June 29, 2020

Accolades and Recognitions

We LOVE seeing #TeamUAMS members getting well-deserved recognition!

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!


COVID & Homelessness
As challenging as life during the COVID-19 pandemic may seem to most of us, imagine what it is like for those who are homeless. A multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Kristie Hadden, Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Interim Director of the UAMS Health Office of Population Health, has published a case study in the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst on their work to address homelessness and COVID-19 patient discharge.


Dr. Hadden’s team developed and implemented a screening tool to determine the ability of homeless individuals who were being tested for the coronavirus or who had tested positive to self-quarantine, and to refer them to appropriate facilities when needed. Contributors to the Office of Population Health initiative included Administrative Fellow Dia Partlow, M.H.A.; the College of Pharmacy’s Dr. Nalin Payakachat; the Department of Internal Medicine’s Dr. Hazel Liverett and Dr. Riley Lipschitz; and the Department of Neurology’s Dr. Bhawna Jha. Thank you for this very important, collaborative work.


ENT Excellence
The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recently learned that its residents scored among the top three or four ENT programs in the nation on the in-service examination this year. With over 100 ENT residency programs across the country, this is a remarkable achievement. Congratulations to Drs. Zachary Anderson, Terrell Bibb, Mary Catherine Brown, Erin Creighton, Olivia Daigle, Quinn Dunlap, Victoria Gau, Blake Hollowoa, Anvesh Kompelli, Tyler Merrill, Sriram Navuluri, Cody Page, Shep Russell, Mariah Small and Don Vickers. I also want to thank Dr. Abby Nolder, Residency Program Director, Otolaryngology Chair Dr. John Dornhoffer, and all of the dedicated faculty and staff who helped make this possible.


Silver & Gold
Congratulations to the teams at the UAMS North Street Clinic in Fayetteville and the UAMS 12th Street Health and Wellness Center in Little Rock on their respective recognitions from the National Association of Free and Charitable (NAFC) Clinics. Both were recognized for meeting high quality standards in their work to ensure access to affordable health care for the medically underserved, with North Street achieving a Gold Rating for 2020 and 12th Street receiving a Silver Rating. Kudos to North Street Co-Directors Dr. Thomas Schulz and Maryalice Kelly, M.S.N., APRN; and to 12th Street Director Dr. Melissa Clark, Assistant Director Dr. Erin Puryear, and Medical Director Dr. Elizabeth Gath, along with all of the faculty and staff who worked so hard to achieve NAFC ratings.


National Recognition
Bravo to Dr. Laura Hobart-Porter and her team in the Spinal Cord Disorders Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which has been designated as a Spina Bifida Association (SBA) Care Partner. ACH is one of only 31 facilities in the nation to earn the designation for meeting the best practice standards established by the SBA. Dr. Hobart-Porter, Assistant Professor in the Division of Developmental Pediatrics and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, is the Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Disorders Program. This achievement would not have been possible without the hard work from her spinal cord nurses, Becky Bregy and Allison Curtis. Dr. Eylem Ocal of the Department of Neurosurgery has been instrumental in advancing research within the program, which is clinically supported by dedicated staff from Rehab, Neurosurgery, Urology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neurology, Therapy (PT and OT), Nutrition, Neuropsychology, and Social Work.


National Leadership
Ashley Sanders, Manager of Operations for the Department of Pathology, has been elected by her national peers as Chair-Elect of the Association of Pathology Chairs’ Graduate Medical Education Administrators Section (GMEAS). She will serve a total of six years in the leadership of the organization, which supports the development and enhancement of GME programs in pathology and promotes the professional and educational development of GMEAS members. Thanks to Ashley for her excellent work at UAMS and her increasing national contributions!


Certified Faculty Developer
Dr. Stanley Ellis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Education for the Institute for Digital Health and Innovation, recently became the first person in Arkansas to receive the Certified Faculty Developer (CFD) credential from the Learning Resources Network (LERN). As a Certified Faculty Developer, Dr. Ellis is equipped with the most current and comprehensive techniques to develop faculty in institutions of higher education. LERN is the world’s largest association in continuing education and lifelong learning. Congratulations Dr. Ellis!


Career Development Award
Congratulations to Dr. Graham Strub, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, on winning the 2020 Research Career Development Award from the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology. Dr. Strub will receive a $40,000 grant for his research proposal, “Identification of microRNA networks driving vascular malformation growth.” He will also be honored in the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s monthly magazine, Bulletin, and on the AAO-HNS website.


In the Spotlight
A shout-out to our colleagues in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology for their superb scholarly work. In February, Division Director Dr. Jon Oden and his team hosted a very successful meeting of pediatric endocrinologists from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas (PESTOLA). Meanwhile, the group has had several abstracts accepted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pediatric Endocrine Society (PES), PESTOLA and the American Diabetes Association, which also highlighted the program in a video circulated during its recent virtual conference. Congratulations also to Dr. Manish Raisingani, who was appointed to the PES Communications Committee and accepted into the Sigma Xi scientific research honor society.


Eat Late, Gain Weight
Dr. Elisabet Borsheim, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Physical Activity and Energy Metabolism Lab and the Physical Activity Core in the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC), Dr. Robert Wolfe, Professor of Geriatrics, and ACNC Research Associate Matt Cotter helped researchers at Johns Hopkins University reveal the mechanisms that may cause adults who routinely eat late-evening dinners to gain more weight.


The team published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, and the research was highlighted in a news release by the Endocrine Society. A key takeaway was that eating a late dinner (around 10:00 PM) substantially increases post-meal blood sugar as compared to eating earlier (6:00 PM), while also reducing cumulative fatty acid oxidation. Great work!


MFM Fellow & Scholar
I recently learned about the prolific scholarly work of Dr. Julie Whittington, who in her three years as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology published 12 peer-reviewed papers (with an additional three accepted for publication and 11 manuscripts under review), wrote six book chapters, and currently has 15 research projects underway. Her mentor, Professor and MFM Fellowship Director Dr. Everett “Pat” Magann, said that is unprecedented among all of the residents and fellows he has known in his 36 years in civilian and military academic medicine. We congratulate Dr. Whittington and wish her all the best as she becomes a MFM specialist and Assistant Director of the OB/GYN Residency Program at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia.


Disillusioned by COVID-19?
Dr. Erick Messias, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Psychiatry, wrote an essay about the phases of personal and societal response to a disaster – such as the COVID-19 pandemic – for the blog, The Doctor Weighs In. His article is being highlighted and gaining a broader audience on the hosting platform, Medium. In “The Phases of a Disaster: Are We Headed Towards Disillusionment?


Dr. Messias traces the pandemic through phases described in a model by Zunin and Myers. He suggests we may have already passed through phases defined as Pre-Disaster, Impact, Heroic and Honeymoon, and that we may have transitioned to a fifth phase, Disillusionment, due to discouragement, stress and exhaustion from the ongoing crisis. Dr. Messias urges health care professionals to consider this progression and remain vigilant in providing support, taking care of oneself, and being prepared for the next phase: Reconstruction.


Do you know someone – faculty, staff, student, resident or fellow – who deserves accolades? Send me your idea, courtesy of COMInternalCommunications@uams.edu.


Christopher T. Westfall, M.D., FACS

Executive Vice Chancellor, UAMS

Dean, College of Medicine

Arkansas Medical Society Distinguished Dean’s Chair