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
Hope for COVID Long-Haulers
A UAMS research team published an important new study in PLOS ONE that sheds light on a potential cause of “long COVID” – an antibody that attacks the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Dr. John Arthur, Professor and Chief of the Division of Nephrology, led the team, which was coordinated by the Translational Research Institute. The researchers tested hypotheses proposed by Dr. Terry Harville, Professor of Pathology and Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratories. The Department of Microbiology and Immunology’s Drs. Karl Boehme, Craig Forrest and Shana Owens developed the assay used in the project. Other contributors were Dr. Christian Herzog (Internal Medicine), Dr. Josh Kennedy (Pediatrics) and Dr. Juan Liu (Pathology). Read more in the UAMS Newsroom. Congratulations to all on this excellent and important research.
Medical Justice Fellowship
Congratulations to Dr. Ramona Rhodes, Associate Professor of Geriatrics, on being selected for the American Medical Association/Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine’s Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship. Dr. Rhodes, who also serves as Associate Director for Health Services Research in the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, will be in the inaugural cohort for the first-of-its kind postdoctoral fellowship. The aim is to enhance physicians’ advocacy leadership skills with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes and advancing health equity in the areas where the fellows serve – a commitment Dr. Rhodes has already demonstrated through national and local leadership roles.
Residents in General Surgery, Urology and Obstetrics and Gynecology will greatly benefit from the new multi-specialty robotic surgery curriculum that uniquely allows participants in the three surgical specialties to learn from one another. The curriculum got off to a great start with a two-day immersive experience in the UAMS Centers for Simulation Education. Kudos to the outstanding educational team led by robotics-trained faculty members Drs. Conan Mustain, Luann Racher, Theresa McCallie, Kimberly Jackman, Katy Marino and Tim Langford, and surgical simulation and education expert Dr. Karen Dickinson. Thanks also to Travis Hill, M.Ed., and the team in the Centers for Simulation Education for all of their hard work to plan and stage the technology-focused workshop. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
I am so proud of the quality of our residency and fellowship training programs and am always delighted to hear about the results of this excellence. This week I learned that 100% of the graduates in our Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Residency Program since 2009 have achieved board certification on their first attempt. Special thanks to Dr. Abby Nolder for her outstanding leadership as Program Director since 2016.
A shout-out as well to our third-year Cardiology fellows on passing the National Board of Echocardiography Exam and helping the program achieve a 100% pass rate for the fifth year in a row. Congratulations to fellows Drs. Danish Abbasi, Mahesh Bavineni, Shravan Turaga and Jack Xu, and kudos to Cardiovascular Fellowship Program Director Dr. Srikanth Vallurupalli and all of the faculty members who help to train fellows in this vital diagnostic procedure.
Insights into Methylene Blue
The Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine’s Dr. Renita Pushparajah Mak and Dr. Erica Liebelt recently published a continuing medical education (CME) review article, “Methylene Blue: An Antidote for Methemoglobinemia and Beyond,” in the journal Pediatric Emergency Care. The article discusses the medication best known as an antidotal treatment for acquired methemoglobinemia, a dangerous disorder in which the blood loses the ability to carry oxygen due to exposure to certain medications, chemicals or toxins. Dr. Pushparajah Mak recently joined Pediatrics as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Liebelt also joined the department this year as Professor and Medical and Research Director of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology as well as Associate Medical Director of the Arkansas Poison Drug and Information Center in the College of Pharmacy.
Kudos to Dr. Sara Peeples, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Director of the UAMS Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the entire NICU team for their dedication to safety, quality and excellent care. Most recently, the NICU team surpassed 100 days without a central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI). Great job!
Champions of Diversity & Service
Congratulations to the winners of the Dr. Edith Irby Jones Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Awards, including Lifetime Achievement honoree Dr. Sheldon Riklon. Dr. Riklon, an Associate Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus, provides compassionate and culturally appropriate care for members of the Marshallese community, as well as dedicated and effective advocacy.
Other UAMS team members receiving Diversity and Inclusion Awards at the annual State of Diversity and Inclusion Address were: Student – doctoral candidate Lorraine Stigar, M.P.H.; Staff – Renisha Ward, M.Ed.; Early Career Faculty – Dr. Clare Brown; Mid/Senior Career Faculty – Dr. Kalpana Padala; and Trainee – Dr. Michael Grassi. UAMS Serves Award recipients also were honored during the event for their outstanding volunteerism: Mariella Hernandez, M.P.S., Rose Farquhar, LSW, Stacy Hoyle, MHSA, and the UAMS Auxiliary. Many other COM and UAMS team members earned nominations for these awards. Congratulations to all.
Putting Patients First
An Internal Medicine Clinic patient who was recently diagnosed with cancer had one less thing to worry about thanks to social worker Rose Farquhar. The patient had financial difficulties and was unable to find transportation to his frequent appointments. Rose went out of her way on a Friday afternoon to coordinate a ride with her own money so the patient wouldn’t miss a crucial oncology appointment. Third-year resident Dr. Connor Rayburn wrote to tell me about this “awesome example of real servitude when it matters most.” This is far from the first time Rose has been noticed for her generous spirit. In April, she was UAMS MVP of the Month; in May she received the Helen May Compassionate Care Award; and, as noted in the accolade above, she just received the UAMS Serves Award. Thank you, Rose, for always putting patients first.