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!
Dr. Jeannette Lee, Professor of Biostatistics, has been appointed to serve on the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee as it reviews COVID-19 vaccines. She will bring exceptional expertise to the crucial work of ensuring the approval of safe and effective vaccines to prevent the spread of the deadly virus that has changed the world as we know it. This is the latest of many national roles for Dr. Lee. Earlier this year, she and Co-PI Dr. Jessica Snowden were awarded a $39 million grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health for the UAMS-based Data Coordinating and Operations Center, which oversees the 18-site Idea States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network. Dr. Lee also serves on the FDA Cellular Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee. We are grateful for your service nationally and here at UAMS!
Bringing the Fight
Many UAMS researchers and staff are bringing the fight to COVID-19, with 75 studies either active or in the pipeline. I join with Translational Research Institute Director Dr. Laura James in recognizing two particularly prolific COVID-19 clinical researchers:
Dr. Tina Ipe, Associate Professor of Pathology and Director of the Blood Bank and Transfusion Division, is leading the Arkansas Expanded Access to COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Treatment Program Trial. She also has two COVID-19 clinical trials pending as well as two retrospective chart review studies. Dr. Nikhil Meena, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit, is leading two active clinical trials for COVID-19 therapeutics. He also has two clinical trials pending, plus two prospective registry studies and one retrospective chart review study.
We are proud of the many investigators who are focused on this virus and contributing to a knowledge base that will save lives. Thank you all.
Maurice Rigsby, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Relations, is a fantastic advocate for UAMS here in Arkansas and beyond. As the newly nominated 2021 Chair-Elect of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Government Relations Representatives Steering Committee, his impact will be even broader. Mr. Rigsby will serve as Chair of the AAMC-GRR Steering Committee in 2022. Congratulations and thank you for your excellent service to UAMS, Arkansas and the nation’s academic medical centers.
Dr. Keshari Thakali, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and researcher in the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, is being honored by the Museum of Discovery as one of Arkansas’ top innovators in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). She will be recognized, along with STEM leaders such as Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson and former Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith, at the Spark! 2020 Luncheon on November 2 and during the organization’s virtual Gala on November 10. Read more about Dr. Thakali here. We are proud to have you as a colleague, Dr. Thakali!
Quality & Safety
Congratulations to the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation’s Dawn Brown, B.S.N., RN, on becoming the very first person to achieve national certification in Obstetric and Neonatal Quality and Safety. Ms. Brown serves as Clinical Director for POWER (Perinatal Outcomes Workgroup through Education & Research), an initiative of the IDHI High-Risk Pregnancy Program and labor and delivery facilities throughout Arkansas. The prestigious new credential from the National Certification Corporation (NCC) is earned by meeting stringent educational and/or practice requirements and taking a rigorous national examination in the specialty area.
Congratulations to Dr. Ariel Berlinski, Professor of Pediatrics, on receiving the 2020 Draeger-Shreyas Roy, M.D. Memorial Award from the American Respiratory Care Foundation. The award recognizes Dr. Berlinski’s paper “Albuterol Delivery Efficiency in a Pediatric Model of Noninvasive Ventilation with a Single-Limb Circuit” as the best paper, published during the previous year in the journal Respiratory Care, to address mechanical ventilation and its current technology as it relates to respiratory care. Dr. Berlinski is Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Care Center, Medical Director of the Respiratory Care Services Department, and Director of the Pediatric Aerosol Research Laboratory at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
This week, the American Medical Association and many others are celebrating International Medical Graduates Recognition Week. Our IMG faculty, residents and fellows bring broad expertise, selfless dedication to our profession and those we serve, and a wealth of new and unique perspectives to Team UAMS. Please join me in thanking our IMG colleagues for their many contributions to our mission and the UAMS community!
PA of the Month
The Department of Surgery,Division of Burn Surgery’s Ryland Walt Steele, PA-C, is the featured Physician Assistant of the Month on the Arkansas Academy of Physician Assistants (ARAPA) website – and for good reason. Ms. Steele has been doing incredible work caring for critically ill adult and pediatric patients in the Burn Unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital for the past two years. She is also a voting member of the Advanced Practice Provider Credentialing Committee at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Next month she will present at ImPAct 2020, the ARAPA CME Conference, discussing “Burn Care for the Primary Care and Emergency Medicine Provider.” Great job!
Above & Beyond
Finally this week, a shout-out to Child Neurology Resident Dr. Paul Drake for the compassionate care he provides patients and their families. A family recently reached out to express how well Dr. Drake explained a challenging condition and the path forward, and the difference he is making in the ongoing care of their loved one. Thank you for kindness and dedication to our young patients, Dr. Drake.