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!
Nationally Recognized Pediatric Excellence
Congratulations to Arkansas Children’s on being ranked in seven national specialties in the just-released 2022-2023 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings from U.S. News & World Report – the most ever. This incredible accomplishment is the result of exemplary leadership and the dedication and teamwork of everyone involved. Below are the specialties that ranked along with the division/section chiefs for those areas. Kudos to these leaders and teams.
Cancer #42 – Ranked for the 1st time in Arkansas Children’s history!—Dr. David Becton and the Peds Hematology/Oncology team
Cardiology and Heart Surgery #44 – Improved from #50 in 2020!—Dr. Paul Seib, Dr. Brian Reemtsen and the Peds Cardiology/CV team
Diabetes and Endocrinology #29 – Ranked for the 1st time in Arkansas Children’s history!—Dr. Jon Oden and the Peds Diabetes and Endocrine team
Nephrology #34 – Improved from #50 in 2020!—Dr. Richard Blaszak and the Peds Nephrology/Dialysis team
Neurology and Neurosurgery #48 – Ranked again for the first time since 2019! —Dr. Fred Perkins, Dr. Greg Albert and the Peds Neuroscience team
Pulmonology and Lung Surgery #24 – Highest ranked service in Arkansas Children’s history!—Dr. John Carroll and the Peds Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine team
Urology #40 – Improved from #47 in 2020!—Dr. Stephen Canon and Peds Urology team
Many teams and specialties in addition to those above helped to make this happen, and we are grateful to all. Way to go to our UAMS colleagues and Arkansas Children’s!
Ensuring Safe Schools
Dr. Laura Dunn, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Psychiatric Research Institute, has been appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to the newly reinstated Arkansas School Safety Commission. In the wake of the May 24 mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas and other gun violence, Gov. Hutchinson on Friday issued an executive order convening and appointing new members to the commission, which initially studied school safety in 2018 and issued 30 recommendations. Dr. Dunn is lending her expertise in mental health as the group reviews and expands on those findings. The panel is chaired by Dr. Cheryl May, Director of the University of Arkansas System Criminal Justice Institute, and includes representatives from state government, schools, law enforcement and mental health care. Thank you, Dr. Dunn, for serving in this crucial role.
Speed Date with Research
A shout-out to Arkansas INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) and researchers from several departments in the College of Medicine and College of Public Health for doing a great job at a “Speed Date” style workshop for Arkansas college students focusing on obesity and diabetes research. The workshop, which drew raves from participating students, was organized by Dr. Thomas Kelly, INBRE’s primary undergraduate institution liaison, Professor of Pathology and Associate Director for Cancer Research Training and Education in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. INBRE is directed by Dr. Lawrence Cornett, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology. Other presenters included Drs. Elisabet Borsheim, Dinesh Edem, Eva Diaz Fuentes, Joseph Henske, Lee Ann MacMillan-Crowe, Tiffany Miles, Emir Tas, Michael Thomsen and Jerry Ware. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
AGEC Junior Faculty Fellows
Congratulations to the newly announced Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC) Junior Faculty Development awardees, including the College of Medicine’s Dr. Lee Isaac. Dr. Isaac is currently a postdoctoral fellow in clinical neuropsychology at UAMS specializing in geriatric neuropsychology. He will join the Department of Psychiatry as an Assistant Professor in August and will start his year-long AGEC fellowship in January. Congratulations also to the College of Health Professions’ Dr. Caitlin Price, who will start her AGEC fellowship next month. Read more about the awardees here.
Biomedical Engineering students at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville spend time in medical settings to identify vexing challenges and devise technological solutions. A team working with Dr. Astryd A. Menendez, a Professor of Pediatrics and pediatric pulmonologist at Arkansas Children’s Northwest, developed a concept and prototype for a pediatric spirometry training device that is progressing toward potential commercial development with support from a National Science Foundation National Innovation Corps award. Taylor Farnan, who has since graduated from the U of A, initiated the project and was joined later by Lina Patel (now an incoming UAMS nursing student) and Nathan Lucas, who also were students of U of A Associate Professor Dr. Morten Olgaard Jensen. Dr. Hanna Jensen, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Radiology at UAMS, made the initial connections with Dr. Menendez. Well done!
Quality Management Expertise
Kerri Hill, RN, OCN, Quality Management Director for the Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, has been selected to provide an educational course for the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). Ms. Hill will share her expertise in quality management for transplant programs across the nation and beyond. Her selection by FACT, the leading organization for transplant quality accreditation, demonstrates what she brings to our team, and the quality of our Stem Cell team more broadly. I join with Dr. Muthu Veeraputhiran, Director of the Hematology Section and Clinical Program Director of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, in extending congratulations.
Grateful for Great Residents
Dr. Manisha Singh, Associate Professor in the Division of Nephrology and Director of the Home Dialysis Program, recently wrote to Dr. Mollie Meek, Program Director for the Interventional Radiology Integrated Residency, and Dr. Roopa Ram, Program Director for the Diagnostic Radiology Residency, to congratulate them on graduating outstanding residents. Dr. Singh was grateful in particular for the expert and compassionate care provided in a recent challenging case by Dr. Scott Fleck, who graduated this month after serving as the 2021-2022 Chief Resident. Dr. Fleck went the extra mile with a patient with end-stage renal disease. In addition to expertly handling a difficult procedure, Dr. Fleck helped to assure and calm the anxious patient. “It is heartwarming to see such care,” Dr. Singh wrote. Kudos to Dr. Fleck, and to Dr. Meek, Dr. Ram and the entire Radiology Residency team.
Creative Writing Awards
Finally this week, congratulations to this year’s winners of the Drs. Paulette and Jay Mehta Awards in Creative Writing. The award for poetry went to medical student Samuel Byrd. The fiction category recipient was Dr. Stephen Nix, Assistant Professor of Pathology. The award for creative nonfiction went to graduating Emergency Medicine resident Dr. Elizabeth Hanson. Read more about the second annual awards ceremony and the Mehtas’ ongoing dedication to the arts and literature here. As Dr. Stephanie Gardner, UAMS Provost and Chief Strategy Officer, said at the ceremony, “These awards speak to the Mehtas’ belief in the ability of creativity and the arts to nourish our spirit, to cultivate lifelong learning and to guide us to becoming better health care providers.”