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!
Residency Celebrations & Honors
June is a time for celebration across the College of Medicine and UAMS as our residency and fellowship programs honor exemplary graduating housestaff and the outstanding educators who made a difference during their training. I want to take a moment to congratulate the 189 housestaff who are graduating from College of Medicine programs this month. Congratulations as well to the 50-some Family Medicine residents and Sports Medicine fellows graduating at the UAMS Regional Centers.
This year also marks the graduation of the inaugural classes of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine residents in the Baptist Health-UAMS Medical Education Program. Special thanks to Dr. Julea Garner, Program Director for the Family Medicine Residency, Dr. Paula Podrazik, Program Director for the Internal Medicine program, their faculty and staff team members, and Dr. Stan Kellar, Melissa Yandell and all of our partners at Baptist Health.
Finally, I invite our Program Directors and Coordinators to share information about your graduation celebrations and program honorees, so we can highlight them in Accolades. Here is a template you can use to tell us about your graduation ceremonies and awards. Please send your report to COMInternalCommunications@uams.edu. We will share the reports we receive in upcoming editions of Accolades.
Surgical Safety Education Accreditation
Congratulations to Dr. Karen Dickinson, Assistant Professor and Director of Interprofessional Simulation and Clinical Skills Training in the Department of Surgery, and her team on achieving accreditation for UAMS as a Focused Education Institute by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The program evaluates and ensures the highest standards for simulation-based surgical education and training to promote patient safety. As an accredited institute, UAMS will join other top surgical programs and multidisciplinary professionals around the country in a safety-focused educational consortium. Under Dr. Dickinson’s leadership, UAMS recently had an outstanding site visit by the ACS Accredited Education Institutes team. Well done!
Shark Tank Winner
Congratulations to Dr. Gary Lewis, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, on his winning innovation pitch in the “Shark Tank” competition during the recent American Brachytherapy Society annual meeting. Dr. Lewis’ proposal would use virtual reality to improve the patient experience during gynecologic brachytherapy. For patients with advanced cervical cancer, the brachytherapy treatment may be essential, but it can cause significant anxiety and discomfort. During the competition, Dr. Lewis explained how virtual reality technology could be used to soothe patients and reduce the need for potentially addictive opioid pain medication. The Shark Tank competition highlighted ideas for transforming the practice of brachytherapy by the year 2030. Great job, Dr. Lewis!
Radiation Oncology National Honor
Dr. Fen Xia, Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, has been selected to receive the prestigious Fellow designation from the American Society for Radiation Oncology (FASTRO). The honor recognizes Dr. Xia’s service to ASTRO and contributions to the field of radiation oncology. Dr. Xia, who was recruited to UAMS in 2016, is an internationally known physician-scientist specializing in treatment of central nervous system tumors. Her research focuses on DNA damage response and repair and the impact of these processes on genomic stability, aging, carcinogenesis, tumor response and normal tissue injury in cancer treatment. Dr. Xia will be recognized at a convocation ceremony during ASTRO’s annual meeting in October.
“Girlology” Empowers Arkansas Girls
A shout-out to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which recently held the first “Girlology” seminar in Central Arkansas and is gearing up for a second session. The physician-led program provides puberty education for girls ages 8-14, with the goal of providing young girls and their parents/caregivers a medically accurate educational experience to empower them to make good health choices. OB/GYN Chair Dr. Nirvana Manning, Dr. Laura Hollenbach, Associate Professor and Director of Pediatrics/Adolescent Gynecology, and Assistant Professor Dr. Kathryn Stambough conducted the well-attended and very well-received seminar. Based on the national Girlology program, the UAMS initiative is funded in part by a Chancellor’s Circle Grant. The next large-group Girlology event will be held at UAMS on August 7. Learn more and register here.
Summer Lecture Tour
Dr. David Ussery, Professor of Biomedical Informatics, has had a busy summer so far with activities including a series of lectures on genomic epidemiology. On Monday, he gave a talk for Arkansas high school students as part of the Summer Health Professions Education Camp held at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. Yesterday, he led a virtual round table discussion for a biodefense meeting in Washington, D.C. The discussion focused on using single-molecule sequencing for pathogens in wastewater to detect viral outbreaks, including monitoring for polio and monkeypox, both of which have been in the news recently. Today, he is giving a plenary talk at the biodefense meeting on what can be learned from more than 11 million COVID-19 genome sequences. Dr. Ussery also gave an introductory talk on genomic epidemiology at the recent Arkansas Summer Research Institute.
State Lab Accredited
Dr. Theodore Brown, Associate Professor of Pathology and Director of Autopsy at UAMS, also serves as Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Arkansas. Under his leadership, the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory has attained full accreditation by the National Association of Medical Examiners. The rigorous accreditation process ensures the highest caliber of medicolegal death investigations for our state. This accomplishment and Dr. Brown’s leadership role is yet another example of the ways our faculty serve Arkansans beyond the core areas of education, research and clinical care. Kudos, Dr. Brown.
Great Job, Geriatrics Fellows
Graduating Geriatrics fellows Drs. Bader Alkharisi, Anil Anandam, Sakiru Isa and Onna Lau presented well-received posters at the recent American Geriatrics Society meeting. The project titles were: “From tardive dyskinesia to Parkinsonism: an avoidable journey;” “The importance of dopamine deficiency evaluation in Alzheimer disease related dementias;” and “When treatment of hypertension becomes burdensome.” The fellows also presented a grand rounds on their quality improvement project, “Delirium Knowledge in Patients and Caregivers in a Geriatric Clinic,” which was mentored by Dr. Gohar Azhar. They were mentored for their abstracts and other Geriatrics grand rounds over the year by Dr. Jeanne Wei, Dr. Azhar, Amanda Pangle and Fellowship Program Director Dr. Priya Mendiratta, with assistance from Program Coordinator Joni Pharis. The fellows also contributed several novel innovations for the program during the year. Geriatrics faculty Dr. Kalpana Padala and Dr. Danish Hasan also presented at the AGS meeting.
Top Downloaded Paper
An article by Dr. Teresita Bellido, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, and Dr. Jesús Delgado-Calle, Assistant Professor, was recently recognized as one of the 10 most downloaded articles in JBMR-Plus, a journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. The article, “Ex Vivo Organ Cultures as Models to Study Bone Biology,” describes the protocols optimized in their laboratories to establish bone organ cultures that enable the study of bone cells in their natural 3D environment. Dr. Bellido and Dr. Delgado-Calle also presented examples of how this technical approach can be used to study osteocyte biology, drug responses in bone, cancer-induced bone disease, and cross-talk between bone and other organs.
Dr. Jason Mizell, Professor of Surgery and Director of the nationally recognized Business of Medicine course, was featured this week in two episodes of the “Behind the Knife” podcast. The series is the premier podcast for comprehensive surgical education for health care providers and learners in all stages of their career. Dr. Mizell discussed financial principles for surgeons in the episodes – the 10th podcast featuring Dr. Mizell and the innovative course he established at UAMS eight years ago. Congratulations!
Accolades will be on hiatus for the next couple of weeks, returning July 20. Meanwhile, I hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday!