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!
The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA), a UAMS-housed public database funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and led by Biomedical Informatics Chair Dr. Fred Prior, was recognized recently as a prime example of a High-Value Data Asset (HVDA) for national research. The recognition stemmed from a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) working group that has been charged with building a framework to ensure the sustainability of HVDA across the NIH. The program manager for TCIA at the NCI relayed the good news to Dr. Prior, emphasizing that it reflected the excellent work and contributions of the UAMS team. Kudos to Dr. Prior and his colleagues on the TCIA: Drs. Jonathan Bona, Mathias Brochhausen and Lawrence Tarbox, Instructors Tracy Nolan, Kirk Smith and William Bennett, Project Manager Roosevelt Dobbins and the entire TCIA staff.
Congratulations to Dr. Matt Quick, Associate Professor of Pathology, on being selected for the highly competitive Association of Pathology Chairs Leadership Fellows Program. He is one of only 25 pathologists nationwide to be chosen for the new program, which cultivates leadership potential and opportunities by providing experiences and education to accelerate understanding and competency in academic administration skills. At UAMS, Dr. Quick serves as Vice-Chair for Anatomic Pathology, Co-Course Director for the Musculoskeletal and Reproduction & Endocrinology modules in the medical curriculum, and an Academic House Advisor. He has been approved for promotion to Professor on July 1.
Bench-to-Bedside research in infectious disease was the timely topic of a virtual workshop for undergraduates hosted by Arkansas INBRE (IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence). INBRE, which is directed by the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology’s Dr. Larry Cornett, sponsored the event for Arkansas college students who are interested in careers in medicine and biomedical research. Dr. Tom Kelly of the Department of Pathology did a great job organizing the workshop, and many faculty members lent their expertise to clinical case discussions, interactive sessions on infectious disease topics, and a panel discussion focused on aspects of COVID-19.
I join with Dr. Cornett and Dr. Kelly in thanking these colleagues: Drs. Juan Carlos Rico and Robert Bradsher in Internal Medicine; Dr. Amanda Novack (UAMS/Baptist Health); Drs. Karl Boehme, Roger Pechous, Jon Blevins and Mark Smeltzer in Microbiology and Immunology; Dr. Samantha Kendrick in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Dr. David Ussery in Biomedical Informatics; and Dr. Bobby Boyanton in Pathology.
UAMS completed its first ECMO course of treatment this week, helping a COVID-19 patient overcome a very dire situation. ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) life-support technology allows the heart and lungs of a patient to rest and heal over weeks or months. Implementing ECMO care at UAMS was a big team effort that took many months of hard work. I join with Department of Surgery Chair Dr. Ron Robertson and Cardiovascular Medicine Division Chief Dr. Paul Mounsey in expressing gratitude to all who made this initiative – and this remarkable patient success story – possible. Special thanks to Dr. Ben Davis, Carmen Eaken, RN, Allison Lord, MNSc, RN, CCRN, Shawn Welch, Dr. Julius Balogh and Dr. Jay Bhama.
Congratulations to rising junior medical student Sarah E. “Liza” Hill on the publication of her article in the American Journal of Surgery. Ms. Hill is the first author on “National Readmissions Database characterization of post-cholecystectomy care for inpatients: Readmissions and bile duct repair.” Co-authors included her primary mentor on the project, the Department of Surgery’s Dr. Lyle Burdine, along with Surgery faculty Drs. Hanna Jensen, Kevin Sexton, Kyle Kalkwarf and Emmanouil Giorgakis, and graduate assistant Rebecca Reif, M.H.A., and Dr. Saleema Karim of the College of Public Health. The study analyzed and compared readmission and other complications for patients who had either laparoscopic or open cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal).
A shout-out to Dr. Muhammad Athar, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, on his new article in the International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia. Dr. Athar is the first author on “An observational pilot study of a novel loss of resistance syringe for locating the epidural space.” He collaborated on the study with colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine while completing a fellowship in obstetric anesthesia prior to joining UAMS last year.
A colleague recently emailed me to express gratitude for Dr. Puru Thapa, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Faculty Wellness. The faculty member has referred several colleagues for help with various struggles, and was not surprised to learn that all were treated with exceptional compassion and respect. “Dr. Thapa is invariably a kind, thoughtful, reflective listener and always seems to help faculty put things into perspective,” she wrote. “Dr. Thapa is an institutional treasure, and we are so lucky to have him.” I couldn’t agree more!
For an overview of some of the wellness resources available to UAMS faculty, residents, students and employees, click here.
An Accolade for YOU
When I launched Accolades in the fall of 2018, I saw it as an opportunity to pass along some of the many great things I was hearing about College of Medicine team members every day. I also knew that sometimes a pat on the back for hard work well done is just what is needed to inspire us to get up the next day and do it all over again. I have been amazed at – and certainly inspired by – the stories, honors and accomplishments you have shared with me during my time as Dean.
Next week, we welcome your new Dean, Dr. Susan Smyth, to UAMS. I know she, too, will enjoy hearing and passing along good news about the College of Medicine family. So please do keep those accolades coming!
Thank you for your service to our college and those we serve. Thank you for your extraordinary collegiality. It really is what makes the College of Medicine and UAMS so special.