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!
My first accolade of the New Year is about the importance of kindness during difficult times. When the pandemic began last March, the College of Medicine was tasked with coordinating logistics and scheduling for entrance screening sites throughout the UAMS main campus. Renee Raines and fellow research administration team members Anna Evatt and Ashley Gregory led the effort to schedule, train and support hundreds of volunteers to cover screening stations for a combined total of 2,500 work hours per week – for four months. This was an extraordinary, round-the-clock administrative feat.
But it was their kindness toward volunteers – and the kindness of their army of volunteers – that made all the difference.
I had the pleasure of recently presenting Renee, Anna and Ashley our first-ever Kindness Award. The colleagues were nominated by Danele Poole, Assistant Chair and Administrator for the Department of Neurosurgery. When we informed Renee about the award and our plans for a Zoom presentation, she invited several other screening site managers and core volunteers to join in the celebration. “I wanted to make sure the people who really, really gave 110% were here, because without them the whole process would not have been possible,” Renee explained. Thank you, Renee, Anna, Ashley – and all of our amazing volunteers!
Insights on Equity
A shout-out to the Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics’ Dr. Laura Guidry-Grimes and Dr. Brian Gittens, UAMS Vice Chancellor and Director of the Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, for their insightful contributions to a recent podcast on racism in patient care. Dr. Gittens and Dr. Guidry-Grimes were among the expert guests on the Beyond the White Coat podcast from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The episode explored how academic medicine can help to prepare and train future physicians to provide patient care that is more equitable for all. The podcast was highlighted in the AAMC Group on Educational Affairs Weekly Roundup on December 18.
Dr. Michael Wilson, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry, has been named Chair-Elect of the Coalition on Psychiatric Emergencies (COPE). The coalition of behavioral health, psychiatry and emergency medicine professionals is headed by the Emergency Medicine Foundation. With representation from 13 professional organizations, it is the country’s largest collaborative in the field of emergency psychiatry. My thanks to Dr. Wilson for his outstanding work at the national level as well as here at UAMS, where he serves as Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine’s Behavioral Emergencies Research Lab and the department’s Research Associates Program.
In the Spotlight
Congratulations to Dr. Sacha McBain, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Surgery, and Dr. Marie Mesidor, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, on their recent honors from the Arkansas Psychological Association (ARPA). Dr. McBain, who was named Early Career Psychologist of the Year, is doing wonderful work in her roles as a clinical psychologist for the Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery and as Associate Director in the Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Trauma Prevention, Recovery and Innovation. She also has been instrumental in developing mental health resources to help medical residents, Arkansas physicians and other health professionals cope with stress and anxiety during the pandemic. Dr. Mesidor received the ARPA Medical Center Provider of the Year Award for her exceptional work at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.
Congratulations to the Division of Endocrinology’s Dr. Spyridoula Maraka on two new editorial board appointments. She was named to the Editorial Board of Thyroid, the official journal of the American Thyroid Association, after being highly recommended for her expertise and prior contributions as a reviewer. She will also serve on the Editorial Board for Clinical Thyroidology, which provides summaries and insights into the most cutting-edge and relevant scholarly articles for clinicians.
I will end this week’s Accolades as I started, with another story about the power of kindness. The adult daughter of a patient of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s Dr. Simon Mears commended Dr. Mears, nurses and other staff for their kindness. “It helped my father heal more quickly,” she wrote in the patient survey. “He is recovering with so much positivity due to the personal attention given to him. Thank you, Dr. Mears. We truly appreciate your magic.” The writer noted that her father occasionally lost his patience and became a little upset after his surgery. “Even after that, the staff and nurses gave him full attention and treated him with so much love. We are truly speechless. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”