AHSC Saw Advances, Milestones During Past Year
During the past year, the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC), which includes the UA Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy; the Mel and Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health; University Medical Center; and The University Physicians, saw major advances in research and patient care, as well as many honors, awards and other milestones. A few of the many AHSC highlights during 2003 (in chronological order) include:
Dr. Tamsen Bassford Named Head of UA Department of Family and Community Medicine
Award-winning family physician and noted women's health researcher Tamsen "Tammie" Bassford, MD, was appointed head of the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine. The first woman department head at the College of Medicine, Dr. Bassford had served as Interim Head of the Department since April 2002. An Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Bassford served as Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the College of Medicine from 2000-2002. She is the Principal Investigator for the Arizona site of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a landmark study testing interventions to reduce coronary heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer, and osteoporotic-fractures among postmenopausal women. She has been active in cancer prevention education, developing a cancer prevention education curriculum for medical students, with support from the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Harvey Meislin Appointed Head of UA Department of Emergency Medicine
Harvey W. Meislin, MD, FACEP, an internationally noted expert in emergency medicine and a longtime faculty member at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, was selected in January to head the UA Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Meislin was selected following a national search for the position. Founder and director of the UA's Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center and a professor of emergency medicine, Dr. Meislin played a pivotal role in creating the Department of Emergency Medicine at the College of Medicine in 2001, serving as Interim Head since that time. Dr. Meislin came to the College of Medicine from UCLA in 1980 to found the Section of Emergency Medicine in the UA Department of Surgery. In 1990, he helped found the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center, a Center of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine.
AHSC Experts Help Women Sort New Information on Hormone Therapy
Women uncertain whether they should continue on hormone replacement therapy - after concerns about risks were raised in the Women's Health Inititative - learned of the very latest findings and recommendations during a Jan. 28 public forum featuring a panel of experts at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC). The previous July, the WHI arm of combined estrogen plus progestin was halted early because of a small, but unacceptable, increase in the rate of breast cancer among participants. Slight increases in heart disease, stroke and pulmonary embolism also were found in study participants on combined estrogen plus progestin, compared to women taking a placebo pill. The WHI parallel trial of estrogen alone in women who have had a hysterectomy is continuing.
UA Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics Awarded $3.9 Million
The UA Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics (AzCERT) was awarded $3.9 million over five years by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to continue its efforts to promote the safe and effective use of medications. AzCERT is part of a national network of seven centers - all based at academic health sciences centers - that are independent, federally funded programs to improve therapeutic outcomes and reduce adverse events caused by medications. AzCERT focuses on preventing harm from drug interactions, especially those affecting women. This is accomplished through basic research, clinical research and a broad range of educational programs to educate physicians, nurses, pharmacists and the public about optimal use of medications.
Pediatrician Dr. Andy Theodorou Named UMC Chief of Staff
Pediatric intensivist Andreas "Andy" Theodorou, MD, was elected to a two-year term as Chief of Staff at University Medical Center. The appointment took effect Jan. 1. Elected by the hospital's medical staff, Dr. Theodorou is the chief administrative officer for the more than 600 physicians who practice at UMC. He also serves as chairman of the hospital's Medical Executive Committee while continuing to care for patients as medical director of the UMC Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Theodorou joined the UA College of Medicine as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics in 1992 and today serves there as associate professor of clinical pediatrics. Dr. Theodorou has been medical director of UMC's pediatric ICU since 1998 and he held the same position with Tucson Medical Center from 1997 until 2002. He also serves on the Governor's Advisory Council on Spinal and Head Injuries.
New Surgeon Joins Trauma Team, Named Director of Surgical Critical Care
In February, Rifat Latifi, MD, joined the University of Arizona Department of Surgery as associate professor of clinical surgery, Section of Trauma and Critical Care, and director of University Medical Center Surgical Critical Care. In addition to his trauma and general surgery responsibilities, Dr. Latifi collaborates with the Arizona Telemedicine Program to create a telemedicine trauma and surgery program, enabling surgeons from UMC to assist physicians in emergency and operating rooms in rural areas in Arizona using telemedicine technology. Dr. Latifi came to the UA from Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College of Virginia. Dr. Latifi specializes in trauma, general surgery and critical care with special interest in reoperative surgery, advanced laparoscopic surgery, and nutrition support of surgery and critically ill patients.
