American College of Endocrinology in Los Angeles. He was also a featured speaker in a debate with an endocrine surgeon from Johns Hopkins University on the topic of observing certain thyroid cancers. Great work Dr. Stack!
A multidisciplinary team of UAMS researchers recently published a paper about a set of 48 vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium genomes from clinical isolates from cancer patients with bacteremia and urinary tract infections. The lead author is Dr. Zulema Udaondo, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI). More good news arrived a couple of weeks ago, when the senior and last author on the report, DBMI Assistant Professor Dr. Se-Ran Jun, won the best poster award after presenting the project at the Human Genome Meeting in Seoul, South Korea.
I couldn’t be prouder of the hard work and creativity of our medical students who recently received grants from the Pulaski County Medical Society for their research, education and community projects. Accolades are also in order for their faculty mentors. Congratulations to the following teams:
Rebecca Moreira (M1) and Santiago Gonzalez (M3); Dr. Carol Thrush (Surgery/COM GME), adviser – to support continued teaching of the UAMS League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) student-led medical Spanish and cultural competency course for future health care providers.
John Musser (M2); Dr. Paul Drew (Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences) and Dr. Sue Griffin (Geriatrics), advisers – to expand sampling for an ongoing study of medical student stress, performance and personality.
Caroline Barham and Kesley Brown (both M1s); Dr. Alice Alexander (Internal Medicine), adviser – to support the community garden for patients at the Harmony Health Clinic.
Anusha Majagi (M1), Tyler Thompson (M2), Jordan Fielding (M3) and Christine Rutlen (M4); Dr. Antonio Howard (Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation), adviser – to establish a “Walk with a Future Doc” chapter to connect UAMS physicians and medical students with the community and promote better health through physical activity.
May 1, 2019
National ACP Leader
Congratulations to Dr. Omar Atiq, Professor of Medicine and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, on his appointment as Chair of the Board of Governors of the American College of Physicians, the largest medical specialty organization in the United States. Dr. Atiq has served our college and our state through many leadership roles, including a previous term as President of the Arkansas Medical Society. Thank you for your ongoing service and outstanding leadership Dr. Atiq!
We are so proud of the COM faculty members who were honored recently at the annual Healthcare Heroes awards luncheon sponsored by Arkansas Business Publishing Group: Physician of the Year Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman (Surgery); Workplace Wellness Hero Dr. Puru Thapa (Psychiatry); Healthcare Administrator of the Year Dr. Lowry Barnes (Orthopaedic Surgery); and finalists Dr. J.D. Day (Neurosurgery); Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis (Obstetrics/Gynecology); and Dr. Hari Eswaran (Obstetrics/Gynecology). You’ve always been heroes in our book!
An Arkansas State Police Officer who was critically injured in a vehicle accident in January is alive today because of the care and teamwork of many dedicated folks at UAMS. The State Police and the officer’s wife were at UAMS recently to thank team members in Neurology, Vascular Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Trauma ICU, Neurosurgery and Advanced Practice Nursing. It is an honor to serve with colleagues like these.
It’s heartwarming to hear so many stories about teams from multiple departments and programs pulling together on behalf of our patients. Another recent example: Dr. Sami Uwaydat, Interim Chair of Ophthalmology, recently wrote to thank Dr. Jill Mhrye, Chair of Anesthesiology, and her team for going the extra mile on a number of after-hours surgical eye emergencies. Dr. Mhyre also thanked the Anesthesiology faculty contributing to these cases, including Dr. Kristen Lienhart, Dr. Heidi Prince and Dennis Armstrong, M.S.N., CRNA, along with Dr. Theresa McClung, who stepped up to the plate to cross-cover other areas.
ACH Endowed Chair
Congratulations to Dr. Larry Hartzell, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, on his investiture last week in the Benjamin and Milton Waner, M.D., Endowed Chair in Pediatric Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hartzell provides world-class, compassionate care as Director of the cleft lip and palate team and the velopharyngeal insufficiency clinic at ACH. This endowed chair is a well-earned honor for Dr. Hartzell.
Congratulations to our COM colleagues who were honored at Arkansas Children’s annual Ruth Olive Beall Awards on April 25. Dr. Ashley Ross, Chief of the Neonatology Section in the Department of Pediatrics, received the Ruth Olive Beall Award for exemplifying Arkansas Children’s core values of safety, teamwork, compassion and excellence. Dr. Richard Kurten, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and Co-Director of the Lung Cell Biology Laboratory in the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, received the Dr. Robert H. Fiser, Jr. Research Achievement Award. The teams in the ACH Emergency Department (led by Interim Chief Dr. Rhonda Dick last year and Section Chief Dr. Larry Quang since January) and ACH Allergy and Immunology Clinic (led by Dr. Stacie Jones) received the Drs. Joanna J. and Robert W. Seibert Award for teamwork.
Combating the Opioid Crisis
Kudos to the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative and many COM team members for their outstanding work on the recent conference “Combating the Opioid Crisis and Chronic Pain,” which was co-sponsored by the Clinton School of Public Service. Collaborative Director Dr. Robin McAtee was joined by her Geriatrics colleagues Dr. Masil George, Sajni Kumpuris, B.A., and Laura Spradley, M.S.; Drs. Heejung Choi and Johnathan Goree of the Department of Anesthesiology; Dr. Kristin Garner of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; Drs. Teresa Hudson and Michael Mancino of the Department of Psychiatry; and Leah Tobey, PT, DPT.
A shout-out to the COM faculty and physician informaticists at Arkansas Children’s who recently completed the year-long Harvard Medical School global certificate program on Safety, Quality, Informatics and Leadership (SQIL). Drs. Ashley Antipolo, Jared Beavers, Jimmy Magee and Feliciano “Pele” Yu (Pediatrics) and Dr. Kandi Stallings-Archer (Pathology/Pediatric Pathology) participated in the program, which was funded through an ACH training grant to develop physician leadership in the informatics of quality and patient safety. Congratulations, colleagues.
Accolades from Students
My breakfast with first-year students last week was enjoyable as always, and they continued to have wonderful things to say about faculty members. The Practice of Medicine (POM1) course drew raves, in part because of the real-patient clinics conducted in the Clinical Skills Center. “It allows us to better understand the diseases we are studying,” said one student. Students appreciate POM1 Co-Directors Dr. Angie Scott (Pediatrics, Medical Humanities) for “helping keep everything in perspective,” and Dr. Rachael Freeze-Ramsey (Emergency Medicine) for “bringing concepts from the classroom to the bedside.”
Students also mentioned the Hematology course and outstanding teaching of Dr. Shelley Crary (Pediatrics), and the Disease and Defense course, directed by Dr. Martin Cannon (Microbiology/Immunology). Dr. Jason Chang (Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences) received his fifth mention this year, and so we will “retire his jersey” in Accolades for this year!
Congratulations to all of these skilled, dedicated educators.
We’ve received a number of lovely notes from students lately about the support they’ve received from Dr. Priya Mendiratta, Associate Professor of Geriatrics. Graduating senior Jacquelyn Bailey thanked Dr. Mendiratta for her teaching and her support during the residency application process, which culminated in Jacquelyn’s match to St. Louis University School of Medicine, where she will train in family medicine. “I wanted her to get credit for the hard work and investment she puts into our learning for the geriatrics rotation and going the extra mile for me in improving my residency application,” Jacquelyn wrote. Great job, Dr. Mendiratta!
We have continued to post highlights of scholarly work across the COM on our 2018 Department Accomplishments intranet page as reports come in. I encourage you to visit the page if you haven’t already, and check back occasionally to see what’s new. This week I would like to highlight the achievements of the faculty and staff of the following departments, whose reports are currently featured at the top of the page:
Anesthesiology, chaired by Dr. Jill Mhyre
Ophthalmology, led by Interim Chair Dr. Sami Uwaydat
Pediatrics, chaired by Dr. Rick Barr
Thank you all for your dedication and hard work!
April 17, 2019
Quality & Safety
Congratulations to the UAMS Integrated Clinical Enterprise for achieving an astounding 99-plus percent completion rate on the Healthcare Performance Improvement (HPI) Error Prevention course – something no other organization working with HPI has done! Nearly 6,000 ICE staff, College of Medicine faculty members and residents completed this training. Special thanks to Dr. Thea Rosenbaum, Associate Chief Quality Officer for Safety, for leading the charge on this initiative, to Robyn Horn, Administrative Director for the Department of Patient Safety and Relations, for her leadership, and to the 60 instructors who devoted countless hours to teaching error prevention techniques. This speaks volumes about the dedication to quality and safety of everyone in ICE. Thank you so much!
