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. Joanna Seibert, Professor Emeritus and former Chief of Pediatric Radiology at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, has been selected to receive the 2021 Society of Pediatric Radiology (SPR) Gold Medal. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the SPR. Dr. Seibert is being recognized for her decades of service and visionary leadership in the SPR and for her innovations in pediatric sonography, including important contributions to the development of the clinical application of pediatric Doppler sonography. As the first trained pediatric radiologist in Arkansas, Dr. Seibert provided leadership in the specialty for almost 40 years. The SPR award is just the latest of many honors for Dr. Seibert, who was named to the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017.
An article by four Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences colleagues was the featured article at the top of the home page of Endocrinology, the journal of the Endocrine Society, last week. Professor and Department Chair Dr. Gwen Childs and Assistant Professor Dr. Angela Odle were co-first authors of the invited mini-review article, “The Importance of Leptin to Reproduction.” Dr. Angus MacNicol, Professor, and Dr. Melanie MacNicol, Associate Professor, served as co-senior authors on the paper, which the journal also promoted on social media. The publication was one result of a very productive year for the entire department. Well done.
Digital Health Takes Off
The rapid acceleration of digital health endeavors at UAMS, as well as the breadth of clinical, research and educational activities in digital health, is remarkable. A recent “Showcase of Medical Discoveries” highlighted more than a dozen digital health projects at UAMS. Meanwhile, the outstanding team in the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation (IDHI), directed by Dr. Joseph Sanford, continues to find novel ways to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of Arkansans. For example, a new $749,968 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to the IDHI and Principal Investigator Dr. Stanley Ellis will support a pilot program to help prevent violent crime in Arkansas schools through telemedicine-based training for school personnel and students.
In the Spotlight
Dr. Laura James and Dr. Ryan Dare did a great job in a KTHV news segment this week that highlighted clinical research underway at UAMS to find better treatments for COVID-19. Dr. Dare, an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases who is leading UAMS efforts on a promising clinical trial, noted how previous scientific advances have dramatically improved mortality rates for COVID-19 patients. Dr. James, Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research, and Director of the UAMS Translational Research Institute, eloquently put current research efforts into context. “If you look back at history, this is how science works,” Dr. James said. “When there is a challenge, the great minds and the scientists and the community get together and come up with the best treatment approaches possible; and then those things have to be tested rigorously.”
Also doing a super job on TV this week: Dr. Robert Hopkins, Professor and Director of General Internal Medicine, explained on KTHV why it’s so important not to let your guard down even after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. And Dr. Johnathan Goree, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of the Chronic Pain Division, shared a personal encounter with implicit bias in health care, a problem faced by many underrepresented minority patients and families, in a KATV news report.
Dr. William Golden, Professor of Internal Medicine and Public Health and Medical Director for Arkansas Medicaid and the Arkansas Office of Health Information Technology, delivered three national webinar lectures this winter. Dr. Golden participated in the CMS Quality Conference, the annual Medicaid Innovation Conference, and the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative, sharing his expertise on new methods of using health information exchanges for Medicaid clinical performance measurement and improvement.
Dr. Tina Ipe, Associate Professor of Pathology and Director of the UAMS Blood Bank and Transfusion Division, is a co-first author of an insightful article on some of the professional impacts of the pandemic on women faculty. “The Impact of COVID-19 on Academic Productivity by Female Physicians and Researchers in Transfusion Medicine,” was published in Transfusion. Dr. Ipe collaborated on the article with faculty from Southern Illinois University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of California San Francisco.
Dr. Priyenka Thapa, a second-year Infectious Diseases fellow who excels clinically and academically, published two manuscripts this month. She was the first author of a unique case report describing Mycobacterium abscessus-induced Sweet Syndrome, as well as coauthor of an article highlighting clinical outcomes found in a multi-site study of admitted patients with COVID-19. As our Infectious Diseases faculty noted, UAMS is fortunate to have dedicated, hard-working trainees like Dr. Thapa.
I was also pleased to hear about the excellent scholarly work being done by our Pulmonary and Critical Care fellows, including Dr. Siddharthan Vaithilingam, who was the first author on a detailed case report about e-cigarettes or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) published in the journal CHEST this month. His mentors and coauthors were Dr. Anand Venkata and Dr. Nikhil Meena, and the work inspired Dr. Vaithilingam to continue his research into the vaping epidemic. As result, a review article on vaping by teenagers is being published in the renowned journal Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. Dr. Vaithilingam’s co-authors were Dr. Venkata and second-year fellow Dr. Raga Deepak Reddy Palagiri.
M3 medical student Hayden Scott did a superb job at Weill Cornell Medicine’s first international Medical Student Neurological Surgery Research Symposium, winning third place in the poster competition. Hayden collaborated on his poster, “Influence of Stereotactic Imaging Techniques on Operative Time in Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery,” with Dr. Erika Petersen, Professor and Neurosurgery Residency Program Director, and 2020 UAMS Neurosurgery Residency graduate Dr. Heather Pinckard-Dover. The poster bested 35 other contenders in the virtual competition.
And finally this week, you may recall that Dr. Omar Atiq, Professor of Internal Medicine and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, made national and international news last month (such as this) for erasing the outstanding debts of nearly 200 former patients of the cancer treatment center he founded in Pine Bluff. Last week, the Arkansas State Medical Board voted unanimously to issue a formal commendation to Dr. Atiq for his “humbling and compassionate gesture.” The board went on to write, “In all your years of exceptional service you have epitomized the kind of warm, sympathetic care that any physician would hope to emulate.” We could not be more proud of you, Dr. Atiq!