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!
Study Published in NEJM
Congratulations to Dr. Jeannette Lee, Professor of Biostatistics, and colleagues on the publication of results of the groundbreaking ANCHOR study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Lee was the lead statistician and the Department of Biostatistics was the statistical center for the multi-center phase 3 clinical trial focusing on anal cancer prevention in persons with HIV. The study, led by Dr. Joel Palefsky at the University of California San Francisco, showed that treatment of precancerous lesions reduced the progression to anal cancer. The success rate of the therapy was so high that the trial was halted early. Read more about the study in this June 15 news release from the National Cancer Institute and about Dr. Lee and her team’s role in this UAMS story from last November.
Improving Access to Hearing Care
A landmark study led by Dr. Susan Emmett, Associate Professor, and Dr. Samantha Kleindienst Robler, Assistant Professor, of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, shows the power of telemedicine for increasing access to hearing care for rural children. The study was published June 15 in The Lancet Global Health. Dr. Emmett and Dr. Robler are Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the new UAMS Center for Hearing Health Equity. The randomized controlled trial was conducted in 15 rural Alaskan communities with funding support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). As Dr. Emmett explains in this UAMS news story, the study has important implications for addressing disparities relating to hearing and other preventable health conditions in rural states such as Arkansas. Excellent work!
Preparing Seniors for Residency
A shout-out to Dr. Karina Clemmons, Assistant Dean for Medical Education, for her innovative work to enhance the Residency Preparation course for seniors. Dr. Clemmons, an Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics, developed the course improvements as a participant in the prestigious Harvard Macy Institute for Educators in Health Professions this past year. One of the creative additions to the revamped course is a series of podcasts with faculty and residents discussing topics such as how to prepare for residency interviews, evidence-based education, and communication and leadership skills. The course, co-directed by Dr. Nicholas Gowen, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, continues to feature mock residency interviews and clinical skills simulations to help graduating seniors transition to residency.
Spina Bifida Advocacy
The Spinal Cord Disorders Multidisciplinary Team is doing excellent work in Arkansas, nationally and internationally on behalf of patients with Spina Bifida. Dr. Eylem Öcal, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, attended the recent 75th World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) and side events in Geneva, Switzerland, as a member of the Global Alliance for Prevention of Spina Bifida. After the conference, she met with Turkey’s Deputy Minister of Health to discuss the importance of prenatal care and folic acid fortification in staple foods to prevent Spina Bifida and other birth defects. Meanwhile, team coordinators Becky Watkins-Bregy, RN, and Allison Curtis, RN, attended the Spina Bifida Association Clinical Care Meeting in Boston and accepted recognition of Arkansas Children’s as an official clinical partner. They represented ACH and the team’s Medical Director, Dr. Laura Hobart-Porter, Associate Professor of Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, who was unable to attend. Kudos to all for their outstanding work.
Academic Senate Service
Congratulations to the College of Medicine faculty who have been elected to the UAMS Academic Senate, and kudos to those who are continuing or have just completed terms. Dr. Tiffany Huitt, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, has been re-elected to the leadership and will serve as President-Elect starting July 1. She is currently serving as Past-President in the three-year leadership cycle and is also a past representative of the College of Health Professions. Dr. Brad Martin of the College of Pharmacy will serve as President starting July 1.The new College of Medicine representatives to the Academic Senate are Dr. Steve Cherney, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Ronald Sanders Jr., Professor of Pediatrics/Critical Care, and Dr. Ben Stronach, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, who will serve two-year terms.
Dr. Priya Mendiratta, Professor of Geriatrics, will serve as Past-President in 2022-2023. A two-term COM representative, she stepped in to serve as President a year early and worked closely with former Dean Dr. Chris Westfall on a number of issues during the pandemic. Dr. David Ussery, Professor of Biomedical Informatics, will continue to serve as a Member-at-Large for the upcoming year. Dr. Richard Turnage, Professor of Surgery and Vice Chancellor for Regional Programs, completed his term as a COM representative.
Mediating Bone Loss
Dr. Stavros Manolagas, Distinguished Professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and colleagues in the Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases and the departments of Internal Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Informatics collaborated on a newly published study in Scientific Reports. Former postdoctoral fellow Dr. Filipa Ponte was first author and Dr. Manolagas served as senior author on “Mmp13 deletion in mesenchymal cells increases bone mass and may attenuate the cortical bone loss caused by estrogen deficiency.” Other contributors were Drs. Ha-Neui Kim, Srividhya Iyer, Li Han, Erin Mannen, Horacio Gomez-Acevedo, Intawat Nookaew and Maria Almeida, and Aaron Warren.
The Department of Biostatistics and the Central Arkansas Chapter of the American Statistical Association (ASA) were highlighted in the ASA’s Summer 2022 Chapter Chatter newsletter for their participation in the Central Arkansas Regional Science and Engineering Fair this spring. Dr. Ruofei Du, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, organized the activity and penned the article for the newsletter. The Central Arkansas Chapter sponsored awards for exceptional application of statistical and data science techniques for analyzing, tabulating and/or visualizing data. Kudos to the Biostatistics team and the many faculty members across the college and UAMS who take the time to engage young Arkansans in research and STEM activities!
Red Sash & Gold Sash Honorees
Finally this week, congratulations to this year’s Red Sash and Gold Sash recipients. Red Sash honorees were recognized by members of the Class of 2022 for outstanding teaching during their four years of medical school. Gold Sash recipients received the highest number of votes by members of all four classes for their excellent teaching. Throughout my first year at UAMS, I have been amazed by the dedication of our faculty to our educational mission. It is an honor to serve alongside such skilled and passionate educators.