College of Public Health Receives $6 Million Grant to Eliminate Health Disparities Among American Indians and Hispanics
The Mel and Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health received a $6 million grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, to establish the Arizona EXPORT* Center, which will focus on reducing health disparities among American Indians and Hispanics in two areas: diabetes and substance abuse. This is one of the largest grants ever received by the College and the UA that addresses minority health disparities. The Arizona EXPORT (Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities and Training) will bring together community representatives and public health professionals from the Arizona College of Public Health, the Mexican American Studies and Research Center, the Native American Research and Training Center and the UA Graduate College.
Dr. Ken Hatch to Head Society of Gynecologic Oncologists
Kenneth D. Hatch, MD, head of the University of Arizona Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was elected president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO), a prestigious national professional association of physicians specializing in gynecologic oncology. His yearlong term began in March. Dr. Hatch is professor and chair of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UA College of Medicine. He completed his residency and fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of Alabama in 1978. He served as Division Director of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Alabama 1986-1989, and at the UA from 1989-1995. He was appointed chair of the UA's OB-GYN department in 1995.
Arizona Respiratory Center Plans for the Southwest Ventilation Program To Improve the Lives of People with Complex Respiratory Needs
The University of Arizona's internationally known Arizona Respiratory Center announced it will create the Southwest Ventilation Program to improve the lives of people with complex respiratory needs through research, education, and family-centered care using state-of-the-art technology and support services. Customized care and comprehensive treatment will be provided by a medical team including specially trained adult and pediatric physicians and nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, physical therapists and nutritionists. The Southwest Ventilation Program also will serve as a regional resource for medical professionals through consultation, training, research advances, and telemedicine services.
Integrative Medicine Fellows from Past and Present Meet in Tucson, April 4-6
Since its beginning, a primary goal of the UA Program in Integrative Medicine is to prepare leaders for the rapidly evolving field of integrative medicine. The Graduate Retreat captured where the Fellows are, what they are doing and provided an opportunity to examine the group's accomplishments as a whole and their influence on the field of medicine. Directed by internationally noted integrative medicine pioneer Andrew Weil, MD, the UA Program in Integrative Medicine was established in 1994. PIM's first continuing education offering was introduced in January 1995. In October of the following year, a medical director was hired, a curriculum was modeled, a faculty was built, a clinic was created and the first class of residential Fellows was selected. The residential Fellowship, the first of its kind in the nation, began in July 1997. In January, the sixth class of fellows began their Integrative Medicine fellowship.
Valley Fever Center of Excellence Now Part of Arizona Health Sciences Center
The Valley Fever Center of Excellence became part of the Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC), where it now is a Center of Excellence at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Previously part of the UA's Arizona Research Laboratories, the Valley Fever Center's five-year review recommended the move to the College of Medicine. The recommendation was accepted by the UA Provost and approved by the Council of Department Heads. Founded in 1996, the Valley Fever Center of Excellence (VFCE) is sponsored jointly by the UA and the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System. The Center mobilizes resources for the eradication of Valley Fever through the development of public awareness and education; promotion of high-quality care for patients; and research into all aspects of the disease.
Bioterrorism Update for Nurses
A seminar, "Bioterrorism Update for Nurses: Smallpox Vaccination Program," took place in March at the UA College of Nursing. Elizabeth MacNeill, MD, chief medical officer for the Pima County Health Department, was the featured speaker. (In October, the two organizations co-presented, "Nurses and Bioterrorism: Serving Our Community - What will Your Role Be?" Response was so great that quarterly updates were planned.) As the largest group of health care professionals in Pima County, registered nurses play a significant role in planning and caring for our citizens in the event of disaster or bioterrorism.
UA's Arizona Respiratory Center Receives $2.96 Million Grant
To Study Immunologic Pathways to Childhood Asthma
To better understand the immunologic pathways that appear to protect against asthma, the National Institute of Allergy, Immunolgy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) awarded the Arizona Respiratory Center a $2.96 million grant for a five-year study of immune system development in early childhood. This research will continue the successful Infant Immune Study at the Arizona Respiratory Center, which focused on the relationship between a pregnant woman's allergy profile, her infant's immune characteristics, and the infant's later risk of developing asthma. The study will involve 500 participants, enrolling women in their third trimester of pregnancy, and following their children's immune development from birth to age 8. Data will be collected throughout the study on a variety of independent variables, including pets in the home, household smoking, and demographic characteristics. In addition, the study will assess genes that may influence immune system outcomes.
