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!
Congratulations to Dr. Stacie Jones, Professor in the Allergy and Immunology Division of the Department of Pediatrics, and colleagues on the publication of a landmark study into oral immunotherapy for life-threatening peanut allergy. The study was published in The Lancet, one of the top scientific journals in the world, and touted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci in a NIH news release. The trial, called IMPACT, found that providing oral immunotherapy to highly peanut-allergic children ages 1-3 safely desensitized most of them to peanut and induced remission of peanut allergy in one-fifth.
Dr. Jones, Director of the Food Allergy Research Program in the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, co-led the study and was first author on the publication. It was the result of many years of outstanding work by Dr. Jones along with former faculty member and co-leader of the study Dr. Wesley Burks, who is now Dean of the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine and CEO of UNC Health; UAMS Pediatrics faculty Dr. Amy Scurlock and Dr. Robbie Pesek; and others at five study sites. At Arkansas Children’s, many research coordinators, nurses, dietitians and others contributed to the pivotal study. Read more in the Arkansas Children’s Newsroom.
Global Health Honor
Fourth-year Anesthesiology resident Dr. Mi Mi Kim is one of just four residents nationwide to receive the prestigious 2021-2022 Resident International Anesthesia Scholarship from the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Committee on Global Humanitarian Outreach. The award will support a one-month rotation at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana. While there, Dr. Kim will gain experience delivering safe anesthesia in a resource-poor setting as well as participate in training and education of local anesthesia providers. Well done Dr. Kim!
Congratulations to Dr. Tisha Deen, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, on being accepted into the American Psychological Association’s 2022 Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology. The program for mid-career women psychologists prepares, supports and empowers participants to work toward positive changes in institutional, organizational and practice settings and seeks to increase the diversity, number and effectiveness of women psychologists as leaders. At UAMS, Dr. Deen serves as Director of Behavioral Health Integration for the Integrated Medicine Service Line.
Coronavirus Mutation Limits
Dr. David Ussery, Professor of Biomedical Informatics, led a multinational research team that found that coronavirus – despite its ability to create dangerous variants – has limits to its ability to mutate, which should help drug and vaccine manufacturers trying to fight the virus. The team’s observations were published in FEMS Microbiology Reviews. Drawing from global databases of millions of sequenced SARS-CoV-2 genomes, Dr. Ussery and colleagues learned that the virus’ structure makes it slower to mutate with fewer mutation possibilities. The team also included UAMS Biomedical Informatics postdoctoral fellow Dr. Visanu Wanchai. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
The Amazing Case
PGY-4 Diagnostic Radiology resident Dr. Ron Mora returned from the recent International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy (ISET) with more than just new insights into endovascular therapy. He also brought home bragging rights in the “FellowLuminaries: the Amazing Case Competition.” Dr. Mora won first place in the Peripheral Embolization category for his case titled “Massive Hematuria Due to Ectopic Vesical Varices in a Patient with Portal Hypertension.” The presentation stemmed from a case that came in to the UAMS Emergency Department and required emergent interventional radiology intervention with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) and embolization. Great job!
More than a Random Act
Finally this week, I would like to share a thoughtful essay that just came to my attention, “More Than a Random Act of Violence,” by Dr. David Spiro, a Professor in Pediatric Emergency Medicine, that was published last fall in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. “Our own Dr. Spiro at ACH writes about an awareness that I think makes us more compassionate physicians when we practice with intentionality and empathy,” Dr. Sara Tariq, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, wrote in an email to students accompanying the article. In telling the tragic story an 18-year-old shooting victim on a Thanksgiving Day, Dr. Spiro discusses his own awareness of privilege – and the realities that many who lack such privilege face. He calls on fellow physicians to acknowledge and address systemic racism and gun violence. Thank you, Dr. Spiro.