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!
Reducing Maternal Mortality
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report with a staggering finding: Four in five pregnancy-related deaths in the United States are preventable. Arkansas data was included in the report for the first time this year, thanks to the state’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC), which is chaired by Dr. William “Sam” Greenfield, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Director for Family Health at the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Dr. Greenfield also led ADH’s successful application for MMRC funding under the CDC’s recently expanded Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality (ERASE MM) initiative. You can read about key findings of the new report in this CDC news release.
Arkansas’ participation in ERASE MM is a major milestone for our state. The Arkansas MMRC benefits from the expertise of numerous College of Medicine faculty and UAMS and Arkansas Children’s team members. In addition to Dr. Greenfield, they include Drs. Nirvana Manning, Nafisa Dajani and Gloria Richard-Davis in OB/GYN; Drs. Jill Mhyre and Nadir El Sharawi in Anesthesiology; Dr. Allison Shaw-Devine in Internal Medicine/Cardiology; Dr. Shona Ray-Griffith in Psychiatry; Dr. Ted Brown in Pathology; Joni Yarnell, APRN, in the Woman and Infants Service Line; and Tracey Bradley-Simmons, MSN, RN, with Arkansas Children’s.
Many thanks to Dr. Greenfield for his leadership and to the entire MMRC.
The Department of Radiology and the Arkansas Children’s Interventional Radiology (IR) team has been in the spotlight at the 10th International Meeting of the Society for Pediatric Interventional Radiology (SPIR) in Galway, Ireland, this week. Special congratulations to Dr. Charles James, Professor in the Division of Pediatric Radiology, who received the Gold Medal Award, SPIR’s top honor, last night. College of Medicine senior Mallory Heft and Assistant Professor Dr. Kevin Wong also presented during the conference. Click here to learn more about their presentations and Dr. James’ outstanding work with Pediatric Radiology colleagues Dr. Janice Murphy and Dr. Mary Moore to build the pediatric IR service.
African American Women & Menopause
Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis, Professor and Director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is an author on a new review article in the journal Menopause on the experiences of African American women in menopause. The article discusses how African American women experience distinct differences in physical, psychological, social and quality-of-life measures during this time. Increasing awareness of these differences is critically important for improving the health of this underserved population. Dr. Richard-Davis also was recently appointed as an Associate Editor for the journal.
National Leadership in Bone Research
Dr. Charles O’Brien, Professor of Internal Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of the UAMS Center for Musculoskeletal Disease Research, was an invited plenary session speaker for the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Austin, Texas, earlier this month. He discussed his latest groundbreaking research on the topic of “humanized RANKL mice to study rebound resorption.” Following that, Dr. O’Brien served as Vice Chair for the Bone and Teeth Gordon Research Conference on Metabolism and Local Environments in Development, Disease and Regeneration of the Skeleton, in Ventura California, last week. Both of these national activities are a reflection of Dr. O’Brien’s leadership in the field of bone and mineral metabolism.
Transgender Care Symposium
Congratulations to senior medical students Sawyer Hickey, Matty Cato and Carter Pacheco for their excellent presentations at the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Scientific Symposium in Montreal Canada. The students, led by Dr. Luann Racher, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Director of the Women and Infants Health Service Line, presented four presentations on various topics related to transgender health care.
Dr. Tudor Moldoveanu, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is the senior author on an article published this month in iScience. The research for “Small molecule SJ572946 activates BAK to initiate apoptosis” was conducted in Dr. Moldoveanu’s lab at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis prior to his recruitment to UAMS this summer. Collaborators included investigators from the St. Jude Chemical Biology and Therapeutics Department and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The medical condition of a single individual can have historical repercussions, as Dr. T. Glenn Pait and Dr. Matthew Helton reveal in an article recently published in a military history-centered volume of Neurosurgical Focus from the Journal of Neurosurgery. Dr. Pait, Professor of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of the Jackson T. Stephens Spine Institute, and Dr. Helton, a sixth-year Neurosurgery resident interested in brain trauma, tell the story of “The crippled brain that prolonged the Civil War: General Joseph Hooker’s concussions at Chancellorsville.” Appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to command the Army of the Potomac in 1863, Gen. Hooker suffered a traumatic brain injury that prevented him from giving crucial orders. Dr. Pait’s considerable knowledge of history and mentoring of Dr. Helton has resulted in a very interesting article!