The University Physicians Opens Wilmot Clinics
The University Physicians opened a 20,000-square-foot medical facility on Tucson's east side to allow expansion of several key patient care programs and to enhance service to patients. Formerly a CIGNA-operated clinic, The University Physicians Wilmot Clinics, 535 N. Wilmot Ave., provides much-needed space to relocate the clinics of the UA Section of Rheumatology (including its cutting-edge biologic treatment center utilizing the latest therapies for rheumatoid arthritis and related disorders), the UA Section of Infectious Disease (including its Valley Fever Clinic and HIV Clinic) the UA Gerontology Program, and the UA Traveler's Clinic. During the project's second phase, the clinics of the UA Section of Dermatology (along with Dermatopathology), and the UA Department of Orthopaedic Surgery's Hand and Upper Extremity Service moved to the new facility.
UMC Chief Operating Officer John Duval Accepts CEO Post at Virginia Commonwealth
John Duval, Chief Operating Officer at University Medical Center, accepted a position as Chief Executive Officer at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Medical College of Virginia Hospitals. He began his new duties June 1. Mr. Duval joined UMC in 1987 when he became the hospital's associate hospital director. Prior to that he was assistant director of University Hospital at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Rural Health Professions Program Encourages Students to Practice in Rural Areas
A select group of physicians in rural communities throughout Arizona spent part of the summer volunteering to mentor University of Arizona medical students at their practice sites. The physicians serve as rural faculty members in the UA College of Medicine's Rural Health Professions Program (RHPP). Established in 1997 by the Arizona Legislature, the RHPP encourages medical school graduates to practice medicine in rural communities. The rural physicians serve as preceptors, or mentors, to UA medical students between the first and second years of medical school. The students spend four to six weeks in June and July working with the physicians at their practice sites and residing in the community. The students are matched with rural physician preceptors based on medical specialty interest and community preference. Students continue to work with their preceptors over the course of their three years of medical training, returning to the rural communities in their third year as part of one of the required clinical courses or as an elective course, and again in the fourth year as an elective course.
UPI Pain Institute Offers Outpatient Laser Surgery on Herniated Discs
A minimally invasive procedure combining the latest endoscopy and laser technology is bringing relief to The University Physicians Pain Institute patients suffering from painful herniated discs. Pain specialists Richard Weaver, DO, and Kutabai Tabbaa, MD, of the Anesthesiology Department of the UA College of Medicine, say the LASE endoscopic discetomy is a good choice for patients with contained herniated discs in the back or neck who want to avoid full-blown back surgery. The entire LASE operation is performed through a needle placed into the disc and requires an incision less than 1/4 inch long. The patient usually is sedated but does not undergo general anesthesia. A miniature fiberoptic videoscope and laser fiber is inserted into the disc. The videoscope allows the physician to see the bulging nucleus tissue and vaporize it with the laser. By removing some of the nucleus from the discs, the pressure on the nerve root is reduced or eliminated. The outpatient procedure is performed in the UMC Ambulatory Surgery Center and most patients are able to return home within a couple of hours of surgery with only a Band-Aid over their incision.
UA College of Medicine Pioneer Dr. Leonard Peltier Dies
Leonard Francis Peltier, MD, PhD, who founded the University of Arizona College of Medicine Section (now Department) of Orthopaedic Surgery and spearheaded creation of Tucson's Joint Trauma Program, died May 4 at Rochester Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minn. He was 83. Dr. Peltier, who joined the UA in 1971, also twice served as acting head of the UA Department of Surgery (in 1976 and from 1986-90) prior to his retirement in 1990. Onetime national president of the American Association of Surgery of Trauma, Dr. Peltier worked to improve trauma care in Tucson and served on the local committee that formed Tucson's Joint Trauma Program at UMC and TMC. Dr. Peltier also served as vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons. His research in fat embolism and in bone strengthening gained widespread recognition.
