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!
Kudos to the Solid Organ Transplant team for their outstanding work to achieve some of the best outcomes in the nation. In the latest data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) and its “5-tier” outcome rankings, the program is second nationally among all kidney programs, 10th in liver programs, and third among the nation’s combined kidney/liver programs. The overall end-goal measurement is for organ function, speed to transplant, and patient survival at one year. These excellent results are only possible through excellent collaboration with several great groups at UAMS including Anesthesiology, Interventional Radiology and Advanced Endoscopy, and they reflect exceptional institutional care overall.
An article by Dr. Rosalia C.M. Simmen, Professor of Physiology and Cell Biology, and her research team, “Metformin Promotes Anti-tumor Biomarkers in Human Endometrial Cancer Cells,” has been selected as the most popular basic science original article published by Reproductive Sciences in 2020. The study was conducted with postdoctoral fellows Dr. John Mark Pabona (lead author) and Dr. Maria Theresa Montales; collaborators Dr. Alexander Burnett (Obstetrics & Gynecology), Dr. Charles Matthew Quick (Pathology), Dr. Frank Simmen (Physiology & Cell Biology), Dr. Shi Liu (College of Pharmacy) and Eric Siegel, M.S. (Biostatistics); along with medical students Dustin Brown, Tyler Rose and Iad Alhallak. The award will be recognized at the Society for Reproductive Investigation annual meeting in July. Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to Dr. Gresham Richter, Professor, Vice Chair and Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, on his election to a two-year term as President of the Society for Ear, Nose and Throat Advancement in Children (SENTAC). SENTAC is a collective group of health care professionals involved in the care of children with otolaryngology, hearing, speech and swallowing disorders. Dr. Richter was also recently selected to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Vascular Anomalies.
Third-year medical student Austin Brown is co-first author on a paper published this week in Neuromodulation. The article, “Allergy Complications in Implanted Neuromodulation Devices,” reviews research into the clinical management of poorly understood, and fortunately rare, complications of neuromodulation device implantation. He collaborated with Dr. Diana Munoz-Mendoza (Pediatric Allergy and Immunology) and the Department of Neurosurgery’s Dr. Viktoras Palys and Dr. Erika Petersen (senior author), along with researchers at several other institutions including New York University, Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins University. Great job!
A shout-out to the Department of Geriatrics’ Dr. Gohar Azhar and Dr. Xiaomin Zhang and their colleagues on their excellent recent publications. Dr. Azhar was the lead author on “Potential Beneficial Effects of Dietary Protein Supplementation and Exercise on Functional Capacity in a Pilot Study of Individuals with Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction,” published in Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine. Dr. Zhang was the lead author on “Alternative Splicing Increases Sirtuin Gene Family Diversity and Modulates Their Subcellular Localization and Function,” published in a special issue, “Molecular Mechanisms of Gene Expression: Bioinformatics of Gene Regulations and Structure,” from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
COVID Image Sharing
An article in Nature, Scientific Data highlights work by data experts at UAMS to share clinical images of COVID-19 patients with scientists across the country through The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA), a publicly available national database housed at UAMS and supported by the National Cancer Institute. The work was part of an effort led by TCIA Principal Investigator and Department of Biomedical Informatics Chair Dr. Fred Prior and Dr. Ahmad Baghal, Director of the Arkansas Clinical Data Repository at UAMS. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Tops in Ortho
Congratulations to Dr. C. Lowry Barnes, Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, on being recognized as one of the nation’s top orthopaedic surgeons by Becker’s Healthcare, an industry leader in health care information. Dr. Barnes was named one of “65 total knee replacement surgeons to know” and was the only Arkansas surgeon on the list.
I recently had the honor of presenting the College of Medicine 2020 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Dr. Jack Blackshear, a 1968 graduate who has been a true ally for UAMS and our college. Before the pandemic put a halt to my in-person weekly breakfasts with first- and second-year medical students, Dr. Blackshear joined us for some of these meetings, and his devotion to future physicians was obvious. That dedication goes back decades. Read about Dr. Blackshear and our virtual celebration in the UAMS Newsroom.
A remarkable act of kindness by Dr. Omar Atiq, Professor of Internal Medicine and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, has made news across the nation and beyond. The cancer treatment center Dr. Atiq founded in Pine Bluff nearly 30 years ago closed early last year. As 2020 was winding down, Dr. Atiq decided to forgive all remaining balances – totaling almost $650,000 – of nearly 200 former patients. His generosity was highlighted in many local and national news reports, such as this feature on the ABC World News Tonight.
Meanwhile, Dr. Atiq continues to work tirelessly on behalf of patients at UAMS and as a national leader in internal medicine. You may know that he served as the 2019-2020 Chair of the American College of Physicians (ACP) Board of Governors. He continues to serve on the ACP Board of Regents and as Chair of the ACP Health and Public Policy Committee, which has just published a position paper on disparities and discrimination in health and health care, of which he is also an author. We are so fortunate and proud to have Dr. Atiq as a colleague!
Above & Beyond
I am continually amazed at the selfless spirit of UAMS team members, even in the most difficult circumstances. Second-year Internal Medicine resident Dr. Connor Rayburn recently experienced the tragic loss of his grandfather due to COVID, and he had other loved ones who were affected with the virus. Despite these immense stresses, Dr. Rayburn continued to have an exemplary work attitude day after day in the ICU, while completely refraining from visiting his family during their quarantine. He took no time off except for a day to attend the post-quarantine funeral. Dr. Anand Venkata, who shared this story, said, “I cannot commend him highly enough for placing service ethos before personal grief.”