FDA Fellows Workshop
Congratulations to Dr. Arpan Prabhu, Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology, on being selected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to participate in the 2022 FDA/American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Fellows Day Workshop. Dr. Prabhu will be at the FDA’s White Oak campus in Silver Spring, Maryland, tomorrow to meet with FDA hematologists/oncologists and learn about oncology drug regulation, disease-specific considerations, clinical trial design and diagnostic developments.
Pediatric Dentistry Expertise
Pediatric and Special Needs Dentistry faculty members are active in dental continuing education across the state, sharing their expertise in cleft lip and palate, dental reconstruction and other topics related to complex dental care. Assistant Professor Dr. Laurence Howe presented to the River Valley Dental Association in Fort Smith on Sept. 13, providing information about the Cleft Lip and Palate and Craniomaxillofacial interdisciplinary teams at Arkansas Children’s. Dr. Howe and Associate Professor Dr. John Jones co-presented a talk on collaborative dental reconstruction during the Fall Scientific Session of the Arkansas State Dental Association on Sept. 24. Dr. Jones presented an additional talk on mouth breathing in children during the state conference.
Assessing Mechanical Ventilation Training
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine colleagues Drs. Matt Malone, Erin Bennett, Katherine Irby, Sanjiv Pasala, Abdallah Dalabih and Ron Sanders, along with Arkansas Children’s Research Institute biostatistician Beverly Spray, authored a new paper in the Journal of Pediatric Intensive Care that assesses the current landscape of mechanical ventilation (MV) practices and training in pediatric critical care medicine (PCCM) fellowship programs. Mechanical ventilation is an integral part of the care of many critically ill children, but the study identified gaps in MV education and training across the country. The research team advocates for PCCM fellowship programs to identify these deficiencies to equip all trainees with a solid knowledge base that will prepare them to use any mode of MV in their future practice.
Dr. J.D. Day, Professor and Chair of Neurosurgery, faculty colleagues and former trainees are authors of a recently published article discussing a treatment for basilar invagination (BI), a congenital or acquired condition in which the top of the spine pushes at the base of the skull, causing neurological deficits. “Basilar decompression via a far lateral transcondylar approach: technical note” was published in Acta Neurochirurgica (European Journal of Neurosurgery). Faculty coauthors include Drs. Analiz Rodriguez, Noojan Kazemi and T. Glenn Pait. Former Neurosurgery residents, fellows and faculty on the project included Drs. Robert Rennert (first author), Marcus Stephens, Angela Palmer and Thomas Morris.
Dr. Larry Hartzell, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, recently returned from a trip with the Global Smile Foundation in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The foundation has provided care for patients with cleft lip and palate in this city for over three decades, and Dr. Hartzell has been involved for more than six years. During the recent trip, the team provided 132 surgeries on 68 patients, predominantly cleft lip and palate repairs. The team’s comprehensive care includes speech therapy sessions, dental procedures, orthodontic care, nutritional counseling and psycho-social support.
Champions of Diversity & Inclusion
And finally this week, please join me in congratulating the recipients of the 2022 Dr. Edith Irby Jones Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Awards. This year’s Lifetime Achievement honoree is Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Breast Surgical Oncology. Dr. Henry-Tillman has strived to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity, particularly in relation to cancer care, for Arkansans over the past 24 years. Kimberlyn Blann, M.A., Associate Director of Admissions and Outreach Programs in the College of Medicine, received the Staff Award for her dedication to advancing diversity in multiple roles at UAMS. Read what the nominators said about these champions of diversity in this COM newsletter feature.
I would also like to give a shout-out to the COM students and faculty who were nominated for awards in several other categories. They include medical students Carlon “Quincy” Gragg and Kayla Jimmerson and graduate student Luke Childress; Aravindhan Veerapandiyan, M.D., Assistant Professor in Pediatric Neurology (Early Career Faculty); and Thomas Kelly, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology (Leadership).