Surgeon Studies Effects of Prayer on Healing
Allan J. Hamilton, MD, chairman of the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, is leading a clinical study examining the effects of prayer on patients recovering from cardiac bypass surgery. He and other researchers will try to determine whether these non-invasive, alternative techniques can actually reduce complications, decrease stress and pain, and facilitate wound healing after surgery. The research is part of a $1.3 million grant awarded to the University of Arizona for a Center for Frontier Medicine in Biofield Science by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
UMC Named Elite 'Magnet Hospital;' Only AZ Hospital with Highest National Nursing Honor
University Medical Center announced that it has received the American Nurses Association's highest honor for nursing excellence, making UMC the only hospital in Arizona to carry the elite "Magnet Hospital" designation. UMC successfully completed a three-year-long Magnet Hospital designation process, joining a distinguished list of 74 Magnet hospitals nationwide. The Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services designation is held by only 1 percent of all acute-care hospitals in this country. The Magnet Recognition Program was developed in 1992 by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a branch of the American Nurses Association, to recognize hospitals that provide the best in nursing care and a supportive professional nursing environment. According to the ANCC, the program provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark to measure the quality of care they can expect to receive. Last year UMC adopted a 4:1 patient to nurse ratio, the best such ratio among Arizona acute-care hospitals. The move was designed to improve patient care and increase nurse satisfaction. Since the adoption of the 4:1 ratio, UMC's nurse vacancy rate has dropped to just 3 percent.
Local High School Students and Teachers Participate in Programs
Twenty-nine financially, socially or educationally disadvantaged high school students and six K-12 science teachers participated in the Disadvantaged High School Student Research Program and the K-12 Science Teacher Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. They are being paid to work full-time for seven weeks, through July 18, on current biomedical research projects with distinguished UA College of Medicine researchers in their laboratories and medical offices. In addition to research work, participants attend seminars in the innovative Summer Institute on Medical Ignorance. Each student in the Disadvantaged High School Student Research Program works with a researcher and often with medical students, as well. More than 300 students have participated in the program since it first was offered at the UA in 1987.
Arizona College of Public Health Receives Two Grants to Study
Effects of Teas on Lung Cancer and Oxidative Stress
Researchers at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health were awarded two grants totaling $3.12 million over four years to study the effects of tea on preventing disease. One study will look at preventing lung cancer among former heavy smokers and the other on minimizing oxidative stress, a naturally occurring reaction in the human body that, when enhanced, may contribute to lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic diseases. The first study, funded by a $1.26 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense, is looking at the effects of green and black tea on minimizing oxidative stress in heavy smokers and former heavy smokers. The second study, funded by a $1.86 million award from the National Institutes of Health, aims to determine whether drinking green tea can prevent lung cancer in former heavy smokers.
Milestone for Tri-university Collaboration: Arizona College of Public Health Receives National Accreditation
In June, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health received a full three-year accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), as well as recognition as one of 33 accredited graduate schools of public health nationwide. The Arizona College of Public Health, a tri-university collaboration among the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, is only the second collaborative college in the nation to receive CEPH accreditation. Established by the Arizona Board of Regents in January 2000, the Arizona College of Public Health's mission is to promote the health of individuals and communities with a special emphasis on diverse populations and the Southwest. Programs concentrate on the reduction of health disparities, the development and maintenance of healthy communities, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Dr. Ronald Wheeland Named Head of UA Section of Dermatology Brings Cosmetic Laser Technology to UPI Dermatology Clinic
Ronald G. Wheeland, MD, FACP, past president of the American Academy of Dermatology and an expert in skin cancer treatment and cosmetic laser surgery, was named head of the Section of Dermatology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. A native Tucsonan and UA undergraduate, Dr. Wheeland had been professor and chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the University of California at Davis and at the University of New Mexico before returning to the UA. Most recently he had been in private practice in Santa Fe, N.M. Dr. Wheeland's special interests are surgery for skin cancer, particularly delicate "Mohs" surgery, and laser technology. He brings a number of lasers and other devices to the UA, some of which are unique in Arizona.