On the Hill
Dr. William “Sam” Greenfield and Dr. Renee McGraw, Associate Professors in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, along with OBGYN residents Dr. Kala Burgener (PGY-3) and Dr. Zachery Pettis (PGY-2), recently attended the 2019 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Congressional Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. The group had very successful meetings with U.S. Sen. John Boozman, U.S. Rep. French Hill, and a legislative aide for U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton to discuss issues relating to women’s health care including improved access to care and the need to decrease maternal mortality. Thank you all for working to advance these important issues.
Congratulations to Dr. Ryan Dare, Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, whose article “Effect of Statin Coadministration on the Risk of Daptomycin-Associated Myopathy” was among the top 10 percent of most downloaded articles from the past two years in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Way to go Dr. Dare!
Dedicated to Residents
I am delighted to share a message of gratitude that I received this week about Dr. Tracy Haselow, an Instructor and Psychiatrist at the North Little Rock VA Mental Health Clinic. “While Dr. Haselow gives excellent care to her patients, I admire her most for the attention she gives our residents,” wrote Dr. Lindsey Wilbanks, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. “I hear nothing but good things from the residents, primarily because she gives them a quality education while they rotate through her clinic, nurtures their growth as they become budding psychiatrists, and lends an ear to validate their concerns. It is obvious that Dr. Haselow is invested in resident and student education. I feel privileged to be her colleague and friend so that I can learn from her example.”
Grateful Patients & Families
I received a note from a COM team member the other day about the wonderful care her daughter received recently in the Family Medical Center. She was especially appreciative of Dr. Greg Sketas, a third-year Family Medicine resident. “I want to commend him for his excellent bedside manners, his clinical knowledge and skills, and the patient education he provided,” the note said. “This was an amazing experience, so thank you very much!” Thank you for exemplifying what we’re all about, Dr. Sketas!
Accolades from Students
Almost 50 faculty members have been specifically mentioned and commended by our first- and second-year students during my weekly breakfasts since late November. Those receiving shout-outs this week included Dr. Mark Smeltzer of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Drs. Noor Akhter and Jason Chang in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences. Thank you for your outstanding work with our students.
A number of our faculty members have been recognized by students at least five times: Dr. Alan Diekman in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Drs. David Davies and Kevin Phelan in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, Dr. Matt Quick in Pathology, and Dr. Sung Rhee in Pharmacology and Toxicology. We will “retire the jerseys” of these faculty members in Accolades for this year. Congratulations to each of you!
Kudos from Clerkships
Here’s another sample of some of the hundreds of positive comments from students on recent clerkship evaluations. Great job everyone!
“Personal attention and education by great faculty.”
Family Medicine | UAMS South, Magnolia
“I was able to see so much medicine in just a month … Dr. Fred Murphy is a great attending to learn and receive feedback from.”
“Dr. Nick Gowen’s lectures are an incredible asset to the clerkship. He teaches great clinical and practical knowledge, and I feel like I am a better medical student because of his lectures.”
Internal Medicine | UAMS Northwest, Fayetteville
“Dr. John Henley and the residents were outstanding and made the experience an incredibly valuable one.”
“Everyone on this rotation made sure to involve the medical students. Faculty and residents alike were able to provide great teaching experiences.”
April 10, 2019
15 Years of Success
Congratulations to Dr. Edgar Garcia-Rill, Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences and Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience – UAMS’ first Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) – on the outstanding final report that the CTN received from its External Advisory Committee. After 15 years, the NIH-funded CTN has been awarded over $21.6 million for investigator support and research infrastructure, and the 36 UAMS researchers who have been supported by the COBRE have reaped an astounding $120 million in external funding. Read more about the remarkable successes of Dr. Garcia-Rill and colleagues from across the COM – and what’s next – in the UAMS Newsroom.
Grateful Patients and Families
I recently received a heartfelt message from a COM team member about the excellent and compassionate care provided by Dr. Yasthil Jaganath, a first-year resident in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, and Dr. Sarah Cobb, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics Division of Neurology. “If I could give ‘Dr. Yas’ and Dr. Cobb everything in the world, I would,” the message said. Thank you for exemplifying what we’re all about Dr. Cobb and Dr. Jaganath!”
Accolades from Students
One takeaway from my breakfast with M1s last week was how much students value your efforts to build supportive relationships with them. “My favorite part of medical school is the outside-of-class faculty relationships we have,” said one student. “It is clear that every instructor in Anatomy works for our benefit; they really want us to succeed.” Another said, “Interactions with my preceptors and the Academic House Advisers has been the best experience so far because I am reminded that there is another side to medicine.”
Drs. Mary Burgess (Internal Medicine) and Matt Quick (Pathology), both on the stellar Ish House team, were among those mentioned. Also noted were Dr. Avi Bhavaraju (Surgery), for the trauma surgery shadowing experience he provides, and Dr. Elizabeth Gath (Internal Medicine), for her work with students at the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center. Drs. Alan Diekman (Biochemistry/Molecular Biology) and Kevin Phelan (Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences) continue to be greatly appreciated by students. I am grateful for all of our faculty and staff who are involved in undergraduate medical education!
Kudos from Clerkships
Here are just a few of the hundreds of positive comments we’ve received from students on recent clerkship evaluations. Great work everyone!
Family Medicine | Fort Smith Regional Center
“Most valuable characteristics of this clerkship: The kindness and accessibility of the faculty and residents. I am putting this first because their demeanor with me and with each other made every day SO enjoyable.”
“The residents and attendings are all eager to involve students in their specialty, which makes for an interesting, busy and greatly enjoyable two weeks!”
“I really appreciated having Dr. Janina Bonwich run the weekly bullpen sessions. She is brilliant and was able to answer questions we had, but also really encouraged us to think and work through each case. And she was hilarious and provided some much-needed humor during those sessions.”
“I felt that all of the faculty and residents were very intentional about including me and teaching actively throughout my time on the rotation.”
We continue to post highlights of scholarly work across the COM on our 2018 Department Accomplishments intranet page as these reports come in. I encourage you to visit the page if you haven’t already, and check back occasionally to see what’s new. This week I would like to highlight the great work being done by the faculty and staff of the following departments, whose reports are currently featured at the top of the page:
Pathology, chaired by Dr. Jennifer Hunt
Psychiatry, chaired by Dr. Rick Smith
Radiology, chaired by Dr. James McDonald
April 3, 2019
For Healthier Children
Dr. Eddie Ochoa, Associate Professor and Chief of Community Pediatrics, has dedicated his career to improving children’s health and reducing health disparities. In March he testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. As a Principal Investigator with Children’s HealthWatch and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Ochoa testified on behalf of efforts to restart the 2010 Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act. Thank you for working tirelessly on behalf of children, Dr. Ochoa!
Also on Capitol Hill
Dr. Gwen Childs, Professor and Chair of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, also shared her expertise in Washington, D.C., in March as part of the annual “day on the hill” for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which seeks to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Representing the American Association of Anatomists, Dr. Childs and a delegate from Oklahoma met with congressional staff from Arkansas and Oklahoma and visited directly with Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas. Thank you for championing support for science and science education, Dr. Childs!
Congratulations to Dr. James Y. Suen, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, who was recently honored as the Helmuth Goepfert Distinguished Visiting Professor lecturer at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. For his keynote, Dr. Suen lectured on “Arteriovenous Malformations – a New Head and Neck Tumor.” He presented an additional lecture on “Cytophone – a New Medical Device for Melanoma Diagnosis and Treatment.” Dr. Suen was MD Anderson’s very first Head and Neck Fellow, and he was on the faculty there before his recruitment to his medical school alma mater, UAMS. He was also honored by MD Anderson as its Distinguished Alumnus for 1994-1995.
A shout-out to Dr. Neil Masangkay, Assistant Professor and Director of the Neurology Clerkship, for completing the year-long Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program. Dr. Masangkay was recognized at the AAMC Southern Group on Educational Affairs conference in Orlando, Florida, last week.
Other COM folks were in the spotlight at the conference as well. First-year Otolaryngology resident Dr. Erin Creighton picked up a Best Poster award that she won last year with co-authors Drs. Jasna Vuk, Karina Clemmons and James Graham. Senior medical student Andrea McMahon presented a workshop on memorization techniques, an uncommon accomplishment for a medical student. Junior medical student Santiago Gonzalez, who is mentored by Dr. Vuk in the Student Success Center, presented a poster. Great job everyone!
Congratulations to third-year Dermatology resident Dr. Kayla Mohr, who placed first at the Southern Dermatology Research Consortium last weekend for her presentation on the treatment of Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis with BRAF inhibitors. The Department of Dermatology hosted the fourth annual event, bringing faculty, residents, fellows and students from throughout the region to UAMS. A shout-out to Professor and Chair Dr. Henry Wong, Tony DeJarnatt, Kim Richardson and everyone who made the consortium a great success!
