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!
New Endowed Chairs
Congratulations to the three leaders in pediatric health care, research and education who were invested in endowed chairs at Arkansas Children’s in a ceremony last week. It was an honor to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions with other Arkansas Children’s and UAMS leaders. The endowed chairs are well-earned honors for all three of these colleagues, who have been instrumental in programs and initiatives to ensure the very best health for young Arkansans.
Dr. Mario Ferruzzi was invested in the Arkansas Children’s Endowed Chair in Digestive Disease & Nutrition Research. Dr. Ferruzzi serves as Professor and Chief of the Developmental Nutrition Section in the Department of Pediatrics and Director of the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center.
Dr. Peter Mourani was invested in the Ross and Mary Whipple Family Distinguished Research Scientist Endowed Chair, established in honor of Professor Emeritus and former Pediatrics Chair Dr. Richard Jacobs. A Professor of Pediatrics, Dr. Mourani serves as President of the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and Senior Vice President and Chief Research Officer at Arkansas Children’s.
Dr. William Steinbach was invested in the Robert. H. Fiser Jr., M.D., Endowed Chair in Pediatrics, named for the late longtime department leader. Dr. Steinbach serves as Professor and Chair of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Child Health in our college. He is also Pediatrician-in-Chief at Arkansas Children’s.
Kudos, Mock Residency Interview Volunteers
Residency application interviews are on the horizon for our senior medical students, and they are better prepared thanks to 40 faculty volunteers from across many departments and specialties. Mock residency interviews are an important component of the residency prep course led by Dr. Karina Clemmons, Assistant Dean for Medical Education and Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics, and Dr. Nicholas Gowen, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine. Thanks to this year’s volunteer interviewers, every senior medical student had an opportunity to complete a virtual practice interview session and receive helpful feedback. It’s worth noting that the vast majority of volunteers also volunteered last year. Kudos to all of this year’s faculty volunteers, Dr. Clemmons and Dr. Gowen, and Academic Affairs team members Jessica Cannon and Tasha Lewis.
Neurosurgery Conference Presenters
The Department of Neurosurgery’s Dr. Hector Soriano-Baron, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Analiz Rodriguez, Associate Professor, shared their expertise in multiple sessions at the recent Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Dr. Soriano-Baron moderated a special symposium, the Meeting of the Americas, the first ever meeting within the CNS conducted in a language other than English. He also presented a lecture, “Novel surgical management for recurrent tethered cord in adults: the shortening surgery.” Dr. Rodriguez delivered four oral presentations on the topics of tissue presentation for advanced preclinical brain tumor models, mentorship in academia, using social media with a busy practice, and high-grade glioma and presurgical optimization.
AHA Guidelines Leadership
Dr. Steve Schexnayder, Professor and Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, has been named Senior Science Editor for the American Heart Association’s 2025 guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiac Care. The AHA guidelines undergo a major revision every five years and are used as the standard for best practices in over 100 countries around the world. Dr. Schexnayder will serve as an oversight editor and co-author for all pediatric and neonatal content, as well as chapters on ethics, evidence evaluation, education and the executive summary.
Best Poster and More at International Conference
A shout-out to the College of Medicine team members who participated in the annual conference of the International Cancer Imaging Society in London last week, including Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) Instructor and master’s degree candidate Tracy Nolan, who won the Best Poster competition. Tracy’s winning poster was titled “Sorting the imaging: Improved metadata indices of The Cancer Imaging Archive.” Another DBMI staff member and graduate student, Sonya Utecht, presented a poster with co-contributor Dr. Linda Larson-Prior, Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, as did Dr. Joshua Eichhorn, Assistant Professor of Radiology.
State Forensics Leadership
Dr. Ted Brown, Associate Professor of Pathology, will serve as the next Director of the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory (ASCL), alongside his current statewide role as Chief Medical Examiner for Arkansas, starting Oct. 23. At UAMS, Dr. Brown also serves as Medical Director for the Autopsy Service, as well as founding Program Director of the Forensic Pathology Fellowship, which received initial accreditation from the ACGME this year. Read more about Dr. Brown’s new ASCL role in this news release from the Arkansas Department of Public Safety.
Geriatric Student Scholar
Third-year medical student Melanie Beehler’s volunteer work with Caring Hands Hospice helped to foster a deeper passion for working with the aging population. As a 2023-2024 Scholar in the UAMS Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC) Geriatric Student Scholars Program, she will have even more opportunities to work with older adults and learn about the specialized care they need. In addition to her hectic schedule as a medical student, Melanie serves as Secretary of the UAMS Geriatric Interest Group and is completing the Honors in Research Program. Learn more about her and the Geriatric Student Scholars Program in the AGEC announcement. Congratulations, Melanie!
Honoring Champions of Diversity & Service
Congratulations to the UAMS team members who recently received Dr. Edith Irby Jones Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion awards and UAMS Serves awards. Individuals and organizations from across UAMS were honored after the State of Diversity Address presented by Dr. Brian Gittens, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which kicked off Diversity and Inclusion Month at UAMS.
The Edith Irby Jones awards honor students and employees who demonstrate commitment and leadership in fostering diversity and inclusion. The winners are: Student – Kennede McLeroy-Charles (College of Pharmacy); Staff – Cilia Zayas, MHA, MSF (Biomedical Informatics); Early Career Faculty – Dr. Rajinder “Sonia” Singh (Psychiatry); Mid/Senior Career Faculty – Dr. Diane Jarrett (Family and Preventive Medicine); and Lifetime Achievement – Rosalyn Perkins, MNSc, APRN (Institute for Digital Health and Innovation).
The UAMS Serves campaign encourages volunteerism and connects team members with opportunities to serve at UAMS and in the community. The winners and their area of volunteer service are: Gwendolyn Bradford (Stocked & Reddie Food Pantry); Jason Lewis (UAMS Volunteer Services Auxiliary); Ahad Nadeem (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit); the UAMS Care Management STRONG Committee; and the UAMS House of Delegates.