University of Arizona Study Published in Clinical Pediatrics Shows Effectiveness of Mind/Body Techniques for Children with Abdominal Pain
Children can learn relaxation techniques to control recurrent abdominal pain, according to a pilot study led by Thomas M. Ball, MD, MPH, associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Arizona, published in the July/August issue of Clinical Pediatrics. Recurrent abdominal pain affects 10-20 percent of all school-aged children, Dr. Ball says. Dr. Ball and his colleagues at the UA Steele Memorial Children's Research Center studied a novel approach to treating children with recurrent abdominal pain - the use of guided imagery therapy. Guided imagery is a technique that combines aspects of relaxation, imagery and hypnosis. Previous studies have shown its efficacy in treating other childhood pain syndromes, but this is the first one to use it for children with recurrent abdominal pain. Overall, the children in the study demonstrated significant improvement after receiving guided imagery training.
UMC Become S. Arizona's Sole Trauma Center
On July 1, UMC became Southern Arizona's sole trauma center, when Tucson Medical Center's trauma center closed. TMC's yearly trauma load of about 1,300 patients is now shifting to UMC, bringing UMC's total trauma numbers to near 4,000 a year. The program is directed by John Porter, MD.
Dr. David Alberts Named Regents Professor
David S. Alberts, MD, professor of medicine, pharmacology, and public health and director, Cancer Prevention and Control, Arizona Cancer Center, was named "Regents Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Public Health" by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). Dr. Alberts is an internationally recognized leader in the field of cancer prevention. Highlights of his current research include dietary and novel strategies to reduce the frequency of colorectal, non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers. Dr. Alberts is conducting a series of studies aimed at a fundamental understanding of environmental-genetic interactions in the development and progression of precancerous colorectal lesions, and randomized clinical trials of agents that show promise for the prevention of precancerous adenomatous polyps.
MEDCAMP Encourages High School Students to Pursue Health Care Careers
About 50 Arizona high school students spent part of their summer vacation learning about health care careers in medicine, nursing and pharmacy during the 11th Annual MEDCAMP in July.
During this free, three-day "mini-medical school," students explored their interests in the health sciences and be completely immersed in a broad curriculum that incorporates classroom teaching, laboratory experience, hospital tours and medical ethics discussions. Tours will include operating rooms, the newborn nursery, the neonatal intensive care unit and the anesthesia simulation center. On the last day of MEDCAMP, students will shadow and observe the daily activities of health care professionals. Nominated by their high schools from towns throughout Arizona, MEDCAMP students were selected based on essays they wrote on their career interests. This year, MEDCAMP had 120 applicants.
Telemedicine Program Director Named President of American Telemedicine Association
Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, founding director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program, was elected President of the American Telemedicine Association at its annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. The American Telemedicine Association is the largest and most prestigious professional society in the telemedicine field. Dr. Weinstein founded the Arizona Telemedicine Program, based at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) in Tucson, in 1996. Since then, the program has evolved from an eight-site demonstration project, funded by the Arizona State Legislature, into one of the largest and most successful telemedicine programs in the world.
Arizona Arthritis Center Seeks Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis For Self-Help Course to Manage Pain, Reduce Physician Visits
The Arizona Arthritis Center recruited individuals with knee osteoarthritis to participate in a free six-week arthritis self-help course, an educational program proven to help people better manage arthritis pain while reducing physician visits. Created by the National Arthritis Foundation, the Affect and Learning in the Management of Arthritis (ALMA) study will take an innovative look at how a person's personality and attitude toward arthritis and their knowledge of the disease can affect their health. The ALMA study will look at a person's personality to see if it plays a role in how they cope with arthritis pain. Initial studies at the Arizona Arthritis Center suggest that a person's attitude plays an important role in arthritis management. If this hypothesis proves to be true, it will serve as a foundation in the design of future intervention programs.