Thirteen COM team members were honored as 2019 UAMS Phenomenal Women during the annual National Women’s History Month celebration. The event celebrated the diverse contributions of the honorees and all of the women who make up more than 70 percent of the UAMS workforce. Our own Dr. Laura James and Dr. Jan Shorey presented awards. COM honorees included Dr. Lorraine McKelvey in Family and Preventive Medicine; Dr. Denise Compton in Geriatrics; Andrea Easom, M.N.Sc., APRN, in Internal Medicine; Drs. Laura Hollenbach, Gloria Richard-Davis and Lindsey Sward in Obstetrics and Gynecology; Drs. Erin Mannen and Theresa Wyrick-Glover in Orthopaedic Surgery; Drs. Elisabet Borsheim and Suzanne Saccente in Pediatrics; Dr. Samidha Tripathi in Psychiatry; and Drs. Gwendolyn Bryant-Smith and Linda Deloney in Radiology. Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to Dr. William “Sam” Greenfield, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, who recently completed the Robert C. Cefalo National Leadership Institute. Dr. Greenfield was selected to participate by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ District VII leadership. The institute provides high-potential OB-GYNs with tools to accomplish the goal of “Leading Transformation in the 21st Century for Women’s Healthcare.” The program includes a series of workshops with highly recognized physicians, leadership experts, negotiations and communications specialists and others.
Congratulations to Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center Director Dr. Sean Adams and colleagues Dr. Kikumi D. Ono-Moore and Michael Blackburn on the publication of their article, “Blood cytokine patterns suggest a modest inflammation phenotype in subjects with long-chain fatty acid oxidation disorders,” in Physiological Reports. Dr. Adams, Professor and Chief of the Developmental Nutrition Section of the Department of Pediatrics, and his multi-institution collaborators are contributing substantially to the understanding of lipotoxicity and the possible mechanisms that could explain symptoms in persons with inborn errors of fat metabolism. Great work!
Accolades from Students
After a pause for Spring Break I had the pleasure of talking with COM freshmen over breakfast last Friday. As always, they had wonderful things to say about faculty members, including Drs. Noor Akhter, David Davies, Kevin Phelan, Mohsin Syed and the entire faculty in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences. The anatomy faculty “really care and want us to succeed,” explained one student. Dr. Alan Diekman (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) was also noted again for his outstanding teaching and well-run course. Dr. Shelley Crary (Pediatrics) and Dr. Jerry Ware (Physiology and Biophysics) were praised for their work in the Hematology-Oncology module. Dr. Ryan Dare (Internal Medicine) and Dr. Matt Quick (Pathology) also earned compliments. The 12th Street Health and Wellness Center, Human Anatomy Lab, Sight Savers Clinic and team-based learning sessions all yielded some of the best experiences so far for these students.
Kudos from Clerkships
This week I am pleased to share some of the many positive comments from recent clerkship evaluations that relate specifically to our outstanding residents!
“I really enjoyed working with the residents. They were all really helpful and great teachers.”
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
“The residents were all very compassionate about their field and made sure to include the medical students in what they were doing.”
“The residents are excellent teachers and examples of caring physicians. They explain things well, are patient, and worked with us to make sure we learned a lot from our experience on the psychiatry clerkship.”
And last but not least …
Obstetrics and Gynecology
“The residents made it special. They were exhausted from working their tails off; yet you could see how much they loved their work. In particular, Dr. Amy Gonzales, Dr. Kelsey Shnaekel and Dr. Kyle Spencer were wonderful and willing teachers. Please give them raises, more vacation days and unlimited free coffee.”
Have you checked out our new 2018 Department Accomplishments intranet page yet? We’re posting reports, which we gathered during the budget process, to highlight some of your scholarly accomplishments. This week I would like to call your attention to the fantastic work being done by the faculty and staff of the following departments, whose reports are currently featured at the top of the page:
Internal Medicine, chaired by Dr. James Marsh
Obstetrics/Gynecology, led by Dr. Curtis Lowery in 2018 and now by Interim Chair Dr. Lowry Barnes
Orthopaedic Surgery, chaired by Dr. Lowry Barnes
Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery, chaired by Dr. John Dornhoffer
March 27, 2019
Insights in JAMA
Dr. John Dornhoffer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, shares his insights as an otologist with a cochlear implant in an article published last week in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Patients, students, residents and colleagues at UAMS and around the world have long benefited from Dr. Dornhoffer’s empathetic understanding of severe hearing loss and his willingness to share his personal experiences. The article includes observations on the brain’s neuroplasticity, or ability to adjust, after a cochlear implant. Congratulations, Dr. Dornhoffer, and thank you. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
The peer review process is essential to the quality of the most highly regarded scientific publications. The journal Experimental Biology and Medicine (EBM) demonstrated its appreciation for the expertise and thoughtful review of cancer- and precision medicine-related manuscripts that Dr. Donald J. Johann, Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Internal Medicine, provides as member of the journal’s Editorial Board by presenting him with the EBM Outstanding Reviewer Award. The honor goes to reviewers who receive the best scores from EBM editors and associate editors for the quality and timeliness of their reviews. Congratulations Dr. Johann!
Interdisciplinary teamwork makes all the difference when time is critical to a patient’s care. Dr. Benjamin Schurhamer, a Urology resident, told us about a patient who was recently transferred from another hospital with a condition that quickly could have resulted in loss of an organ. The Urology team was paged to the Emergency Department and Dr. Nathan Green, another resident working with Urology Chair Dr. Rodney Davis, quickly confirmed the findings. The OR was notified, and within five minutes Anesthesiology resident Dr. Ryan Stuckey was in the ED to obtain the patient’s consent. Within 45 minutes, the OR was prepped and the Anesthesiology attending, Associate Professor Dr. Gregory Mehaffey, along with Dr. Stuckey and fellow resident Dr. Matthew Palascak, had the patient asleep. “This resulted in an excellent result for this patient, facilitated by the fast and thorough response from Anesthesiology and the OR team,” Dr. Schurhamer said. Thank you all for your great work!
Visanu Wanchai, a Ph.D. student mentored by Dr. David Ussery in the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI), is the first author on a paper that used a combination of genomics and transcriptomics (exome analysis) to better estimate risk factors for Barrett’s esophagus/esophageal adenocarcinoma. The work was done in Dr. Mohammed Orloff’s group in the College of Public Health, as a rotation project in the DBMI graduate program. The paper was one of 12 accepted for publication from the Midsouth Computational Biology and Informatics Society conference proceedings. Congratulations to Visanu and his mentors.
Over the past couple of months I’ve sent several “special editions” of Accolades to the faculty to spotlight the 2018 scholarly accomplishments of individual departments. As I’ve said in these special editions, learning more about your fantastic work has been a highlight of the budget process.
I am pleased to announce that in the interest of sharing this information from across the COM in a timely manner, we have created an intranet page with links to the department highlights that I’ve received. The page will also serve as a repository for these reports.
Each week here in Accolades I will applaud the work of a handful of departments whose 2018 highlights will be featured at the top of the intranet page. This week I want to thank the faculty and staff of the following departments for their hard work and dedication to our mission:
Dermatology, chaired by Dr. Henry Wong
Family and Preventive Medicine, chaired by Dr. Daniel Knight
Geriatrics, chaired by Dr. Jeanne Wei
Neurosurgery, chaired by Dr. J.D. Day
I invite you to read about the excellent work being done in these departments and throughout our college on the new 2018 Department Accomplishments intranet page.
Kudos from Clerkships
Here are some of the many positive comments about individual faculty and staff members that students shared on recent clerkship evaluations. Great work everyone!
Anesthesiology | Dr. Matt Spond
“An introduction to the basics of anesthesia and the review of life threatening situations with Dr. Spond were excellent.”
Geriatrics | Patty Summons, Education Coordinator
“I thought Ms. Summons was well-organized and I really appreciate the calendars she sent us. It was helpful in helping me keep track of where I needed to be. She always sent out emails when there was a change in our schedule.”
Internal Medicine | Dr. Toby Vancil
“I thought Dr. Vancil’s review sessions were particularly helpful for preparing for our NBME.”
Pediatrics, NW Campus | Dr. Julie Tate
“My clerkship was spent at Living Tree Pediatrics in Bentonville with Dr. Tate. I believe that I got the best clerkship experience possible having her as my attending.”
Surgery | Drs. Jason Mizell and Rachel Slotcavage
“Dr. Mizell and Dr. Slotcavage made tremendous efforts to actively improve the clerkship experience and provide us with effective learning tools throughout the course.”
