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!
Jones Eye Investitures
Congratulations to three exemplary faculty colleagues in the Department of Ophthalmology and Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute – Dr. Ahmed Sallam, Dr. John Pemberton, and Dr. Paul Phillips – on their investitures in endowed chairs at UAMS yesterday.
Dr. Sallam, Professor, Director of Uveitis Services and Director of the Ophthalmology Residency Program, was invested in the John W. Nutt Chair in Ophthalmology. A faculty member since 2016, Dr. Sallam specializes in the management of uveitis and retinal care.
Dr. Pemberton, Professor, was invested in the Stella Boyle Smith/Gissur J. Petursson, M.D., Chair in Ophthalmology. A faculty member since 2011, Dr. Pemberton specializes in plastic surgery of the eyelids, orbital masses, orbital reconstruction, tear drainage repair and other surgeries of the structures around the eye.
Dr. Phillips, Professor, Chair of Ophthalmology and Director of the Jones Eye Institute, was invested in the Pat Walker Chair in Ophthalmology. A faculty member since 1997, Dr. Phillips has led UAMS’ outstanding programs in Ophthalmology since January 2020. He directed Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus services prior to assuming his current leadership roles. Dr. Phillips previously held the Smith/Petursson Endowed Chair.
Disparities in Patients Over 80
A shout-out to graduating senior Anna Blach along with Department of Geriatrics Research Associate Amanda Pangle, Professor Dr. Gohar Azhar and Professor and Chair Dr. Jeanne Wei on their new article in Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine. The team identified disparities in the prevalence and distribution of common co-morbid conditions including hypertension, dyslipidemia, dementia and diabetes mellitus in heart failure patients over the age of 80 who live in rural settings. The study highlighted the importance of making extra efforts to engage older African American patients in seeking health care, and to reduce barriers that impede access to resources and clinical care in underserved areas.
Drug Take Back Day Success
Here’s more great work from the Department of Geriatrics and Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging Team, which partnered with the UAMS Police Department on the recent Drug Take Back Day. UAMS came in sixth among law enforcement agencies across the state, topping some sizable cities in the amount of unused and expired medications that were collected. In the Institute on Aging, the state- and federally supported Opioid Prevention for Aging and Longevity (OPAL) group led the effort. I join with Dr. Jeanne Wei in thanking Patricia Savary, Amanda Pangle, Naomi Armstrong, Dr. Regina Gibson and Dr. Gohar Azhar for their work on the initiative.
Dominant Force at Conference
Department of Ophthalmology and Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute trainees were a dominant force at the recent American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., with nine residents and others presenting 10 projects. Congratulations to the residents: Drs. Muhammad Shamim, Michalis Georgiou, Aric Clegg, Ahmed Shakarchi, Abdelrahman Elhusseiny, Zia Siddiqui, Heather Broyles, Sayena Jabbehdari and Philip Dockery; along with medical student Zain Chauhan; Reem ElSheikh; and Dr. Ahmed Sallam, Professor and Residency Program Director. Read more about the presentations here.
UAMS and Arkansas Children’s were well represented at national and international conferences this month, with the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology presenting at the American Society for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) meeting in Pittsburgh, and the Vascular Anomalies team presenting at the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies (ISSVA) in Vancouver, British Columbia. Also at the ASPHO conference, Professor Dr. Shelley Crary was elected Chair of the Research Working Group for Vascular Anomalies. She also sits on the Conference Planning Committee. Assistant Professor Dr. Joana Mack was appointed to the Training Committee and was voted Vice-Chair of the Education Working Group for Vascular Anomalies. Click here to learn more about the many presentations and UAMS contributors.
Caring for the Underserved
Kudos to graduating senior Taylor Winn and junior Manasa Veluvolu for their leadership and hard work this past semester on four pop-up clinics for underserved residents in Southwest Little Rock. Taylor and Manasa received a grant from the Pulaski County Medical Society (PCMS) for the clinics that were held at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church on Baseline Road. UAMS 12th Street Health and Wellness Center student volunteers, along with UAMS vaccination team members, provided health screenings, COVID vaccinations and medical care. This important work will continue next year thanks to a follow-up grant awarded by PCMS to Manasa. I join with Dr. Elizabeth Gath, 12th Street Medical Director, in thanking Manasa, Taylor and all of the volunteers for this initiative. Well done!
Transfusion & Trauma Teamwork
After a year of interdisciplinary planning, last week the UAMS Trauma Team began administering whole blood for patients with massive bleeding from severe trauma, rather than utilizing component blood products. The switch is driven by experience gained by the U.S. military. The Trauma Program has partnered with the UAMS Transfusion Services and the Oklahoma Blood Institute to bring this life-saving initiative to our trauma patients in Arkansas. Kudos to all.
Lung Cancer Milestone
In yet another example of interdisciplinary teamwork and clinical and technological advancement at UAMS, a patient was successfully diagnosed and received a robotically performed lung lobectomy while undergoing anesthesia a single time last week. The case highlights excellent work on part of our teams in Primary Care, Low-dose CT, Interventional Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery. I join with Dr. Ron Robertson, Professor and Chair of Surgery, in thanking all who contributed to this success story. This type of case management, along with advancements in our robotic surgery programs and the Lung Cancer screening bus scheduled to roll out across Arkansas this fall, are transforming lung cancer treatment for our state!
Dr. J.L. Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine, Physiology and Cell Biology and Pharmacology and Toxicology, and colleagues have published two recent papers. Internal Medicine resident Dr. Vignesh Chidambaram is first author and Cardiovascular Diseases fellow Dr. Dinesh Voruganti is a coauthor with Dr. Mehta on “Association of Lipid Levels with COVID-19 Infection, Disease Severity and Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” published in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine. Internal Medicine resident Dr. Tanya Sharma is first author with Dr. Mehta on “LOX-1: Implications in Atherosclerosis and Myocardial Ischemia,” published in EXCLI Journal.
Emergency Medicine Showcased at SAEM
The expertise and scholarly work of Emergency Medicine faculty and residents was showcased at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine – the largest and most prestigious academic conference in the field – in New Orleans last week. Click here for an overview of the contributions of faculty members Drs. Meredith Von Dohlen, Lauren Evans, Meryll Bouldin, Jason Arthur and Carly Eastin; second-year resident Dr. Ryan Waters, and, on the lighter side, the best costumes honor in the SonoGames ultrasound competition for first-year residents Drs. Paige Dailey, Anjali Patel, Jordan Takasugi and Jessica Shenoi. (Check out “The Big Squeezy” homage to New Orleans and a staple of ultrasound transmission!)