Arizona Cancer Center Director Dr. Dan Von Hoff Accepts New Statewide Post for Arizona Health Sciences Center
Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, FACP, Director of the Arizona Cancer Center, accepted a statewide position as Director of the Arizona Health Sciences Center Cancer Therapeutics Program. In his new position, Dr. Von Hoff coordinate the many AHSC cancer research and therapy programs throughout Arizona. In addition, this position is designed to facilitate AHSC's emerging collaborations with Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the International Genomics Consortium and the newly formed Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
Arizona funds first offering of AHLS for Toxic Terrorism Course
The first three offerings of a new course to train medical personnel in bioterrorism response -- developed by the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center (AEMRC) at the University of Arizona in Tucson - were funded by the State of Arizona. The 5-hour course, Advanced Hazmat Life Support(c) (AHLS) for Toxic Terrorism: Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Incidents, is an offshoot of the AEMRC's two-day AHLS Provider Course that instructs medical personnel how to care for patients exposed to hazardous materials (hazmat) and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents. The State of Arizona sponsored three AHLS for Toxic Terrorism courses in Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff during July. Twenty-one physicians, including two from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and 92 other health care professionals (nurses, paramedics, physician assistants and others) attended. The state funding allowed most of the participants to attend at no cost to their organizations. Created in 1998 by the AEMRC and the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology (AACT), the AHLS course trains doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and other medical personnel how to treat people exposed to hazardous materials and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents. While numerous training programs exist, AHLS is unique because it focuses solely on the medical management of the patient in the pre-hospital and hospital setting.
Arizona Cancer Center Receives Core Grant Renewal from NCI
The Arizona Cancer Center (ACC) has received the largest National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant in the history of the University of Arizona - a $19.8 million renewal of the Center's Core Grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The core grant has been continuously funded by the NCI since 1978. The amount funded for the first year is $3.75 million; the total amount is subject to availability of funds and satisfactory progress of the project over the next five years. The grant provides the ACC's foundation and is essential to maintaining its Comprehensive Cancer Center status. The grant funds six research programs, 19 shared services, clinical protocol review and monitoring, planning and evaluation, administration and developmental funds for new research initiatives.
Public and Private Events Celebrated Lives of Nursing Faculty Members
The UA College of Nursing Alumni Council sponsored a successful memorial 5K walk/run in October to honor the lives of UA College of Nursing faculty members Cheryl M. McGaffic, Barbara S. Monroe and Robin E. Rogers. All profits were donated to the Nursing Faculty Memorial Scholarship Endowment. In addition, a public candlelight vigil to honor the three faculty members' lives was held on the Arizona Health Sciences Center Plaza. On Oct. 28, the College of Nursing held a private "Day of Remembrance to Celebrate the Lives of Cheryl, Barbara and Robin." College of Nursing classes were canceled so that students and faculty could attend this day of educational activities and lectures, dedications and other activities.
Arizona Hispanic Center of Excellence Awarded $1.5 Million
The Arizona Hispanic Center of Excellence (AHCOE) at the University of Arizona College of Medicine was awarded $1.5 million over three years from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to continue its efforts in supporting Hispanic faculty and student recruitment, development and retention throughout Arizona. Based within the University of Arizona College of Medicine, the AHCOE brings together the Mexican American Studies and Research Center, the Graduate College and the Office of Minority Affairs and other institutional entities to work with statewide partners to encourage collaboration among people and programs that promote Hispanic health issues and Hispanic health care workforce development.
UA Research Reveals Non-Drug Combination Effective in Improving Bone Mineral Density
A study by an interdisciplinary team of researchers in the Departments of Physiology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona has uncovered that weight-bearing and resistance exercises combined with calcium citrate supplementation over one year provided significant improvement in bone mineral density (BMD) of postmenopausal women at specific important skeletal sites. The detailed findings were released in Osteoporosis International, the premier clinical publication on the disease. Notably, this benefit was found both in women not on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and in women on HRT. "The good news is that this study has identified a powerful combination of improved nutrition and increased physical activity that prevents bone loss," said Timothy Lohman, PhD, professor of physiology at the UA and principal investigator on the study. "The bottom line: when combined with calcium citrate supplementation, weight-bearing and resistance exercises offer a benefit in building bone mineral density." (Mission Pharmacal supplied Citracal(r) calcium citrate supplements for the study.)
Easier-to-Learn CPR Method Could Double Survival Rates
The Sarver Heart Center announced a new method of bystander CPR during a November news conference that is easier to learn and easier to perform than standard CPR -- and could double the survival rates for out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest. The Sarver Heart Center announced a joint initiative with Tucson Fire Department that is expected to have a major positive impact on the city's cardiac survival rates. Tucson Fire Department has long been regarded nationally as a pioneer in emergency pre-hospital patient care. Doctors and researchers at the UA Sarver Heart Center have been active in CPR research for more than 30 years and have earned an international reputation for their findings and recommendations, many of which were incorporated in the American Heart Association's 2000 CPR Guidelines.