March 20, 2019
Above and Beyond
I am delighted to share a story about the exceptional dedication of second-year Dermatology resident Dr. Hugh Nymeyer. A patient recently came to the Emergency Department with a significant skin condition after having been seen at several other hospitals. It’s rare to need a dermatology consultation in the ED, and Dr. Nymeyer quickly drove from home to see the patient. When some of information that ordinarily comes from other hospitals via EPIC could not be located for this patient, Dr. Nymeyer drove to another local hospital to find the information. He returned to UAMS to talk with the patient and provide his recommendations in person. As Dr. Rachael Freeze-Ramsey, the Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine who shared this with me, noted, “This is well above and beyond what is expected and shows true commitment to the UAMS core values.” I couldn’t agree more!
National EM Honor
Congratulations to Dr. Meryll Pampolina, a third-year Emergency Medicine resident, on her latest national recognition: receiving the Academy for Women in Academic Emergency Medicine Resident Award and Travel Grant. She was one of only three women to receive the award for having shown promise for significant career achievements in emergency medicine through activities such as research, education, service, administration and working to promote the role of women in academic emergency medicine. Kudos also to Associate Professor Dr. Sarah Greenberger for nominating Dr. Pampolina and to Dr. Rachael Freeze-Ramsey for passing this along.
12th Street’s a Standout
A shout-out to the COM students who joined Dr. Elizabeth Gath, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center, along with student peers and faculty from across campus, at the national convention of the Society of Student Run Free Clinics in Kansas City recently. COM senior Sara Beth Theriot and juniors Santiago Gonzalez, Moriah Hollaway and John Pennington all presented posters at the interprofessional event. The UAMS center stood out at the convention as a model for others seeking to start or improve student-led services for the uninsured and underinsured. My thanks to Dr. Gath, these students and all of the participants from UAMS.
The Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation recently had a fantastic showing at the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP) annual meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Five residents presented posters – PGY4s Dr. Ahren Geilenfeldt and Dr. Brett Lile, PGY3s Dr. Lauren Poindexter and Dr. Tory Hunton, and PGY2 Dr. Jason Kaushik. Second-year medical student Tyler Estes also presented a poster as part of the AAP medical student summer clinical externship he completed last summer with Associate Professor and Residency Program Director Dr. Rani Lindberg. Faculty and staff participants in the annual meeting included Dr. Lindberg, Professor and Department Chair Dr. Kevin Means, and Residency Program Coordinator Leigh Austin.
Hats off to the UAMS faculty members, resident physicians and students who joined with cardiology staff from St. Vincent Infirmary’s Heart Clinic to provide volunteer medical services at the Little Rock Marathon on March 3. Volunteers withstanding up to nine hours of cold wind, rain and hail to care for the 6,000+ runners included Dr. Zachary Lewis, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine; Dr. Antonio Howard, Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation; PM&R residents Dr. Lauren Poindexter, Dr. Barbara Lacy and Dr. Casey Sevy; and medical students Ru Massey, Bobie Jo Cooper, Daniel Trinh and Jordan Fielding.
Kudos from Clerkships
Here are some of the many positive comments shared by students on recent clerkship evaluations. Great job everyone!
“The residents and attendings in Pathology are among the most enthusiastic I have worked with. They made my experience invaluable.”
“The residents I got to work with were excellent at providing me with a great educational experience.”
“Everyone I worked with was excellent. We were treated with respect, taught with enthusiasm, and had wonderful role models in our faculty and residents.”
“The residents and faculty on this rotation made every effort to make students feel welcome and helpful. They created opportunities for us to learn the most that we possibly could from this rotation. They truly care about the patients and educating students.”
March 13, 2019
If you’re ever in doubt about the importance of the work we do at UAMS and in the College of Medicine, here’s a story you’ll want to read. Third-year medical student Corbin Norton graciously talks about being diagnosed with testicular cancer last year and the outstanding care he received from Dr. Mohamed Kamel, Associate Professor of Urology, and Rashmi Verma, Assistant Professor in the Internal Medicine Medical Oncology Division, and others. An Atlanta native, Corbin also explains why he was so confident about coming to UAMS for medical school: the excellent training his brother received as a resident in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Read this compelling story here.
Speaking of the stellar work being done in Otolaryngology, a study led by Dr. Brendan Stack, a Professor, has shown the potential to alter neck dissection in about 21 percent of head and neck cancer patients. The international study examined the effectiveness of PET/CT scans to determine whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, and the results were published this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Read more in the UAMS newsroom. Also this month, Dr. Stack was named a Top Head and Neck Surgeon in the Nation and a Top Doctor in Arkansas by the technology company and virtual care platform, HealthTap.
A shout-out to the innovative UAMS programs that received a combined $425,000 in philanthropically funded Chancellor’s Circle grants at a ceremony on March 5. Spanning the state as well as many service areas, the programs reflect UAMS’ crucial work in Arkansas and a strong commitment to wellness. Kudos to the College of Medicine folks who accepted grants on behalf of these programs: Drs. Mark Jansen, Curtis Lowery, Nirvana Manning, Gloria Richard-Davis, Sheldon Riklon, Jan Shorey and Puru Thapa; and senior medical student Sarah Beth Theriot.
Congratulations to Dr. Brian Eble, Associate Professor in Pediatric Cardiology Section of the Department of Pediatrics, on receiving the well-earned 2019 Worthen-Cornett Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) at the Central Arkansas Heart Ball on March 2. Named in memory of the philanthropy and dedication shown by the late George Worthen and the late Dr. James K. Cornett, the award is presented each year for excellence in volunteerism and outstanding commitment to the AHA’s mission to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. There’s no doubt Dr. Eble, who has been active with the AHA for many years, has a big heart!
Congratulations to Brian Koss, a member of Dr. Alan Tackett’s lab team in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and third-year student in the UAMS Graduate Program in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences, on receiving a prestigious fellowship from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The three-year award will support his research into the protection of tumor-infiltrating immune cells in melanoma patients. It also positions him for becoming a nationally competitive cancer researcher in the future. Read more here.
Headed for Rome
Aaron Kemp, a graduate student mentored by Dr. Mathias Brochhausen, Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics, and Dr. Linda Larson-Prior, Professor of Psychiatry, is headed for Rome this summer thanks to a travel fellowship from the Center for Reproducible Neuroimaging Computation and International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility. Aaron will help to teach a course on reproducible research in neuroimaging and give a presentation on research he has been doing with Dr. Brochhausen, Dr. Larson-Prior and other colleagues. Congratulations on this well-earned honor!
Dr. Rosalia C.M. Simmen, Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, will serve as the mentor for Iad Alhallak, a UAMS Master of Public Health in Biostatistics student who has received a prestigious 2019 Summer Research Fellowship Award from the Endocrine Society. He will evaluate breast adipose tissue from pre-menopausal non-obese and obese women for production of estrogens and adipokines, which are predisposing factors for breast cancer. The award typically only goes to 15 graduate and/or medical students from around the world each year. Dr. Keith Wolter, Assistant Professor of Surgery, and Dr. Frank Simmen, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, are collaborators on the translational research project. Congratulations!
Accolades from Students
A shout-out to the superb educators mentioned by the M1 students who joined me for breakfast last Friday. They included Dr. Alan Diekman (Biochemistry/Molecular Biology), for being exceptionally helpful and organized; Dr. Kevin Phelan (Neurobiology/Developmental Sciences), for providing great individual advice that enhanced learning; Dr. Matt Quick (Pathology), for being engaging and funny as he brings clarity to complex topics; and Dr. Lindsey Sward (OB/GYN), for providing an outstanding shadowing experience. Students said all of our anatomy faculty members have been dedicated and accessible. They noted our collegial environment and were particularly happy with team-based learning and other small-group sessions along with hands-on experiences such as ultrasound and suturing.
Students aren’t the only ones who appreciate Dr. Lindsey Sward. The Assistant Professor just received a 2019 Mentor Award from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The award is given to an ACOG Fellow who has actively mentored an ACOG Young Physician or Junior Fellow. Dr. Sward was nominated by UAMS OB/GYN residents. Congratulations!
Kudos from Clerkships
Here are some of the many positive comments shared by students on recent clerkship evaluations. Thank you all for your dedication to education!
“Dr. [Konstantinos] Arnaoutakis would ask the students after rounds if we had questions, and he was always happy to answer them or stay longer to help explain difficult concepts. I learned so much during rounds with the faculty, and I appreciated the time they invested to teach me more about internal medicine.”
“The residents were very friendly and happy to teach. Students, no matter which specialty they choose, will leave this clerkship with a better understanding and ability to read images of all types.”
“The residents were very friendly and happy to teach. Students, no matter which specialty they choose, will leave this clerkship with a better understanding and ability to read images of all types.”
“Every Neurology resident and attending was kind, approachable and very willing to teach. The Neurology staff at UAMS is absolutely excellent.”
