Here are this week’s Accolades, a roundup of some of the honors and accomplishments of College of Medicine and UAMS faculty, staff, residents, fellows and students I’ve heard about recently!
Congratulations to our Neurology residents on their superb results on the Resident In-service Training Exam (RITE), including a rare, perfect 100th percentile score achieved by Chief Resident Dr. Hisham Elkhider (PGY-4). His PGY-4 classmate Dr. Sen Sheng secured the 99th percentile nationally. Third-year resident Dr. Rohan Sharma was also among the nation’s top scorers at the 93rd percentile among all residents and the 95th percentile for his year of training. Our second-year residents also performed well, and as a result, the entire program hit the 89th percentile, reflecting a consistent, 20-point increase since 2018. Bravo to our residents, Residency Program Director Dr. Mitesh Lotia, and all of the faculty members who helped make this possible!
Better Cancer Detection
The ability to use a routine blood draw to provide the same diagnostic information included in a traditional tissue biopsy has tremendous ramifications. Dr. Donald Johann Jr., Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Internal Medicine, was part of an international team that conducted an independent assessment of five commercially available assays for blood-based tumor DNA sequencing (aka liquid biopsy). The findings were published this week in Nature Biotechnology and provide crucial information and best-practice guidelines for blood-based tumor DNA sequencing – a fast, inexpensive and less-invasive way to diagnose and monitor cancer. The research was led by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in New South Wales, the FDA National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson, Arkansas, and the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Team members from the Movement Disorders Clinic and departments of Neurosurgery, Neurology and Psychiatry did a great job on the 6th annual UAMS Parkinson’s Symposium presented last Sunday. The event drew 125 attendees from across the United States and Europe this year, providing vital information for patients and families affected by Parkinson’s and continuing education for medical professionals. UAMS organizers and presenters included Course Director Dr. Erika Petersen; Drs. Rohit Dhall, Mitesh Lotia, Tuhin Virmani, Jennifer Gess, Jennifer Kleiner, Chelsea Wakefield and Chrystal Fullen; and Shannon Doerhoff, APN. Faculty organizers expressed special appreciation for Neurosurgery Project Specialist Christian Pedroza Portillo for coordinating the symposium and doing an amazing job converting it to a virtual format.
When pediatric radiologist Dr. Kelli Schmitz sought consultation for a complex situation with an adult patient being cared for in the burn unit at Arkansas Children’s, many Radiology colleagues at ACH and UAMS went above and beyond to help. The team overcame a number of technical issues to ensure the very best imaging and care for the patient. I join with Dr. Schmitz in expressing gratitude to faculty members Drs. Lance Runion, Spencer Lewis, Mary Moore, Erin Priddy, James Meek, Gitanjali Bajaj and Philip Kenney; and to residents Drs. Ryan Wycliffe, Daniel Harper, Jeff Lynch and Razvan Zemianschi.
In the Spotlight
Arkansas Business selected two UAMS team members for its 2021 “40 Under 40” list: the Department of Internal Medicine’s Ayoola Carleton, M.A., who serves as an Associate Director of Research for UAMS Northwest Community Health and Research; and the Department of Anesthesiology’s Dr. Johnathan Goree, Associate Professor and Director of the Chronic Pain Division. The annual feature shines a spotlight on 40 rising young professionals in Arkansas who are making a significant impact on their companies, organizations and communities. They will be profiled in the May 17 edition of Arkansas Business and honored at an event in June. Congratulations!
Pediatrics faculty members Dr. Becky Latch and Dr. Shruti Tewar and second-year resident Dr. Tomi Adegboyega recently spelled their way to victory in the annual AR Kids Read celebrity “Spellebration.” The event is a fundraiser to help the non-profit organization support and foster grade-level reading skills for kids in Arkansas. The Arkansas Children’s-based colleagues, competing as Team Healthcare, out-spelled teams representing other frontline heroes in Arkansas – police officers, firefighters and educators. Way to go!
And finally this week, a shout-out to the Department of Internal Medicine’s Dr. Michelle Krause and Dr. Robert Hopkins for their leadership of the community mass-vaccination clinic at Simmons Bank Arena on Saturday, along with faculty preceptor Dr. Lindsey Sward of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and everyone who volunteered. The UAMS team included junior medical students Anna Blach, George Austin Brown, Catey May, Logan Scott-Kirchen, Jordan Steele, Paige Walker, David Williams and Monica Williams. The event was the first of four mass vaccination clinics at the arena planned for this spring. UAMS is coordinating the clinics in partnership with the cities of North Little Rock and Sherwood, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Pulaski County and Simmons Bank Arena. Thank you all for working together for a stronger, safer community.