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!
What a Year for Research!
Researchers at UAMS, the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System collectively accomplished a 43% increase in research funding in Fiscal Year 2020, bringing in $158.1 million in grants through June 30. College of Medicine researchers garnered $97 million of this funding, a 60% increase over last year, and received an all-time high of 272 awards.
When Dr. Shuk-Mei Ho, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, reached out to me about the phenomenal accomplishments of COM researchers, she said, “This is not just numbers and dollars; it is a cultural change.” I encourage you to take a moment to read this UAMS news story about the success of our research enterprise in FY 2020 and what may lie ahead.
This is truly good news during a difficult time. (By the way, about $5 million of the FY 2020 grants and contracts at UAMS are COVID-related.) Many thanks to all of you who made this happen!
Distinguished Chairs in Geriatrics
Congratulations to Dr. Gohar Azhar and Dr. Arny Ferrando on becoming the newest recipients of Endowed Chairs in the Department of Geriatrics and Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. These are well-earned honors for both of these Professors, reflecting their stellar careers and ongoing contributions and service on behalf of older Arkansans
Dr. Azhar, Director of Clinical Research and Co-Director of Cardiovascular Aging Research, assumed the Jackson T. Stephens Distinguished Chair in Geriatrics Clinical Affairs. Nationally recognized for her research, Dr. Azhar also leads the Walker Memory Center and practices geriatrics primary care in the Thomas and Lyon Longevity Clinic. Read more about Dr. Azhar and this Distinguished Chair.
Dr. Ferrando, Co-Director of the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity, assumed the Wes Smith Distinguished Chair in Geriatrics for Longevity, Health Promotion and Frailty Prevention. Dr. Ferrando is a leading expert on skeletal muscle protein metabolism and its relation to muscle function and performance. Read more about Dr. Ferrando and this Distinguished Chair.
Ethics in the COVID Era
Since the pandemic began, Dr. Laura Guidry-Grimes, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics, has been at the forefront of national conversations aiming to address ethical concerns related to COVID-19. Her contributions include professional blog posts on Bioethics Forum and Bioethics.net, publications in The Hastings Center Report and Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, and collaborations on national guidelines for ethicists and hospitals. These colossal efforts testify to Dr. Guidry-Grimes’s commitment to protecting vulnerable populations and represent UAMS at the national level. Congratulations and thanks to Dr. Guidry-Grimes!
National Surgical Fellowship
The Council of the American Surgical Association (ASA) has selected Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Breast Oncology, for a prestigious national fellowship. Dr. Henry-Tillman was named the recipient of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS) 2021 ASA Surgical Leaders Fellowship Grant. The fellowship will include week-long programs at two host institutions. Congratulations to Dr. Henry-Tillman on this outstanding and well-earned honor.
National Cardiology Award
Congratulations Dr. Bob Morrow, Professor of Pediatrics and former longtime Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, on being selected to receive the 2020 Founder’s Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery. Dr. Morrow will be recognized during the AAP virtual annual meeting in October for his pioneering work in pediatric heart transplantation and other important contributions to the field nationally. Dr. Morrow served as Pediatric Cardiology Division Chief in 1996-2011 and went on to serve as Associate Dean for Children in the College of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Palliative Care Study
Dr. Sarah Beth Harrington, Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Palliative Medicine, and the Department of Surgery’s Dr. Kevin Sexton, Associate Professor, and Dr. Ron Robertson, Professor and Chair, are among the co-authors on an important new study regarding the value of palliative care for seriously ill surgical patients. “Impact of Palliative Care Utilization for Surgical Patients Receiving Prolonged Mechanical Ventilation: National Trends (2009-2013)” was published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. The study, discussed in this UAMS news story, found that these patients are discharged from the hospital sooner when they receive palliative care. Great job, team.
Dr. James C. Yuen, Professor and Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, has been invited to serve an additional term as a member of the American Board of Surgery-General Surgery Certifying Exam Consultant Committee in Skin and Soft Tissue. Members of the committee will meet virtually to update the oral examination administered nationally to qualifying candidates for the American Board of Surgery. Dr. Yuen has lent his expertise to this national committee since 2017. Congratulations Dr. Yuen.
Dr. Benjamin Rollins, a second-year Pathology and Laboratory Medicine resident, and Dr. Tina Ipe, Associate Professor and Division Director of Transfusion Medicine, will present a poster at the American Society for Apheresis virtual annual meeting in September. Their poster is titled “Therapeutic Plasma Exchange for Neuroinvasive West Nile Virus Infection.” Collaborators included Assistant Professors Dr. Aaron Wyble (Transfusion Medicine) and Dr. Nidhi Kapoor (Neurology). Congratulations to all.
A shout-out to Dr. W. Conan Mustain, Assistant Professor in Colorectal Surgery, and Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System surgeons Dr. Theresa McCallie and Dr. Kim Jackman, for their initiative to provide a Robotic Surgery Skills Lab for General Surgery residents. Robotic surgery is becoming increasingly important in the field of general surgery, but with the newest, and typically expensive, robotic technology in high demand for surgical use with patients, it can be hard for General Surgery trainees to have the chance to practice new skills with the equipment. Read about this forward-thinking initiative in the UAMS Newsroom.
Poem for a Pandemic
Dr. Priya Mendiratta, Professor of Geriatrics, wrote her first poem ever as the pandemic swelled early this summer. She posted her ode to “Mask Up My Friends” on social media, and it soon caught the attention of the American Geriatric Society. Her poem has just been published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, as Geriatrics colleagues from around the country continue to circulate and highlight Dr. Mendiratta’s thought-provoking poem.
Do you know someone – faculty, staff, student, resident or fellow – who deserves accolades? Send me your idea, courtesy of COMInternalCommunications@uams.edu.