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!
New Endowed Chair
It was a pleasure to celebrate the investiture of Dr. J. Paul Mounsey, Professor and Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, in the Don and Carolyn Kirkpatrick Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine last week. This is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Mounsey, who has made strides in growing our cardiovascular programs since his recruitment to UAMS in 2019. Dr. Mounsey is a nationally recognized expert in managing complex heart rhythm disturbances. Under his leadership, our goal is to provide comprehensive cardiovascular care for Arkansans, to eventually include heart and lung transplants. We are grateful to the Kirkpatrick family for their generous gift to establish this chair. Read more about the investiture in the UAMS Newsroom.
National Psychiatry Honor
Congratulations to Dr. Veronica Raney, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Medical Director of the Child Study Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Interim Division Director for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, on being selected for the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry’s 2022 Psychodynamic Faculty Initiative (PsyFI). The initiative’s goals are to provide recognition and a faculty development opportunity for AACAP members who are planning to teach psychodynamic theory and therapy in child and adolescent psychiatry fellowships. As part of the award, Dr. Raney will work with a mentor to create a project designed to enhance the psychodynamic training experience at UAMS by addressing a problem or specific need within the Department of Psychiatry. She will present her project at the AACAP annual meeting in 2023.
National Workshop Spotlights our Dashboards
Dr. Beatrice Boateng, Associate Dean for Analytics and Strategy, presented an excellent workshop, “What’s your data telling you? Dashboards for Strategic Faculty Development and Vitality,” at the recent AAMC Group on Faculty Affairs Professional Development Virtual Conference. Dr. Boateng demonstrated the faculty dashboards that have been developed for the College of Medicine and discussed how they can be used for prescriptive and predictive analytics to improve faculty vitality. Other authors on the workshop included Dr. Erick Messias, former Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs; Emily Freeman, MA, Director of the UAMS Center for Faculty Excellence; Dr. Renee Bornemeier, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs; and me. You can view Dr. Boateng’s workshop slides here.
Opioid Treatment in the ED
A shout-out to the Department of Emergency Medicine for the lifesaving innovations put in place for patients with opioid use disorder who come to the Emergency Department. The initiative is led by Dr. Mike Wilson, and Dr. Wes Watkins did a great job sharing information about the program in a KARK-4 news segment last week. At UAMS, treatment for opioid addiction can start right in the Emergency Department. UAMS is the first ED in Arkansas with a grant-funded program to provide free, take-home doses of naloxone, the life-saving drug that counteracts the effects of an overdose, in case of future overdose. It is also the first ED to provide buprenorphine to help patients going through symptoms of withdrawal, and any attending physician in the ED can now prescribe it.
Accelerating Precision Cancer Medicine
Congratulations to Dr. Donald Johann, Professor of Biomedical Informatics, who is an author on an article in the high-impact journal Genome Biology on ways to improve Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) assays that use fixed tissue. Precision medicine approaches are revolutionizing the practice of clinical oncology. However, formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE), a routine pathology practice, brings challenges for the molecular extraction of relevant biomolecules and the quality of the molecular profiling assays that are essential to precision oncology. To investigate the effect of FFPE on clinical specimens undergoing NGS analysis, the research team designed a comprehensive study querying crucial components and provided salient recommendations.
Healthcare Ethics for the Pandemic & Beyond
The recently published second edition of Guidance for Healthcare Ethics Committees, co-edited by Dr. Micah Hester, was shaped in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Hester, Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities & Bioethics at UAMS, and Dr. Toby Schonfeld, Executive Director of the National Center for Ethics in Health Care, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, also addressed significant changes in health care since the first edition of their book was published in 2012. Read more about this insightful work in the UAMS Newsroom.
Improving Bladder Cancer Treatment
Congratulations to Dr. A. Murat Aydin, Assistant Professor of Urology, on his newly published article in Urologic Oncology, a leading journal in the field and the official journal of the Society of Urologic Oncology. Dr. Aydin, a researcher in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, is first author and corresponding author on “Comparative analysis of three vs. four cycles of neoadjuvant gemcitabine and cisplatin for muscle invasive bladder cancer.” The study showed that continuation of treatment with a fourth cycle prior to radical cystectomy benefits patients and may further improve survival outcomes.
Laser-Based Cancer & Disease Detection
A research team led by Dr. Vladimir Zharov, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Director of the Arkansas Nanomedicine Center, has published the latest advances in its ability to detect cancer and other medical conditions using a non-invasive, portable blood sensor. The article, “Towards Rainbow Portable Cytophone with Laser Diodes for Global Disease Diagnostics,” was published in Scientific Reports, a Nature Portfolio journal. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Dr. J.L. Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine, Physiology and Cell Biology and Pharmacology and Toxicology, will lend his expertise as a member of the Board of the Giovanni Lorenzini Medical Foundation in New York. Dr. Mehta was unanimously appointed to the U.S. board by the Board of the Fondazione Giovanni Lorenzi Medical Science Foundation in Milan, Italy. Through a global network of experts and extensive pool of research and development projects, the Lorenzini Foundation translates the latest findings in translational and evidence-based science and medicine. Congratulations also to Dr. Mehta and colleagues on the publication of two recent articles. He is the senior author on “HDL cholesterol levels and susceptibility to COVID-19” in eBioMedicine, published by The Lancet; and “Vegetarianism, microbiota, and cardiovascular health: looking back, and forward,” in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Internal Medicine residents Dr. Vignesh Chidambaram and Dr. Amudha Kumar are co-first authors on both papers.
Team Effort Pays Off
The UAMS Little Rock Family Medicine Residency Program had all 17 of its poster submissions accepted for the FMX conference in Washington, D.C., in September. FMX (Family Medicine Experience) is the premier annual event for the American Academy of Family Physicians. The 100% acceptance rate was a team effort led by Program Director Dr. Shashank Kraleti, with participation by seven faculty members, four residents and three medical students. Not coincidentally, one of the accepted posters is on the theme of using a team model to transform daily work into posters and presentations. Other poster topics include implementing interdisciplinary didactics, developing a research curriculum, designing an integrated behavioral health experience, and creating a competency-based review document as part of resident evaluation.
Residency Celebrations & Honors
I have enjoyed highlighting the year-end celebrations of departments across the college this summer. This week, I am pleased to share highlights from the Department of Surgery, which honored exemplary residents, along with Department of Surgery faculty who made an exceptional impact on students and residents this past year, and winning presenters from the recent Surgery Research Day. Program Directors and Coordinators can continue to share reports of graduation/year-end ceremonies and department honorees for upcoming editions of Accolades. Use this template for your overview and send it to COMInternalCommunications@uams.edu.
Putting Patients First
I recently received a wonderful note about an exceptional team player, Dr. Ryan Strebeck, Chief Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Tonia Cox, RNC-NIC, was working in the Institute for Digital Health and Innovation Call Center late one night when a new mother, recently discharged and distraught over a glitch in obtaining important medications from her pharmacy, telephoned. Dr. Strebeck stepped in to assist Tonia and the patient and was exceptionally helpful. “It takes teamwork to solve problems at UAMS, and Dr. Strebeck deserves recognition for his role in this situation,” Tonia wrote. “Labor and Delivery is a busy place to work; I appreciate the time he took to facilitate thorough patient care and follow up post-discharge.” I couldn’t agree more. Kudos to both of these outstanding colleagues.