Projects Mark new Era of Biomedical Research, Economic Development, Health Education
A new era in scientific discovery, collaborative research and health education began at the University of Arizona when three major facilities broke ground Nov. 7 at Warren Avenue and Mabel Street. In addition to addressing the UA's severe shortage of research space, the projects comprising the Warren Avenue Redevelopment District (WARD) will ensure the UA serves an even greater role in the "biomedical revolution" and should spur significant economic development in our region. The project also will provide new facilities to educate much-needed professionals in public health, pharmacy and nursing. The projects include the Thomas Keating << >>, the Medical Research Building and Roy P. Drachman Hall.
Can the Internet Change a Doctor's Life? UA Program Proves it Can!
To date, 120 physicians from six nations, 32 states, representing 30 different medical specialties have studied integrative medicine in a unique online UA Associate Fellowship in Integrative Medicine program. These doctors have changed their practices and their lives forwarding the message that integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Weil has been teaching for 30 years. Forty of these physicians assembled in Tucson Nov. 7 for their graduation ceremony. The Associate Fellowship is a two-year, 1,000-hour distributed learning program that teaches the principles and practices of integrative medicine to physicians, nurse practitioners and physician's assistants. The 40 graduates in the class of 2003 began their training in January 2001 with the first of three weeklong residential sessions in Tucson. The remaining curriculum was offered primarily over the Web, where they learned through interactive learning modules and dialogues with expert integrative physicians and complementary and alternative medicine practitioners.
Doctors Join UA Macular Degeneration Research Program
Lihua Y. Marmorstein, PhD, and Alan D. Marmorstein, PhD, renowned cell biologists, joined the Southwest Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology. Dr. Lihua Marmorstein also was appointed assistant professor of ophthalmology and Dr. Alan Marmorstein has been appointed associate professor of ophthalmology. Prior to joining the UA, the Marmorsteins were with the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmic Research, in Cleveland, Ohio, where both were assistant staff members. Alan also had a secondary appointment in the Department of Cell Biology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. The Marmorsteins' research interests include the causes of age-related and inherited forms of macular degeneration, new diagnostic and imaging techniques, and new medications for treatment and prevention. Their research involves identifying the metabolic processes that lead to ARMD and the proteins involved that could be targeted by medications. They also are developing a new non-invasive imaging device for diagnosing ARMD.
UA Receives Prestigious Designation as 'National Center of Excellence in Women's Health'
The University of Arizona received the prestigious designation as a National Center of Excellence in Women's Health (CoE), a major federal initiative to advance women's health care. With funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office on Women's Health, the new UA CoE seeks to improve the health and wellness of all Arizona women, with attention to the special health issues of Hispanic and American Indian women. UA was among six academic health centers to receive the designation this month, joining 13 existing centers. The UA National Center of Excellence in Women's Health has six key areas - clinical care, research, community outreach, education, leadership, and evaluation. The UA CoE will be directed by a distinguished and diverse group of UA administrators, clinicians, and researchers with input from community members. Marietta Anthony, PhD, Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) Associate Vice President for Women's Health, is Director of the UA CoE, while Francisco Garcia, MD, MPH, Director of the Division of Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is its Clinical Director.
UMC Site of Arizona's First 'Anonymous' Kidney Donation
Flagstaff pediatrician David Spence, 63, donated one of his kidneys to a total stranger - a 35-year-old Tucson man who has been waiting for a kidney for more than three years. This was the first "anonymous," or "non-directed," kidney donation and transplant in Arizona, said Sam James, MD, medical director of the UMC Kidney Transplant Program. Dr. Spence's donation is unique in that he had no preference who received his life-saving gift. The UMC Kidney Transplant Team selected the recipient because he was the patient on the UMC wait list with the closest blood and tissue match to Dr. Spence. The two men never have met or spoken.
UA Neurologist David Labiner Epilepsy Foundation's National Volunteer of the Year
The Epilepsy Foundation named UA neurologist David Labiner, MD, recipient of the national organization's 2003 Volunteer of the Year Award. Dr. Labiner, associate professor of neurology at the UA College of Medicine and medical director of the Arizona Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at University Medical Center, was honored Oct. 11 at the Epilepsy Foundation's 35th annual national conference in Orlando, Fla. Dr. Labiner was chosen this year's award winner from volunteers nominated by epilepsy organizations across the nation. For more than a decade, Dr. Labiner has held a variety of volunteer positions with the Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona (EFAz), including doctor to a summer camp for children with epilepsy, board president, grassroots advocate, conference speaker, support group mentor and leader of the professional advisory board. The Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona honored him last year as its Volunteer of the Year.