Pine Bluff Regional Center (Family Medicine)
“Pine Bluff had several residents available to work with the medical students and who enjoyed teaching. They did a wonderful job of orienting us to their system and then allowing us to practice seeing patients independently.”
March 6, 2019
A shout-out to Dr. Stacie Jones, Professor and Chief of the Allergy and Immunology Section in the Department of Pediatrics, for her most recent high-profile publication. An article with collaborators on the PEPTITES Randomized Clinical Trial was published in the Feb. 22 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The group reported on the effect of epicutaneous immunotherapy – a “peanut patch” – on children with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts. You can read the JAMA article here.
Best of 2018
Congratulations to Dr. Rosemary Nabaweesi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics Center for Research and Evaluation, who received a “Best of 2018” award from the Journal of the American College of Radiology. She was honored in the Practice Management category for her January 2018 article, “Injured Children Receive Twice the Radiation Dose at Nonpediatric Centers Compared with Pediatric Trauma Centers.” You can read the JACR article here.
Women in Science
Dr. Sara Shalin, Associate Professor of Pathology and Director of the College of Medicine M.D./Ph.D. Program, will serve on a panel focusing on women in science at the annual meeting of the American Physician Scientists Association in Chicago next month. The panel will discuss challenges that women physician-scientists face throughout their careers and how mentors and mentees of all genders can overcome these obstacles. I was especially pleased to hear that Dr. Shalin was nominated to serve on the panel by one of our M.D/Ph.D. students, Francesca Lobianco, who is currently completing her second year of medical school. Way to go Francesca, and congratulations Dr. Shalin!
Several members of the Critical Care Section of the Department of Pediatrics contributed to and were recognized recently at the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) Annual Congress in San Diego. Dr. Ron Sanders, a Professor, was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Critical Care Medicine, an honor reserved for practitioners, researchers, educators and administrators who have made outstanding contributions to the collaborative field. Dr. Michele Moss, also a Professor, serves on the 23-member SCCM Council, which leads the international organization. Drs. Arden Conway and Amanda Marshall, both current Fellows, and Drs. Jen Pham and Sonia Matehuala, former Fellows, all presented oral research abstracts at the meeting. Congratulations to all!
Here’s more good news out of the Critical Care Medicine Section. Professor and Section Chief Dr. Steve Schexnayder mentored senior medical student Ryan Steele on a project that Ryan presented at the Pediatric Clinical Case Symposium during the Southern Society for Pediatric Research meeting in New Orleans. Ryan was the only medical student selected to present an abstract at the pediatric clinical case symposium, and he won third place for “The Spice of Death: A Case of Cardiac Arrest after Synthetic Cannabinoid Use.” Way to go Ryan!
Taylor Wadley, a Ph.D. student mentored by Dr. Intawat Nookaew in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, is the first author on a paper describing the complete genome sequence for the type strain of E. coli (ATCC 11775), published by the American Society for Microbiology in the Microbiology Resource Announcements journal. Taylor is a student in the UAMS Graduate Program in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (GPIBS). Congratulations!
Serving and Learning
Hats off to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and everyone who volunteered for the recent Gynecologic Health Night at the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center. The interdisciplinary team provided free gynecologic screenings, and free mammograms were available in the UAMS MammoVan. Faculty participants included Dr. Chad B. Taylor, Dr. Alexis White and Dr. Lindsey Sward, along with residents Dr. Azka Ashraf and Dr. Ann Marie Mercier. They were joined by 10 medical students, several students from other colleges, Spanish interpreters and others. The event was a wonderful learning opportunity in addition to helping women in the community.
Accolades from Students
My breakfasts with first- and second-year students continue to be a joy. Last week I heard great things about: Dr. Alan Diekman in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Dr. Manisha Singh and Dr. K. David Straub in Internal Medicine; Dr. Kevin Phelan in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences; Dr. Courtney Edgar-Zarate in Pediatrics; Dr. Sung Rhee in Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Dr. Jerry Ware in Physiology and Biophysics.
Kudos from Clerkships
Here are some of the many positive comments shared by students on recent clerkship evaluations. Great job, everyone!
Palliative Care | Dr. Heather Moore
“Enjoyed my time working with Dr. Moore; wish I could work with her longer.”
Pediatrics | Dr. Chris Edwards
“Dr. Edwards was the best attending I have had. He taught me more about pediatrics than any book could have.”
Urology | Dr. Bruno Machado
“I learned a lot in Dr. Machado’s clinic.”
OB/GYN | Dr. Amy Phillips and Dr. Lindsey Sward
“Really loved Benign Gyn with Dr. Sward and Dr. Phillips. I thought I learned the most on that service and got more opportunities to learn and participate.”
UAMS Southwest | Faculty and Residents
“The residents and attending in Texarkana were incredibly good colleagues and teachers that helped me get my confidence and knowledge up.”
Orthopaedic Surgery | Faculty and Residents
“I thoroughly enjoyed working with all faculty and residents I encountered. I also learned a lot about patient care from the great examples I saw on this rotation.”
February 27, 2019
Congratulations to Leah Eisenberg, J.D., M.A., HEC-C, on becoming one of the first bioethics experts in the United States to be certified by the Healthcare Ethics Consultant Certification Committee (HCEC) of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. Ms. Eisenberg is an Assistant Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics and participates in the Clinical Ethics Consultation Service for UAMS and Arkansas Children’s. The certification is the first of its kind in the world, and with her expertise Ms. Eisenberg helped in the development of the HCEC certification exam. Certification helps set UAMS/ACH ethics consultation services apart from many in the country. I encourage faculty who would like help working through ethical concerns in their practice to page our stellar consulting team at 501-405-8134 for timely, expert guidance.
Examples of genuine compassion can turn up in unexpected places. Chancellor Cam Patterson was at the UAMS Fitness Center recently when Dr. Gabe Randall, a Hospice and Palliative Care fellow, came in after a night on call. No sooner had Dr. Randall stepped on an elliptical when his phone rang, and it was clear to Dr. Patterson that the call was from a family seeking support. “I’ll be there in 15 minutes,” Dr. Randall said as he left for the locker room.
As Dr. Patterson reported afterward, someone in Dr. Randall’s shoes might have decided to finish his workout. Instead, he put our patients first. Dr. Sarah Beth Harrington, Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Palliative Medicine, isn’t surprised. “Dr. Randall goes above and beyond in his care for families, especially those experiencing distress during difficult situations,” she explained. I join with Dr. Patterson in commending Dr. Randall and expressing our gratitude as well to Dr. Harrington and her colleagues for providing superb training.
I’d like to share some heartfelt words of appreciation I received for Letrese’ Burton-Leonard, BSN, RN, Clinical Services Manager for the UAMS Neighborhood Clinics. Dr. Jennifer Dukes-Casey, Assistant Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine and Medical Director for the UAMS Distributive Clinics, wrote to let me know what a difference Ms. Burton-Leonard makes in the daily operations, staffing and management of the primary care clinics at Capitol Mall, Maumelle and Rahling Road. “She has worked tirelessly to ensure open communications between the leadership team at UAMS and the primary care providers located off campus,” Dr. Dukes-Casey wrote. “Thank you, Letrese’, for making a difference for our physicians, staff and patients. Your hard work, professionalism and responsiveness to the needs of the clinics are admirable.”
Dr. Parimal “Perry” Chowdhury, a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, has a full slate as an invited speaker this spring with two presentations at the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting in Orlando, Florida, in April and a poster presentation at the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) annual meeting in San Diego in May. Being selected to present at the AGA meeting is an honor, with an acceptance rate of just 20-25 percent. Read about Dr. Chowdhury’s presentations and the contributing authors here. Great work Dr. Chowdhury!
Congratulations to senior medical student Andrea McMahon, who was one of only two students to receive a travel scholarship from the Association of American Medical Colleges Southern Group on Educational Affairs (SGEA) and will present her innovative educational work at the SGEA conference in Orlando, Florida, in late March. Her abstract, “Making Memorization Fun: Instruction on Creating Memory Palaces for Medical Education,” discusses the use of visual and spatial memory to store and recall large volumes of information – which, of course, is perfect for medical students. Andrea has tutored medical students and collaborated with her mentor, Associate Professor Dr. Jasna Vuk, the College of Medicine’s Student Learning Specialist in the UAMS Student Success Center, for two years. She has presented information on memorization and learning techniques for students during pre-orientation, in academic houses, and at the Teach the Teacher Symposium in January.
