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!
The Gift of Sight
Imagine being able to see clearly for the first time in years. Seeing your children and grandchildren. Being able to read the labels on your medications. That is the impact of the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute’s second “Gift of Sight” event in two years. The initiative provided cataract surgeries for six additional Marshallese patients from Northwest Arkansas. And it was a great success thanks to the contributions of many volunteers from UAMS and the community. Bravo to JEI Director and Department of Ophthalmology Chair Dr. Paul Phillips, lead organizers Shelli Madison, Terry Takamaru and Stacia Dean, and the entire team who made this possible:
|Aubrey Adams||Dr. Tammy Jones, RN|
|Pearl Atlan||Jeremy Lemmons|
|Ashley Banks||Shelli Madison|
|Heather Broyles||Alli Meyers|
|Dr. Sheena CarlLee||Alejandra Pelayo|
|Dr. Joseph Chacko||Dr. Paul Phillips|
|Shannon Coleman||Paul Pugh|
|Stewart Coleman||Valarie Robinson|
|Pam Collier||Dr. Ahmed Sallam|
|Angi Covert||Dr. Carina Sanvicente|
|Stefanie Daniels||Dr. Alvin Stewart|
|Stacia Dean||Kara Stewart|
|Lyndsay Dupree||Terry Takamaru|
|Valerie Green||Marilee Taylor|
|Dr. William Henry||Venus Wright|
|Dr. Joe Jimmerson, RN|
The UAMS ECMO program reaches an important milestone on April 30, one year after the first patient was placed on the advanced, resource-intensive life-support device to allow their heart and lungs to rest and heal from the ravages of COVID-19. Since then, the ECMO team has placed 20 patients on ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation), all but one of them for COVID pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. During the surge due to the delta variant last summer, the team cared for up to six patients on ECMO at one time, a heroic effort on the part of the H4 staff and others. For perspective, the original business plan for ECMO called for six patients in the first 12 months.
Because of our interdisciplinary ECMO team, several Arkansans are now home with their families. I want to add my thanks to these extraordinary nurses, perfusionists, therapists and physicians from multiple specialties including Trauma Surgery/Surgical Critical Care, Cardiac Surgery, Anesthesiology, Pulmonology/Medical Critical Care, and Emergency Medicine.
Planetary Health Report Card
For the third consecutive year, College of Medicine students have participated with medical students from the University of California, San Francisco and around the world to publish the Planetary Health Report Card. The initiative was developed to increase planetary health awareness and accountability among medical schools, and to engage future health professionals in addressing human-caused environmental changes that impact patients’ health. The involvement of UAMS students has resulted in increased campus advocacy toward climate and health-related goals.
“We are proud that our score has improved over the years and UAMS is now fourth among participating medical schools,” said MD/MPH student Morgan Gurel-Headley. (Read the full UAMS report here.) Kudos to Morgan and fellow contributing authors Zainab Atiq, Nickolas Alsup, Kristin Larsen, Madison Nichols and MaKenzie Presley, along with faculty advisor Dr. David Davies. Well done!
Advanced Ultrasound Expertise
A shout-out to the Department of Emergency Medicine’s Drs. Greg Snead, Jason Arthur, Zachary Lewis and Brian Russ on achieving Focused Practice Designation (FPD) in Advanced Emergency Ultrasound. They were among the first cohort in the nation to take the standardized exam reflecting advanced understanding of clinical ultrasound and the skillset required to develop and maintain ultrasound clinical and teaching programs. The new designation is the current fellowship board equivalent for this advanced focus area administered by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Snead was the only fellowship-trained emergency medicine physician in Arkansas when he joined the faculty in 2013. Drs. Arthur, Lewis and Russ were among the first physicians trained in the UAMS EM ultrasound fellowship under Dr. Snead’s leadership.
Congratulations to Dr. Yuet-Kin “Ricky” Leung, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, on being appointed as an Associate Editor for the Pharmacology of Anti-Cancer Drugs section of Frontiers in Pharmacology. The special section encompasses studies relating to drugs that target tumor cells, along with the various components of the tumor microenvironment (e.g., non-tumor cells such as endothelial cells, macrophages, lymphocytes and fibroblasts), and stress conditions such as hypoxia and acidity.
Insights into Hypertension
Dr. Shengyu Mu’s laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology published their recent research findings in the high-impact journal Circulation Research as a continuous study from their previous work published in Nature Communications. The current report further elucidated the pathological role of adaptive immunity, particularly CD8+ T cells, in contributing to the development of salt-sensitive hypertension. Contributing authors from UAMS include Lance Benson, Dr. Yunmeng Liu, Dr. Sung Rhee, Yunping Guo, Katherine Deck and Christoph Mora (Pharmacology & Toxicology); Dr. Lin-Xi Li, Dr. Lu Huang and Tucker Andrews (Microbiology & Immunology), and Dr. Zhiqiang Qin (Pathology).
Resident Travel Grant
Congratulations to fourth-year Radiation Oncology resident Dr. Arpan Prabhu on receiving a travel grant from the Council of Affiliated Regional Radiation Oncology Societies (CARROS) to attend the American College of Radiology annual meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. Thank you for representing UAMS at the national level, Dr. Prabhu!
Finally this week, I want to share a heartfelt open letter from a colleague who experienced the very best of UAMS when her mother spent four weeks at UAMS before succumbing to her illness. Dr. Deidre Wyrick is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Surgery and Section of Pediatric Care Medicine, and Trauma Medical Director at Arkansas Children’s. Dr. Wyrick emphasized the contributions and compassion of many attending physicians, residents, nurses and others who made all the difference in her mother’s last days. “I am proud to work at a place that gave my mom such great care …,” Dr. Wyrick wrote. “UAMS, as an institution, should also be proud that these people who have been decimated by a pandemic still have empathy and compassion for the people they serve.”
I join with Dr. Wyrick in saying special thanks to resident physicians Drs. Collette Tilly, Kara Phillips, Erin Creighton and Don Vickers; faculty members Drs. Seth Berney, Jumin Sunde, Nikhil Meena and Michelle Krause; nurses Lorin Smith, Sydney Timmerman, Jodi Miles and Jillian Edwards; and housekeeper Antoinette Solomon.