Dr. David Alberts' Arizona Cancer Center Team Receives NCI Grant
The Arizona Cancer Center is one of six institutions chosen by the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Prevention as part of a new consortium of research centers that will conduct early-phase cancer prevention clinical trials. The six institutions have been chosen to undertake these critical studies to assess the cancer preventive potential of new agents over the next three years. NCI has awarded over $42 million in contracts to fund the project; the Arizona Cancer Center was awarded $7.5 million. David Alberts, MD, is principal investigator, and Sherry Chow, PhD, Suzanne Stratton, PhD, and Linda Garland, MD, are co-PIs. "This new grant mechanism builds much needed infrastructure into our cancer chemoprevention drug development efforts. It will greatly speed our ability to study novel, molecularly targeted drugs for the prevention of breast, colon, lung, prostate, skin, and gynecologic cancers," said Dr. Alberts, director of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Arizona Cancer Center.
Arizona Telemedicine Program Establishes Statewide `Virtual Diabetes Center'
Type 2 diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. More alarming for our state is that the disease has reached absolute epidemic proportions along the U.S.-Mexico border and on our state's American Indian reservations. In response to this health crisis, the Arizona Telemedicine Program at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) was awarded funds to develop a pilot program, the Arizona Diabetes Virtual Center of Excellence (ADVICE), a comprehensive telemedicine program for diabetes prevention, assessment and management. The program also will create and evaluate innovative diabetes-related distance-learning programs for patients, families, children and community health professionals. The award-winning Arizona Telemedicine Program, which currently links 77 sites in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico, was awarded a $750,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, to establish ADVICE.
Arizona Arthritis Center Participates in Innovative Study to Improve Doctor-Patient Communication
The Arizona Arthritis Center began an innovative study that seeks to improve communication between physicians and their rheumatoid arthritis patients through the use of portable touchscreen computers that allow patients to record self-assessments of their disease at each clinic visit. These self-assessments are automatically scored and can be quickly reviewed by the physician at the clinic visit and then can be tracked over time to reveal how patients are responding to specific medications and other treatments for the potentially crippling disorder. The information also will help physicians determine how patients are coping with the disease. Sponsored by Centocor, the Advance Profiling of Anti-Rheumatic Therapies (APART) program will provide the patients - some of whom are unable to use a pen, pencil or keyboard - a computer touch pad to answer a series of questions about their health. The information collected is kept confidential and is stored in a secure database.
UA College of Nursing Sees 48 Percent Increase in Undergraduate Admissions Thanks to Fast-Track Bachelor's Degree Program
The UA College of Nursing is accepting applications through Jan. 30 for June 7 admission to its 14-month Accelerated BSN Partnership Program for College Graduates, a fast-paced program to prepare individuals - with earned college degrees in non-nursing fields - for a bachelor of science degree in nursing. Thanks in large part to this innovative initiative, the College of Nursing saw admission to its baccalaureate program increase by 48 percent this year. In June 2003, the UA College of Nursing, Carondelet Health Network and University Medical Center began this collaboration, in which 48 selected students had their tuition entirely covered by either Carondelet or UMC; after graduation they are committed to work for one of the health care organizations for two years. In June 2004, Tucson Medical Center will join UMC and Carondelet, bringing the number of sponsored students to 64.
Yale Physician-Researcher Dr. Keith A. Joiner Appointed Dean of UA College of Medicine
Following a nationwide search, the University of Arizona appointed Keith A. Joiner, MD, MPH, as Dean of the UA College of Medicine. Dr. Joiner, 55, is Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology and Epidemiology, Chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases, and Associate Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Joiner also serves as Director of Yale's Investigative Medicine Program, which provides doctoral training in clinical investigation for physicians interested in either clinical or laboratory research. Dr. Joiner will begin his new duties at the UA March 1, 2004. He replaces Kenneth Ryan, MD, who has served as Interim Dean of the College of Medicine since July 2002.