Thesis in Three
Hats off to the 32 COM students who presented information about their projects for the Honors in Research Program at the 3-Minute Thesis semifinals last Friday – and congratulations to the winners! First place went to M3 Raymond Quilao, who is mentored by Dr. Brendan Stack (Otolaryngology) and Dr. Melody Penning (Biomedical Informatics). Coming in second was M4 Natasha Sra, who is mentored by Dr. Jerry Ware (Physiology and Biophysics). The People’s Choice Award went to M2 Olivia Sims, who is mentored by Dr. Murat Gokden (Pathology). Raymond, Natasha and Olivia will represent the COM at the “3MT” Finals at Student Research Day on March 12. Shout-outs also are in order for the two People’s Choice runners-up, both M2s: Barnes Bloom, who is mentored by Drs. Simon Mears and Jeff Stambough (Orthopaedic Surgery), and Alex Rivas, who is mentored by Dr. Matlock Jeffries of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Kudos from Clerkships
I am delighted to introduce a new regular feature of Accolades, a sample of some of the many positive comments shared by students on recent clerkship evaluations!
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation | Drs. Antonio Howard, Rani Lindberg and Lucas Bider
“These faculty members made my time on the PM&R rotation an enjoyable and valuable experience; all were approachable and included me as part of the team.”
Surgery | Dr. Jonathan Laryea
“Hands down, best part of the clerkship was working with Dr. Laryea.”
Geriatrics | Dr. Priya Mendiratta
“Dr. Mendiratta is an amazing teacher and clinician.”
Psychiatry | Dr. Samidha Tripathi
“I was actively involved in patient care with Dr. Tripathi, great experience.”
“The residents and faculty are easily some of the easiest to work with in the entire university.”
Family Medicine Faculty
“I felt the faculty and residents were extremely passionate about my learning experience and actively engaged me in every component of their day-to-day life as a physician.”
Thank You, Admissions Committee
Last but not least this week I would like to thank the 15 members of the College of Medicine Admissions Committee, who recently met to select the 2019 entering freshman class after devoting countless hours to reviewing applicant files. As you know, our students are the lifeblood of our college, and this committee of faculty members and Arkansas physicians is charged with the difficult task of identifying the most deserving applicants.
I especially want to thank the four members who will be rotating off of the committee this year, Drs. Vern Ann Shotts, Abeer Washington, Curtis Hedberg and Dr. Eddie Ochoa, who has served as Chair for several years. Thank you as well to continuing members Drs. Laura Hutchins, Kevin Means, Richard Morrison, Daniela Ochoa, Romona Davis, Mark Brown, Amy Scurlock, Stephen Johnson, David Jacks, John Lytle and Mark Thomas.
I also want to thank our Admissions staff for their hard work: Dr. Jeanne McLachlin, Director of Admissions and Recruitment, Tammy Henson, Admissions/Administrator for Rural Practice Programs, and Tom South, Assistant Dean for Medical Student Admissions.
February 20, 2019
Drive that Saves Lives
Hats off to the second-year medical students who recently carried on the tradition of hosting a bone marrow registry drive for freshmen at the end of the final M1 hematology/oncology team-based learning session – and to all of the freshmen who signed up during the third annual drive. Bryce Woods led the event with help from classmates Mary Allison Andrews-Sizemore, Zoey Crystal, Bri LaFerney, Jake Linna, Francesca LoBianco, Lillie Pitts, Brittany Roses, Eli Smith and Katie Stahler. Fellow M2s Micah Clay and Chris Quesada helped the M1s understand the importance of volunteer donors by sharing their own stories of how they matched with patients and were able to donate life-saving bone marrow after participating in previous drives. Well done!
Breakfast of Champions
Speaking of our M2s, I had another enjoyable breakfast with a group of sophomores last week, and they had fantastic things to say about their courses and other learning and service experiences. They applauded the Summer in Surgery Program led by Dr. Katie Kimbrough, Assistant Professor of Surgery; the 12th Street Clinic and Medical Director Dr. Liz Gath, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine; the Honors in Finance track led by Dr. Jason Mizell, Associate Professor of Surgery; and the MD/MPH dual-degree program, which allows students to explore the integration of population health and individual health.
Students also praised the preceptorship in the Practice of Medicine 2 course led by Dr. Sowmya Patil, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and Dr. Courtney Edgar-Zarate, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, and coordinated by Marcie Johnson, and the team based learning (TBL) sessions that are now integral to our curriculum. Likewise, they appreciate the hands-on, point-of-care ultrasound curriculum led by Dr. Kevin Phelan, Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, and Dr. Greg Snead, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine.
And, not surprisingly, students once again cited Dr. Phelan, Dr. Laura Stanley, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, and Dr. Sung Rhee, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, as truly outstanding teachers.
I also want to share a comment from a senior medical student I met with this afternoon. He raved about Dr. Hakan Paydak, Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the EKG Elective, saying Dr. Paydak has inspired him to pursue internal medicine and potentially cardiology as a specialty.
Thank you all for your dedication to our students!
Poxvirus Study Awarded
Congratulations to Dr. Jia Liu, Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, on her new $1.86 million, five-year grant from the NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to continue her innovative work with poxviruses and host immune responses. The project is titled “Studies in Poxvirus Evasion of SAMD9 Pathway.” As Dr. Liu notes on her lab website, viral pathogens can be excellent probing tools for the discovery and understanding of the host defense mechanism at the molecular level. Pox viruses can also have valuable therapeutic applications as oncolytic agents and for immune-virotherapy. Great job, Dr. Liu!
Transforming Cancer Medicine
Congratulations to Dr. Donald J. Johann, Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Internal Medicine, on receiving $1.47 million from the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to continue an important lung cancer clinical trial. The project, “Scientific and methodological advancements in liquid biopsies to further the development of lung cancer-based precision medicine,” has a primary aim concerning the development of blood-based molecular diagnostics (liquid biopsies) for solid tumors. Aspects of the solid tumor liquid biopsy science are in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering (prostate cancer), the University of Southern California (breast cancer) and the University of Pennsylvania (pediatric cancers). Additional aims for the funding involve advanced model systems for lung cancer and innovative bioinformatics.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and the incidence in Arkansas has been higher than the national average for the past 20 years. This UAMS effort is positioned to contribute to these state and national issues – as well as NCI Cancer Center designation.
Dr. Yuanjie Mao, M.D., Ph.D., a Fellow in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, will have a high profile at ENDO 2019, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society. Dr. Mao’s research on the impact of using a CPAP machine for those who have obstructive sleep apnea and are on intensive calorie restriction weight loss programs has been identified as “particularly newsworthy.” It will be one of the abstracts singled out for special media attention and Presidential Award competition during the March 23-26 conference in New Orleans. Dr. Mao’s research demonstrates the importance of sleep quality to weight loss in obese patients. Drs. Peter Goulden, Elena Ambrogini and Irina Lendel also contributed to this study. Well done Dr. Mao and colleagues!
Great Work in Nephrology
A shout-out to Dr. Manisha Singh, Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology, whose national recognition is growing through her service as an elected member of the Executive Council for the Women in Nephrology through 2020 and as a community leader for the American Society of Nephrology’s online communities. Here at UAMS Dr. Singh is doing a wonderful job as Director of the Home Dialysis Program for UAMS and the VA and as Co-Director of the M2 Renal Module.
Dr. Singh’s fantastic team includes Andrea Easom, M.N.Sc., APRN, whose innovative work is raising awareness of chronic kidney disease in the state. Andrea will also be one of the honorees at the Great 100 Nurses of Arkansas Celebration in Little Rock in April. Way to go!
Her Mission is to Help
Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Breast Oncology, has garnered national acclaim for her many clinical, research and leadership contributions. On Sunday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette featured Dr. Henry-Tillman on its “High Profile” section cover. The article tells about Dr. Henry-Tillman’s determination and hard work on the long road to becoming a surgeon and showcases her mission to help countless Arkansans through her work here at UAMS. Thank you so much for everything you do, and for inspiring us, Dr. Henry-Tillman.
To Snooze or Not to Snooze?
Dr. Edgar Garcia-Rill, Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences and Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience, lent his expertise to an informative and entertaining report on THV-11 recently about sleep and whether hitting the snooze alarm in the morning is a bad idea. As an expert in sleep-wake regulation, sleep disorders and other disorders of the reticular activating system, Dr. Garcia-Rill was an outstanding resource for the report. His advice? Waking up as gently as possible – such as to soothing sounds – is more important to health than how many times you hit snooze after the alarm goes off. You can watch the report here.
February 13, 2019
This week’s Accolades highlight recent grants received by faculty members. The quality of research across our college is remarkable, with programs and projects that will improve the health and life of Arkansans of all ages. My sincere thanks to all of these researchers and their teams for their dedication to advancing knowledge in crucial areas and for the hard work that goes into grant proposals.
Congratulations to the College of Medicine faculty members who received new extramural grants in January. This list, courtesy of the Office of the Executive Associate Dean for Research, excludes industry trials and awards under $10,000.
Merideth Addicott, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Neural correlates of distress tolerance in tobacco addiction, NIH/Nat. Inst. on Drug Abuse (02/01/2019 – 01/31/2021), $428,121.
Craig Forrest, Ph.D., Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Defining the efficacy of replication-dead viruses as gammaherpesvirus vaccines, NIH/Nat. Inst. of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (01/15/2019 – 12/31/2020), $439,626.
Teresa Hudson, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Public Health Crisis Response, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (01/18/2019 – 09/30/2019), $393,616. Pass through from Arkansas Department of Health.
Michael Mancino, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, State Opioid Response, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, (02/01/2019 – 09/28/2019), $106,546. Pass through from Arkansas Department of Human Services.
Roy Morello, Ph.D., Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Primary lung defects in mouse models of osteogenesis imperfecta, NIH/Nat. Inst. of Child Health & Human Development (01/11/2019 – 12/31/2020), $150,750.
Taren Swindle, Ph.D., Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, De-Implementation of Detrimental Feeding Practices in Childcare, NIH/Nat. Inst. of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (01/03/2019 – 12/31/2020), $228,473.
Jeanne Wei, MD., Ph.D., Department of Geriatrics, State Opioid Response Grant – UAMS subaward, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, (02/01/2019 – 09/29/2020), $406,798. Pass through from Arkansas Department of Human Services.
Child Health Pilot Grants
Congratulations to the faculty members who received Research Scholar Pilot Grant Awards in Child Health from the College of Medicine in January. The $50,000 awards are for two years.
Eugenia Carvalho, Ph.D., Department of Geriatrics, MicroRNAs as markers of disturbed adipose tissue function and inflammation – a potential mechanism for diabetes development in obesity.
Roy Morello, Ph.D., Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Respiratory Function in Animal Models of Skeletal Dysplasias.
Wendy Nembhard, Ph.D., M.P.H., Department of Pediatrics, Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Children with Congenital Heart Defects.
Yuri Zarate, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Induced pluripotent stem cell generation for precision medicine in SATB2-associated syndrome (SAS).
Seeds of Science
Congratulations to Drs. Samantha Kendrick, Alicia Byrd, Stephanie Byrum and Robert Eoff of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology along with Dr. Zhiqiang Qin of the Department of Pathology on their recent “Seeds of Science” grants from Arkansas volunteer groups for diverse projects in cancer research.
Dr. Kendrick was a co-recipient with the College of Pharmacy’s Dr. Brendan Frett on a $50,000 grant funded by proceeds from the annual Village Walk for Cancer Research in Hot Springs Village. Dr. Byrd and Dr. Byrum were co-recipients of a $15,000 pilot award funded by proceeds from the annual RockStar Lounge fundraiser hosted by the Envoys. Dr. Eoff and Dr. Qin each received separate pilot awards of $15,000, also made possible by the RockStar Lounge. Read about the innovative research these grants will support here.
February 6, 2019
The Best Prize
Congratulations to Arkansas SAVES founder Dr. Curtis Lowery, Medical Director Dr. Sanjeeva Onteddu, Operations Director Renee Joiner, RN, BSN, and the entire team behind UAMS’ telemedicine stroke program, on being named one of three finalists for the 2019 Hearst Health Prize for Excellence in Population Health. The winner will be announced in March. AR SAVES (Arkansas Stroke Assistance through Virtual Emergency Support) links patients and clinicians in rural emergency rooms to remote, specially trained neurologists for timely diagnosis and treatment of stroke. Arkansas’ stroke mortality rate has improved dramatically under AR SAVES, and 99 percent of Arkansans now live within a 60-minute drive of an AR SAVES site.
As Dr. Lowery, Director of the UAMS Institute for Digital Health and Healthcare Innovation beautifully said, being a finalist for the national award comes “second only to the honor of seeing patients who received AR SAVES care going on to live fulfilling, rich lives after their strokes.” Read more here.
Dr. Kevin Phelan and UAMS’ NIH-funded ArkanSONO program were featured in GE Healthcare’s online news journal, The Pulse, last week, just as the team was getting ready for its 50th visit to Little Rock high schools to pique 9th graders’ interest in STEM with the same ultrasound technology that is giving our medical students an edge. ArkanSONO received a $1.27 million, five-year Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences last fall for the outreach program.
Dr. Phelan, a Professor, is joined by his Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences colleagues Dr. Noor Akhter and Dr. Mohsin Syed, both Assistant Professors, on the visits. Other colleagues on the grant are Dr. Greg Snead, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, and Dr. Billy Thomas, Professor of Pediatrics and Vice Chancellor for Diversity Affairs, along with Dr. Karen Yanowitz of Arkansas State University. The COM ultrasound curriculum is co-directed by Dr. Phelan, Dr. Snead and Dr. Gitanjali Bajaj, Assistant Professor of Radiology. This team is doing a super job with our medical students – and with teenagers who just might be inspired to become physicians one day!
Surgical Oncology Honor
So happy to hear that Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, a Professor of Surgery and Chief of Breast Oncology, has been elected to serve on the Complex General Surgical Oncology Board of the American Board of Surgery. Her six-year term will start in July. As most of you know, Dr. Henry-Tillman is nationally known for her superb clinical care and dedication to her patients as well as for her research into MRI and breast cancer staging, laser treatment of breast cancer, cancer health disparities and other work. Congratulations on this latest, well-earned national honor Dr. Henry-Tillman!
Our GME Team Rocks!
We recently received notification of continued accreditation as a Graduate Medical Education (GME) Sponsoring Institution, and it couldn’t have happened without the leadership of Dr. Jim Clardy, Associate Dean for GME, Dr. Molly Gathright, Assistant Dean, and their exceptional and hardworking team in the Dean’s Office: Dr. Timothy Atkinson, Berva Bentley, Jennifer Hankins, Jennie Kirby, Sarah Sharp, Dr. Carol Thrush and Jennifer White. Thank you all.
I also had the pleasure of visiting with our GME Program Directors at an appreciation event last week, and I want to take a moment to say again how important they are to our college. Program Directors have a broad range of responsibilities, ranging from ensuring regulatory compliance to educational support and administrative coaching. The success of every one of our residencies and fellowships depends on the working relationships that these dedicated directors build with their faculty members, department and service line leaders, Program Coordinators and nursing staff. You rock!
Thank You, Women Physicians
Sunday, Feb. 3, was National Women Physicians Day, and I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the 381 female physicians who serve on our faculty. The day celebrates the birthday of Elizabeth Blackwell, who in 1849 became the first woman to receive a medical degree from a U.S. medical school. Dr. Blackwell faced many obstacles in her time, but she tirelessly advocated for women in the profession. We’ve come a long way since then but recognize that we must work continually and diligently to ensure equality and professional fulfillment for all of our faculty colleagues. My sincere thanks to all of you for your dedication to our patients, students and all those we serve. Thank you for being a vital part of the College of Medicine.
Accolades from Students
What’s the best thing about our College of Medicine? When I asked students at my breakfast with freshmen last week, several said it is the collegiality – the spirit of helping one another. They felt that this extended not only to fellow students but also to faculty and staff who go out of their way to help them. One student said: “I expected medical school to be cutthroat – but it actually hasn’t been. Everyone here is supportive and collegial. There is a real spirit of teamwork here.” I agree, and it is especially gratifying to hear this from students!
As always, I also heard praise for specific faculty members, including Drs. Noor Akhtar, David Davies and Kevin Phelan in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences and Dr. Alan Diekman in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Students also mentioned how important hands-on activities are to them as they began medical school. They noted suturing sessions led by Dr. Avi Bhavaraju in Surgery and Dr. Larry Hartzell in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; ultrasound training led by Dr. Phelan along with Dr. Greg Snead in Emergency Medicine; procedures on lightly embalmed cadavers led by Dr. Phelan; and clinical skills sessions and blood draw lab led by Practice of Medicine Course Directors Dr. Angela Scott in Pediatrics and Dr. Rachael Freeze-Ramsey in Emergency Medicine. Students also said they had great experiences at the 12th Street Clinic, led by Dr. Liz Gath in Internal Medicine, and at the Sight Savers free clinic, led by Dr. Thomas Cannon in Ophthalmology. Thank you all for your stellar work with our students.
Postdoctoral fellow Dr. Thidathip “Tip” Wongsurawat and her colleagues in Biomedical Informatics are gaining well-earned national attention for their development of a new method to sequence multiple RNA viral genomes. The work is crucial, because infectious disease epidemics are primarily driven by RNA viruses and thus are likely agents of future pandemics. A talk by Dr. Wongsurawat on the third-generation sequencing was selected as one of the top three entries of the Spotlight Session Competition at the 2018 Nanopore Community Meeting in San Francisco in November. She also has an article accepted for publication in Frontiers of Microbiology. View her talk here, and read the abstract here. Well done Dr. Wongsurawat!
