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!
Step 1 Gains
New data from the USMLE shows our students continuing to make steady improvement on the Step 1 national benchmark exam. In both average mean score and first-time pass rate, our students are closing the gap in reaching the national mean, even though Arkansas students, on average, enter medical school with MCAT scores well below the national mean. This is a strong testament to the excellence and dedication of our faculty and student support systems, as well as a reflection of the curriculum changes and active-learning approaches we began implementing in 2013. Special thanks to all of you who are involved in M1 and M2 education. And bravo to our students for their outstanding work!
Family Medicine Honor
Congratulations to Dr. Shashank Kraleti, Associate Professor and Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program, who has been selected to receive a Program Director Recognition Award from the Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors. The award recognizes the unique roles, responsibilities and challenges of family medicine program directors, scholarly activity, peer and professional development, service to family medicine organizations and advocacy. Dr. Kraleti received one of only four bronze medals awarded for 2021.
Published in Pediatrics
Congratulations to Dr. Parthak Prodhan, Professor of Pediatric Critical Care and Pediatric Cardiology, and colleagues, on their new paper published in Pediatrics. Dr. Prodhan is the senior author, and the College of Public Health’s Dr. Clare Brown is first author, on “Severe Acute Neurologic Involvement in Children with Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome.” Coauthors on the study, the largest systematic assessment of acute neurologic manifestations among children with hemolytic-uremic syndrome to date, are the Division of Pediatric Cardiology’s Dr. Xiomara Garcia and Dr. Rupal Bhakta and fourth-year Medicine-Pediatrics resident Dr. Emily Sanders. The UAMS Translational Research Institute provided biostatistical support for the study.
Excellence in Ethics
This year’s recipients of the Chris Hackler Award for Excellence in Medical Ethics exemplify the spirit of the annual award from the University Hospital Ethics Committee – dedication to patients. Social worker Leigh Ann Wilson, LCSW, and Collin V. Montgomery, APRN, of the Adult Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Program are both devoted to providing compassionate care for patients with sickle cell disease. Also honored was former Surgery resident Dr. Nicholas Tingquist, who is currently completing a cardiothoracic fellowship at Vanderbilt University. Read about the honorees in this UAMS news story. Congratulations to all three on this well-deserved honor!
In the Spotlight
Dr. Samantha Kendrick, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a researcher in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, is featured in the latest issue of Pulse, the magazine of the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF). Dr. Kendrick, who received a Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant from the LRF in 2013, discusses in a Q&A article how she became involved in lymphoma research and how the understanding of molecular targets has changed the landscape of therapies for lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Atrial Fibrillation Insights
Dr. Dinesh Voruganti, a first-year Cardiovascular Diseases fellow, is the lead author on a paper published in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. “Gender differences, outcomes and trends among nonagenarian with atrial fibrillation: insight from National Inpatient Sample database,” reported a number of findings among hospitalized patients over the age of 90 with atrial fibrillation. Dr. Voruganti’s UAMS coauthors included the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine’s Dr. J.L. Mehta (senior author), Dr. Subodh Devabhaktuni and Dr. Hakan Paydak. Well done.
Dr. Arabinda Choudhary, Professor and Chair of Radiology, received a Certificate of Appreciation for Excellence from the Society for Pediatric Radiology for his service as a reviewer for Pediatric Radiology in 2020. Dr. Choudhary, who is internationally recognized in his subspecialty of pediatric neuroimaging, was honored for the quantity and quality of his reviews and for lending his expertise to help ensure the continued high quality of the journal.
AI Win for IDHI
A team from the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation is one of 13 North American university teams named as finalists in the 2021 OpenCV AI Competition, the world’s largest spatial AI (artificial intelligence) competition. The IDHI team, self-dubbed the “Little Rock-ies,” pitched an idea to use AI cameras to perform airway risk assessments on patients. Their win garnered the team 10 OAK-D cameras, which can be used to detect and identify real-world objects. Congratulations – and good luck on the next phase – to the team: IDHI Director Dr. Joseph Sanford, Associate Director Dr. Kevin Sexton, Adria Abella Villafranca, Michael Cruz, Catherine Shoults, Pablo Trevino and Dr. Lori Wong.
A shout-out to Orthopaedic Surgery Chair Dr. Lowry Barnes, Orthopaedic Northwest Arkansas Chief Dr. Wes Cox and colleagues for their hard work on the successful initiative to partner with Razorback Athletics to provide comprehensive care for University of Arkansas, Fayetteville student athletes. Under the four-year medical services agreement, UAMS will provide advanced care from sports medicine-trained primary care physicians and orthopaedic surgeons for more than 465 athletes in all 19 Razorback sport programs. UAMS is also partnering with Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) on the initiative. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Kudos for Service
Dr. Mary Burgess, Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, has served in many roles at UAMS, including as Infectious Diseases (ID) Fellowship Program Director and Transplant ID Director. As a College of Medicine representative and Secretary of the UAMS Academic Senate, Dr. Burgess has worked with the Faculty Retention Committee and UAMS leadership to compile and share important data on faculty retention. She and her ID colleagues have been integral in the care of COVID-19 patients, with Dr. Burgess developing the guidelines for Remdesivir treatment as well as infection control policies relating to immunocompromised patients in Hematology and Multiple Myeloma Services. I join with Dr. Burgess’ colleagues in wishing this outstanding team player all the best as she moves on to a new chapter of her career in private practice in Conway.
Public Health Honor
We were so pleased to hear that senior MD/MPH student Moriah Hollaway has been selected to receive the prestigious Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service. Nominated jointly by the College of Public Health and the College of Medicine, Moriah has been a champion for public health training for medical students and physicians. Her capstone research project for her Master of Public Health focuses on the physical and economic aspects of delayed or cancelled elective procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moriah plans to pursue a career in general surgery, and to apply her population science training in her medical practice. Congratulations, Moriah!
Dean’s Honor Awards
Help us honor exemplary colleagues! Nominations for the College of Medicine’s signature annual awards for faculty and staff are due March 26. Chairs may nominate candidates for all awards. Faculty members may nominate for all faculty and staff awards except Master Teacher. GBA department leaders may nominate candidates for Staff Excellence Awards. Visit the COM Awards Page for more information about these honors and the nomination process. Information about Dean’s Honor Day will be announced soon!