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!
Newly Invested Colleagues
Congratulations to Dr. Michael Birrer and Dr. Jennifer Laudadio on their well-earned investitures in endowed chairs at UAMS. The recent ceremonies paid tribute to these outstanding leaders and to the namesakes of the chairs – COM faculty members who inspired generous philanthropists to make the chairs possible.
Dr. Birrer, Professor of Internal Medicine, Vice Chancellor and Director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute since 2019, assumed the Kent C. Westbrook, M.D., Director’s Chair for the Cancer Institute. The July 15 ceremony highlighted Dr. Birrer’s scholarly work and past career accomplishments as well as his ongoing dedication to attaining National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation for UAMS. The investiture also reflected on the impact of Dr. Westbrook, Distinguished Professor of Surgery, who was the Founding Director of the Cancer Institute.
Dr. Laudadio, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology, was invested July 22 in the Aubrey J. Hough Jr., M.D., Distinguished Chair in Pathology. Dr. Laudadio was honored for her contributions on the faculty since 2013 and her leadership as Chair since 2020 amid the many challenges of the pandemic. Dr. Hough, now a Professor Emeritus, was lauded for his 40 years of service on the faculty in many roles, including Chair of Pathology in 1981-2002.
Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Greenberger, Associate Professor and Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program, on being selected as the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Mentor Award from the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians. The annual award honors a female emergency medicine mentor who has significantly enhanced the careers of women mentees through research, education, advocacy and/or administration. Dr. Greenberger will receive the award during the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Scientific Assembly in October.
National Awards for Pain Medicine
Two of the 10 national awards presented at the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience (ASPN) annual meeting last weekend went to College of Medicine faculty members. Dr. Erika Petersen, Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery and Neuromodulation at UAMS, was named Functional Neurosurgeon of the Year for her work to advance the science around neuromodulation. In particular, she served as the lead author on a seminal paper that led to FDA approval of high-frequency spinal cord stimulation as a treatment for painful diabetic neuropathy. Dr. Petersen also became President-Elect of ASPN. Dr. Johnathan Goree, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of the Chronic Pain Division, received the Lisa Stearns Legacy Diversity Award from the ASPN for his exemplary work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the field of pain and neurosciences. So proud to have these colleagues on our team!
Congratulations to Dr. Jill Mhyre, the Dola S. Thompson Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, on completing her yearlong fellowship in the prestigious Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program at Drexel University. As part of the program, Dr. Mhyre initiated an institutional project to create a pipeline for underrepresented minority college graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in health care. Their time at UAMS is divided between clinical work as anesthesia technicians, professional development, research, and coaching to apply for medical school or other health professional training. Four individuals participated last year, and three are enrolled this year. Dr. Mhyre’s initiative contributes to our efforts to build a more diverse health care workforce and could serve as a model for similar pipeline programs in other areas.
A Better Learning Community
A survey-based study of student satisfaction with our Academic Houses learning communities confirms the effectiveness of the model for advising and mentoring medical students and highlights areas for potential improvement. Co-first authors Dr. Jasna Vuk of the UAMS Student Success Center and Dr. Steven McKee of the departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, along with Associate Dean for Student Affairs Dr. Sara Tariq and Dr. Priya Mendiratta of the Department of Geriatrics, led the study published in the Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development. Our students have benefited substantially from the mentorship, support and community provided by our academic houses since their inception in 2016. Many thanks to Dr. Tariq for her leadership of this important initiative and to all of our academic house faculty advisors.
Did you know that a highly-specialized team at UAMS, led by Dr. Alan Tackett, provides proteomics expertise for researchers across the country as the only such National Institutes of Health (NIH) “National Resource” of its kind? The team recently helped the University of North Carolina discover a key driver of cancer cell development, and the findings were published in the journal Nature. Along with Dr. Tackett, who serves as Deputy Director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the team and UAMS coauthors of the study included fellow Biochemistry and Molecular Biology faculty members Drs. Stephanie Byrum, Rick Edmondson, Samuel Mackintosh and Aaron Storey. Read more about the study and the incredibly successful first year of the IDeA National Resource for Quantitative Proteomics in the UAMS Newsroom.
COVID & Surgery
Kudos to Dr. Manos Giorgakis, Assistant Professor in the Division of Transplant Surgery, for his leadership of UAMS’ important work with the COVIDSurg Cohort Study Group. Dr. Giorgakis has worked with various teams in the Department of Surgery to make valuable contributions to the international study group throughout the pandemic. Their most recent publication created a mortality risk calculator for patients undergoing surgery with perioperative Sars-CoV-2. The risk calculator has been validated and deployed online.
Psychiatric Nursing Scholar
Congratulations to the Division of Developmental Pediatrics’ Lindsay Van Parys, APRN, on being named a 2021 American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Scholar. Ms. Van Parys, an APRN in the James L. Dennis Developmental Center and a post-master’s student in UAMS’ Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program, is one of only 15 graduate students and 30 students overall nationwide to be chosen for the honor. She will be recognized at, and receive a scholarship to attend, the APNA 35th Annual Conference in October.
Neurocritical Care Fellow
Congratulations to the Department of Neurosurgery’s Ebonye Green, APRN, Lead Advanced Practice Provider for the Inpatient Neuroscience Service Line, on being named a Fellow of the Neurocritical Care Society (NCS). Fellows are selected based on their contributions to the field in the areas of professionalism and collaborative multi-professional practice, program development, scholarly activity and leadership. Ms. Green will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the NCS Annual Meeting in October.