Dear College of Medicine Team,
I am honored to continue the tradition of sharing weekly accolades with you. After a pause last week following the tragic death of Dr. Susan Smyth on Dec. 31, the stories below about some of your recent accomplishments, honors, service and generosity serve as a reminder of the excellence Dr. Smyth strived for during her time with us. In fact, some of these accolades crossed her desk in late December. As we begin the New Year, I hope you will be as inspired by these accolades as I am. Thank you for all that you do.
G. Richard Smith, M.D.
Interim Dean and Executive Vice Chancellor
The Spirit of Service
In the last few weeks of 2022, the Dean’s Office heard story after story of COM team members and students who exemplified both the spirit of the season and the highest ideals of our profession.
A great example is the compassionate care that Orthopaedic Surgery team membersprovided at the Our Hearts to Your Soles event at River City Ministries. Assistant Professor Dr. Chelsea Mathews was pictured in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as she performed a free foot exam. Joining her in this service activity were Assistant Professor Dr. Rob Martin, retired faculty member Dr. Ruth Thomas and Chief Resident Dr. Sean Parham.
Meanwhile, College of Medicine students were instrumental in a very successful community health screening and vaccine event in Northwest Arkansas. College of Pharmacy Associate Dean Dr. Scott Warmack wrote to College of Medicine and UAMS Northwest Regional Campus leaders to commend first-year medical students Hannah Hale, Chloe Cline, Suzette Lopez and Brendon Hogge.
“These students were OUTSTANDING,” Dr. Warmack wrote. “I feel they went above and beyond from what I usually see at service learning events. They arrived early and stayed late. They did everything from translating for the largely Latino population to helping calm children before they received vaccines. They were professional, knowledgeable and caring. You should be extremely proud of this group.”
Vaccines & Reproductive Health
Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Executive Director of the UAMS Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is lending her expertise in reproductive endocrinology and infertility as a member of the National Academies Vaccine Safety Committee. The panel is reviewing data on reported side effects from COVID-19 vaccines to determine if there are any possible long-term effects on reproductive health. Nationally recognized for her work to address health equity issues and the disparities that women of color experience in reproductive medicine, Dr. Richard-Davis brings crucial perspective as well as clinical expertise to this important initiative.
National Neurology Teaching Award
Dr. Humaira Khan, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Associate Program Director of the Adult Neurology Residency, has been selected to receive the 2023 A.B. Baker Teacher Recognition Award from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). One of only 40 neurologists to receive the national award this year, Dr. Khan also has been recognized by UAMS Neurology residents as one of the top educators in the department for the past two years. The AAN will honor her at its Annual Meeting in Boston in April. I join with Neurology Chair Dr. Lee Archer in extending well-earned congratulations to Dr. Khan.
Editorial Board Appointment (still out for review, will edit as needed)
Dr. Erin Bennett, Assistant Professor in the Critical Care Section of the Department of Pediatrics, has been invited to serve on the Editorial Board of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, the preeminent journal in the field. The appointment is a reflection of Dr. Bennett’s outstanding scholarly contributions, engagement in the pediatric critical care community, and recognition among her peers across the country. Kudos to Dr. Bennett for her national service as well as her dedication to pediatric patients in Arkansas.
Pediatric Hospital Medicine Excellence
A shout-out to Drs. Jacob Filipek, Chara Fisher, Brittney Harris, Kristyn Jeffries, Brittany Slagle and Dustin Williford, Assistant Professors of Pediatrics in the Pediatric Hospital Medicine Section, on passing the Pediatric Hospital Medicine subspecialty board exam. This was only the second year the national exam has been offered, and our faculty have a 100% pass rate following the earlier success of Dr. Emily Barnes, Section Chief Dr. Rebecca Cantu and Dr. Becky Latch when the exam was first offered in 2019.
Respiratory Care Convention
Dr. Ariel Berlinski, Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Director of the Respiratory Care Department at Arkansas Children’s, shared his expertise in multiple sessions of the recent International Respiratory Convention and Exhibition in New Orleans. Dr. Berlinski, who also directs the Pediatric Aerosol Research Laboratory in the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, co-chaired a poster discussion session on aerosols and delivered lectures on aerosol delivery in children receiving respiratory support and on primary ciliary dyskinesia. He was also the senior author on three posters presented by coauthors from the Respiratory Care Department at Arkansas Children’s, two of which were selected for special presentation at the Editor’s Choice Open Forum Abstract Session.
Focus on Collegiality
Congratulations to third-year Surgery resident Dr. Joe DeLoach on being named the newest Consultant of the Month by our Emergency Medicine residents. The residents appreciated Dr. DeLoach for his engaging manner with patients in the Emergency Department and his kindness even on stressful days. “Joe is always happy to teach me and other interns in a positive and uplifting manner whenever the opportunity arises,” one resident wrote in their nomination. Kudos to Dr. DeLoach, and thanks as well to first-year Emergency Medicine resident Dr. Brett James, who has assumed administrative leadership of the collegial award program this year.
Congratulations to Dr. Stephanie Dayer, a third-year resident in the UAMS/Mercy Internal Medicine Residency Program in Northwest Arkansas, and colleagues in Geriatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery on having a top-cited article of 2022 in Geriatric Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation. Dr. Dayer was the first author on the article, “Does Superior Bone Health Promote a Longer Lifespan,” which was published in the journal in 2021. Dr. Gohar Azhar, Professor of Geriatrics, served as senior author, and additional co-authors included Dr. Simon Mears in Orthopaedic Surgery and Amanda Pangle, B.S., Dr. Priya Mendiratta and Dr. Jeanne Wei in Geriatrics.
When Professor Emeritus Dr. Rhonda Dick was just 17, she had the good fortune to work alongside general practitioner Dr. Herd Stone in rural Monroe County. He set the Holly Grove teenager on the path to medical school and a successful career at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s, where she served as Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine prior to her retirement in 2019. Now, Dr. Dick and her husband, Ken Dick, have made a $2 million gift commitment to establish a scholarship in the College of Medicine. The scholarship will be awarded to students from Arkansas, with a preference to those who are from rural areas who demonstrate financial need. You can read more about this inspired act of giving in the UAMS Newsroom. Meanwhile, I want to thank Rhonda and Ken Dick for their remarkable generosity and their dedication to young Arkansans, especially those from rural areas, who aspire to become physicians.