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!
Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Executive Director of the UAMS Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, authored an article for a special series in Fertility and Sterility on Black patients’ and Black physicians’ experiences in reproductive medicine. The journal is the flagship publication of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Richard-Davis lent her expertise and insights in “The pipeline problem: barriers to access of Black patients and providers in reproductive medicine.” The article discusses implicit bias in medicine and outlines the many places along the academic and professional pipeline that must be bolstered with educational efforts to address systemic racism.
Boosting Clinical Research
The Department of Neurology is doing a great job in its efforts to boost clinical research into neurological diseases and treatments. Most recently, Professor and Chair Dr. Lee Archer named Dr. Rohit Dhall, Professor and Director of Neurodegenerative Disorders, as the department’s first Vice Chair for Clinical Research. Dr. Dhall, who has served on our faculty since 2016, brings extensive experience in both operating and designing clinical trials, particularly in his subspecialty area of expertise, Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Dhall also serves as Medical Director for the UAMS Translational Research Institute. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Physiology and Cell Biology Chair Dr. Teresita Bellido and Assistant Professor Dr. Jesus Delgado-Calle are authors on two new publications, including “The Osteocyte as a Signaling Cell,” published in Physiological Reviews. They were also authors, with Dr. Delgado-Calle serving as corresponding author, on an article in Cancer Research, “Targeting Notch inhibitors to the myeloma bone marrow niche decreases tumor growth and bone destruction without gut toxicity.” Graduate student Hayley Sabol was first author on the Cancer Research paper. Lab colleagues Dr. Manish Adhikari, Sharmin Khan and Meloney Cregor also contributed.
Cleft Surgery Expertise
A shout-out to Dr. Larry Hartzell, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, for his work as an expert panelist and co-leader of a webinar series on cleft surgery that is attended by surgeons around the world. In Arkansas, Dr. Hartzell serves as Director of the Cleft Team at Arkansas Children’s and Director of the Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship. He most recently lent his expertise to a webinar by CSurgeries, a peer-reviewed surgical video journal company, on best practices for bilateral cleft lip repair.
Crowdfunding for Cancer Care
Congratulations to Radiation Oncology resident Dr. Arpan Prabhu and his mentor, Assistant Professor Dr. Gary Lewis, on their new article in Anticancer Research. Dr. Prabhu and Dr. Lewis collaborated with colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to study the use of online crowdfunding by patients to raise funds for radiation therapy cancer treatments. They found that a majority of funds have been raised to cover indirect costs of treatment such as travel and living expenses, indicating that increased focus should be placed on discussing the indirect costs of care with patients and their families.
Dr. Tyler Merrill, a fourth-year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, had an article titled “A Case of Pott’s Puffy Tumor from Odontogenic Source” accepted for publication in the European Journal of Dentistry. Dr. Merrill completed the project with Otolaryngology Research Fellow Dr. Kyle Davis, first-year resident Dr. J. Reed Gardner and Associate Professor Dr. Alissa Kanaan.
Kudos, Course Directors
As the new academic year begins, I would like to take a moment to thank all of our course directors for their relentless efforts to provide excellent medical education despite the obstacles posed by COVID-19. I am reminded of the many successes of the last academic year. For instance, first-year medical students in 2020-2021 awarded the highest average course evaluations to date for Practice of Medicine 1, which like other courses was revamped to an online format. This was a particularly challenging situation, given the need for interpersonal experiences to build clinical skills. Kudos to Course Directors Dr. Angela Scott and Dr. Kristen Shealy for their outstanding leadership of POM 1, and to all of our course leaders and faculty.
Congratulations to Drs. Julius Balogh, Shannon Dare and Riley Lide of the Department of Anesthesiology on being elected as associate members of the Association of University Anesthesiologists (AUA). The organization is a prestigious and select group of individuals who are nationally recognized by their peers for their contributions to clinical practice, teaching and research in anesthesiology. The faculty members were nominated by Professor and Chair Dr. Jill Mhyre.
Supporting our Clinical Colleagues
As I noted in my “At-a-Glance” update yesterday, the College of Medicine research community is partnering with the UAMS Hospital Auxiliary on an incredible initiative to help front-line clinical team members at UAMS. Our basic science chairs and the COM Research Office have begun a fundraising drive to furnish a “Rejuvenation Room” that is being developed to provide clinical staff a place to rest and de-stress from the hard work of caring for patients with COVID-19. In just the first day of the campaign late last week, team members in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biomedical Informatics, Biostatistics, Microbiology and Immunology, Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Physiology and Cell Biology, along with the departments of Medical Humanities and Bioethics and Pathology, donated more than $5,000.
Learn more about the initiative in this message from Dr. Nancy Rusch, Executive Associate Dean for Research and Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Watch for more news about this generous and inspired project soon. Meanwhile, if you would like to pitch in, click here to contribute (select Rejuvenation Room in the drop-down menu) by next Monday, August 16.
Wonderful White Coat
Finally this week, I want to thank everyone who made the virtual White Coat Ceremony last Friday evening such a wonderful event for our new freshmen. Keynote speaker Dr. Romona Davis inspired the Class of 2025 with her story of her own journey in medicine. Chancellor Cam Patterson and Dr. Danny Wilkerson, who spoke as President of the Arkansas Medical Society, also motivated students as they embarked on their journey to becoming physicians. Dr. James Graham led the recitation of the Medical Student Oath. Faculty advisors from our seven Academic Houses called the name of each student as they donned their white coat with the help of family and friends, via Zoom. Special thanks to Dr. Sara Tariq for planning and leading the ceremony.
Last but not least, congratulations to the three students from upper classes who were presented White Coat Awards from their classmates for representing the values and ideals of medicine: M4 – Hailey Hardgrave; M3 – Ethan Clement; and M2 – Eric Porter. As M4 Honors Council representative Monroe Albertson said when presenting the awards, “Thank you for representing what we all aspire to be.”
Click here for a larger view and more info on the faculty members shown below!