January 30, 2019
Happy 10th, Teach the Teacher!
Under the wonderful leadership of Dr. Sara Tariq, Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education, UAMS’ Teach the Teacher Symposium celebrated its 10th anniversary last Friday. The symposium provides valuable information for UAMS faculty members year after year on wide-ranging topics such as changing educational technologies, student advising and the structured learning communities (Academic Houses) that the COM established in 2016.
This year’s event drew almost 80 participants and featured a keynote talk on the “professional identity formation journey” by Dr. David Hatem of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. A wealth of other workshops by outstanding educators also drew rave reviews. Many thanks to Dr. Tariq, 2019 Co-Chair Dr. Karina Clemmons, Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics, and Instructional Development Specialist Jennifer VanEcko for their excellent work on this important annual symposium.
Accolades from Students
Several faculty physicians were lauded by the second-year students I had breakfast with last week. Thank you for your outstanding work as Practice of Medicine preceptors, Dr. Marc Phan and Dr. Travis Eastin of the Department of Emergency Medicine and Dr. Pooja Motwani of the Department of Internal Medicine. And kudos to Drs. James Suen, Gresham Richter and Ozlem Tulunay-Ugur, for your wonderful work with students in the Summer Otolaryngology Preceptorship.
Also earning praise last week was the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology’s Dr. Sung Rhee, whom students repeatedly cite as one of the very best. I also heard good things about students’ experiences in the 12th Street Clinic, the Clinical Skills Center, the Simulation Center and in the Regional Programs Summer Preceptorship.
Super Doc v. Superbug
Many patients have benefited from the expertise and compassionate care of Dr. Ryan Dare, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases, and possibly no one more so than Tomika Capone of Jonesboro. Ms. Capone’s devastating experience with an antibiotic-resistant “superbug” following bariatric surgery in Mexico – and the expert care she has received from Dr. Dare since returning to Arkansas – were highlighted in the Washington Post last week. She is fortunate to have Dr. Dare in her corner, and we’re proud to call him our colleague! Read the story here.
Pathology Board Advisor
Dr. Jennifer Laudadio, an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology, has been reappointed to two Test Development and Advisory Committees (TDACs) for the American Board of Pathology. Dr. Laudadio has served on the TDAC for Molecular Genetic Pathology since 2015 and on the Clinical Pathology CertLink TDAC since 2017. Reappointments are made annually for up to six years. American Board of Pathology leaders emphasize that physicians on the 14 TDAC committees are among the most highly regarded in their respective disciplines and have a critical role in the development of the board exams and maintaining the integrity of the board-certified designation. Congratulations Dr. Laudadio!
Partner in MS Care
Congratulations to Dr. Erin Willis, an Associate Professor in the Neurology Section of the Department of Pediatrics, on being selected by the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society as a Partner in MS Care. Dr. Willis, who directs the Child Neurology Residency Program, is only the second Arkansas physician to achieve this honor, along with Dr. R. Lee Archer, Chair of the Department of Neurology. Partners in MS Care is a national network that facilitates connections among MS clinicians and the MS Society, for streamlined access to programs, services and resources for practices and their patients.
Global Call for Open Data
Dr. David Ussery, a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, is among the research leaders from around the globe making the call for more open access to genomic data in an article in the current issue of the prestigious journal Science. Dr. Ussery explains in a UAMS web story why this issue is so important. The Science article is available here. Congratulations Dr. Ussery, and thank you for your contributions in this area.
January 23, 2019
Students Say …
I am happy to note that in addition to citing top-notch faculty members, the students I had breakfast with last week praised the dedication and work of two of our education coordinators: Malinda Sandlin, who coordinates the M1 courses; and M2 Coordinator Marie Barron. Thank you both for doing such an outstanding job!
Students also lauded the following faculty members: Drs. Jason Chang and Kevin Phelan in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences; Dr. Matt Quick in Pathology; Dr. Becky Latch in Pediatrics; and Dr. Sung Rhee in Pharmacology and Toxicology.
The Endocrine Society is taking notice of Dr. Angela Odle, an Instructor in the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences. Dr. Odle first wowed the society last March with her communication skills during the Knockout Rounds, an opportunity for early-career professionals to present information on the impact of their research. She won first prize from both the judges and audience and was featured in a newsletter. Now Dr. Odle has been selected to serve on the Early Career Reviewer Board for Endocrinology. She will be mentored during the review process and will also write a mini-review. Dr. Odle is funded by the UAMS Center for Translational Neurosciences and serves as a Co-Investigator on an R01 grant. Congratulations!
Congratulations to Dr. R. Lee Archer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology, on his recent and greatly deserved honor from the Pulaski County Medical Society. Dr. Archer was presented the President’s Award for Lifetime of Service to the Practice of Medicine. I think it’s fair to say that Dr. Archer’s contributions to his patients and their families, students and trainees, and to our college and campus could fill two lifetimes of most folks!
It takes a lot of hard work for a subspecialty program to become accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). I want to congratulate Dr. Larry Hartzell, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, on receiving initial accreditation this month for the Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship. Since we didn’t have Accolades last spring, let me also take a moment to express my appreciation for Dr. Katie Kimbrough, Assistant Professor of Surgery, for her leadership on the successful accreditation of the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship. Thank you both for your many contributions to education.
National Training Award
Congratulations to Dr. Srinivasa Gokarakonda, a Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, on being selected as the 2018-2019 recipient of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Resident Training Award in Substance Use Disorders. The award supports development of expertise in substance use disorders and treatment strategies and includes a mentored experience and project, systematic literature review, attendance at conferences and workshops and interaction with leading experts in the field. Dr. Gokarakonda will also be recognized at the AACAP’s annual meeting in Chicago next October.
Heeere’s to Dr. Pait
As a measure of appreciation, a listener of Dr. T. Glenn Pait, Professor of Neurosurgery and the voice of UAMS’ “Here’s to Your Health” daily broadcast on KUAR, recently donated $5,000 to the National Public Radio affiliate at UA Little Rock. You can catch up on recent episodes, covering topics as diverse as cervical cancer, rosacea, hyperthermia and domestic violence, on the “Here’s to Your Health” page on the UAMS website.
Gift of Vision
Many thanks to the generous volunteers and contributors who spent the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday helping the Jones Eye Institute and Shepherd’s Hope Free Clinic provide free eye exams for about 70 local children who had failed school vision screenings. Special thanks to Dr. Sue Griffin, Professor of Geriatrics, who purchased frames for every child who needed glasses! Dr. Tim Norton, the owner of Contact Lens Express, donated the lenses. Dr. Katie Brown, Assistant Professor, did a fantastic job leading the project along with second-year medical student John Musser, who founded the nonprofit organization ROOTS (Rural Ophthalmology Optometry Treatment and Screening). Many faculty members, staff, students and campus organizations such as the Center for Diversity Affairs, along with community optometrists, helped out. KARK Channel 4 did a very nice report on the event.
Among the volunteers were Dr. Richard Brown, Dr. Grant Gebhard, Dr. Florin Grigorian, Dr. Paula Grigorian, Dr. Ahmed Sallam, Dr. Russell Simmons, Dr. Sami Uwaydat, Dr. Celina Watson, Alicia Baird, Jordon Ball, Kim Glaze, Breanna Harris, Marlie Kling, Ava Rumph and Sadrina Shaw. More than 50 students from all UAMS colleges and Graduate School participated, including Alicia Bratten, Cornesha Day, Will Henry, Daya Jafar, Shawanda McCoy, Ryan Oliver, and Zia Siddique.
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); Dr. Alan Diekman (Biochemistry/Molecular Biology); Drs. David Davies, 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.
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.
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
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; https://youtu.be/QB9f_E9AOG0
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; https://youtu.be/ScgtR2OLZWE
Linda Larson-Prior, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Impact of Buprenorphine-Assisted Treatment on Sleep, Mood and Cognition among Opioid Use Disorder Patients; https://youtu.be/sRWujnCwnOQ
Issam Makhoul, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, The Development and Implementation of a Standardized Pain Management Protocol for Adult Sickle Cell Patients; https://youtu.be/rpkW7TqqUVU
Clare Nesmith, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Quantitation of Opioids in Neonates with Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal; https://youtu.be/WA8nL6fucoM
Alison Oliveto, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Gamified Intervention to Prevent Adolescent Opioid Misuse; https://youtu.be/uCdG2L3fNN8
January 9, 2019
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!
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.
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.
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.
New ACH CMO
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.
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.
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).
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!
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!
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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 Medicine’s AM Express last week. Here is a link to their insightful commentary.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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).
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
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.
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, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy170)
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.