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!
Lifetime Achievement Award
Congratulations to Dr. Rodney Davis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology, on receiving the Headstream Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Arkansas Urologic Society. As many know, Dr. Davis is an internationally recognized expert in minimally invasive techniques to treat urologic malignancies. He has made innumerable contributions since his recruitment to UAMS from Vanderbilt University and Meharry Medical College in Nashville in 2012, both in Arkansas and nationally. A Malvern native, Dr. Davis has also earned many honors for his service in U.S. Army and Army Reserve, where he retired at the rank of Colonel.
Congratulations to Dr. Lee Ann MacMillan-Crow, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, on her new U.S. Patent. Dr. MacMillan-Crow devised new, efficient methods and compositions for detecting mitochondrial dysfunction, the malfunctioning of the structures that produce energy for a cell, often due to stress or disease. Her patent relates to certain reporter molecules (OMA1) that are especially useful for drug discovery and detection of diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. Way to go!
Blood Tests for Cancer
Dr. Donald Johann, Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Internal Medicine, had an integral role in an important new publication that establishes a set of generic analytical protocols and helps to define industry standards for the development of liquid biopsy tests – or blood tests – for detecting cancer. “Generic Protocols for the Analytical Validation of Next-Generation Sequencing-Based ctDNA Assays: A Joint Consensus Recommendation of the BloodPAC’s Analytical Variables Working Group” was published in Clinical Chemistry by the Blood Profiling Atlas in Cancer Consortium (BloodPAC). Dr. Johann has been a contributing member of the BloodPAC Analytical Variables Protocols Working Group since its establishment three years ago. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Dr. Ericka Olgaard, Assistant Professor of Pathology and CLIA Laboratory Medical Director, was invited to give a webinar for the College of American Pathologists 2020 Focus on Laboratory Compliance webinar series. Her webinar on the topic of “Competency Compliance: Strategies to Avoid the Top Deficiency” is being presented today. This latest national contribution dovetails nicely with Dr. Olgaard’s work as an appointed member on the College of American Pathologists Accreditation Education Committee. Thank you for your excellent work nationally and here at UAMS, Dr. Olgaard.
MEFFA Awards Support Medical Education
A wide range of educational projects are underway this academic year thanks to the longstanding support of the Arkansas Medical Society and the Medical Education Foundation for Arkansas (MEFFA). The foundation has provided grants to support College of Medicine educational initiatives for many decades. This year’s projects focus on crucial clinical skills including prenatal care and ear examination, culinary medicine, interview skills for colorectal/cancer screening, a telemedicine “buddy” program pairing medical students with isolated senior citizens, and the annual Teach-the-Teacher conference.
Congratulations to Drs. Shashank Kraleti (Family Medicine); Puru Thapa (Psychiatry); Gloria Richard-Davis (OB/GYN); Andre Wineland (Otolaryngology); Ronda Henry-Tillman (Surgery); Pebbles Fagan (College of Public Health); Priya Mendiratta (Geriatrics); Tobias Vancil (Internal Medicine); and Karina Clemmons (Medical Humanities/Bioethics). You can read about their projects in this summary.
100% Pass Rate
Congratulations to Drs. Jerry Johnston, Jed Kinnick, Patrick Page, and all of their fellow 2020 graduates of the Anesthesiology Residency Program on their 100% pass rate on the American Board of Anesthesiology Advanced Exam – and kudos to all who contributed to their success. Special thanks to Program Director Dr. Charles Napolitano, Anesthesiology Chair Dr. Jill Mhyre, and Drs. Shannon Dare, Faiza Khan, Riley Lide, Jill Ramsey and Matthew Spond.
A shout-out to the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology’s Dr. Sung Rhee and the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine’s Dr. Allison Shaw-Devine and Dr. Srikanth Vallurupalli – the team that helps second-year medical students get “from zero to 60” on ECG and arrhythmia in a matter of days. As the curriculum was winding down in August, Dr. Vallurupalli received a call from a Little Rock cardiac electrophysiologist who was highly impressed with the questions his son, an M2, was asking him about ECG and anti-arrhythmic drugs. The father thanked the educators for teaching the next generation of physicians – and potential cardiologists – in a thought-provoking, impactful manner.
Social Media & Medicine
Dr. Arpan Prabhu, a Radiation Oncology resident, was mentioned in an article published in Ophthalmology Times. Dr. Prabhu mentored Heba Mahjoub, a medical student at Johns Hopkins University, and collaborated with Dr. Shameema Sikder at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University, to study the information that patients seek regarding eye care on the popular social media site Reddit. Dr. Prabhu has published internationally on the digital presence of physicians and social media interactions among patients and physicians. Great job.
Above and Beyond
Third-year medical student Merit Jennings Turner was driving home after rounding with the General Internal Medicine team at the VA hospital recently when she came upon a major motor vehicle collision. Merit was the first person to stop and help. She immediately called 911 and tended to the collision victim, who was in and out of consciousness, while waiting for the EMS crew to arrive. Thank you for your selfless heroism, Merit. We are so proud of you!
The Gift of Creativity
Special thanks to Dr. Paulette Mehta, Professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and Dr. Jay Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, for their thoughtful and generous gift to establish an endowed annual creative writing award open to all UAMS students, staff and faculty. The Mehtas’ recognition of the value of having a creative outlet is especially timely during the current, stressful public health crisis. Submission information is available here, and you can read about what inspired the Mehtas to create the award in this Inside UAMS feature story.
Champions for Diversity & Inclusion
Finally this week, congratulations to the exceptionally deserving recipients of Dr. Edith Irby Jones Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Awards. These individuals have strived to make UAMS and the broader community more inclusive – and stronger – through diversity. They have led by example, shared stories that amplify the humanity and dignity of each person, and joined with other voices to speak out against inequality. We are all fortunate to work, learn and grow with these colleagues.
Lifetime Achievement | Billy Thomas, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Pediatrics
Honored for his leadership and many years of service as the first Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion and Director of the Center for Diversity Affairs (now the Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), for his steadfast dedication to students of all backgrounds, and his extensive support for diversity- and volunteer-focused student groups.
Leadership | Mildred Randolph, D.V.M., Director, Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (2007-2020)
Honored for her strong commitment to an inclusive culture and positive working environment, and for initiatives such as bringing the Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) program to UAMS.
Middle/Senior Career Faculty | Erick Messias, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., COM Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs
Honored for his excellence and dedication to raising awareness about racial and ethnic disparities, implicit and explicit bias, and the extraordinary legacy of Dr. Edith Irby-Jones, as well as for his efforts to expand monitoring and reporting of faculty diversity metrics.
Early Career Faculty | Leslie Stone, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor, Family and Preventive Medicine
Honored for his devotion to patients in underserved communities and educating the next generation of dedicated and diverse family physicians who will care for these patients across Arkansas, and for fostering diversity, equity and inclusion at UAMS through mentorship of students and other activities.
Trainee | Oluwatomi “Tomi” Adegboyega, M.D., resident, Pediatrics
Honored for his service to patients, Arkansas Children’s, UAMS and the community, and for his insightful leadership, in collaboration with fellow resident Dr. Michael Grassi, of a peaceful march to the state Capitol after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.
Staff | Sharanda Williams, M.A., COM Director of Academic Affairs
Honored for her broad service and volunteer activities at UAMS and in the community, including service as Chair of the UAMS House of Delegates and her mentorship of Project Search interns and younger employees.
Student | Arthur Shaw, College of Pharmacy
Honored for modeling the tenets of diversity, equity and inclusion and demonstrating caring and compassion in his many volunteer service activities and student leadership roles at UAMS and in the community.