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, Pharmacy and Public Health, the School of Health Professions, 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 2002 include:
Arizona Cancer Center Receives $11.7 Million SPORE Grant
The Arizona Cancer Center received an $11.75 million Specialized Program of Research Excellence in Gastrointestinal Cancer (GI-SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute. This is the third-largest grant in the history of the Arizona Cancer Center and is one of only four such grants nationwide. The other GI SPORE grants were awarded to Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Nebraska. The GI-SPORE will attack the poor survivability linked to delayed detection of GI cancers.
Procter & Gamble Donates Promising Compounds to UA
The Procter & Gamble Company donated to the UA Foundation 33 patents and accompanying intellectual property related to a portfolio of compounds that have been tested in preclinical studies and potentially may have application in the treatment of cancer, HIV and Hepatitis C. Further research on these compounds will be conducted by the UA College of Pharmacy and the Arizona Cancer Center. This portfolio of compounds includes the compounds FB636 and FB642, for potential use in the treatment of multiple types of cancer and HIV, and PG-301029, for the potential use in the treatment of Hepatitis C. Pre-clinical and initial clinical studies have suggested these compounds may be active against many forms of cancer as well as viral infections. As the new sole owners of the technology, the UA will benefit from all future revenues if the compounds can be successfully developed and commercialized.
UA Names Arizona College of Public Health After Mel and Enid Zuckerman
The University named the Arizona College of Public Health after Mel and Enid Zuckerman, founders of Canyon Ranch and long-time supporters of UA health-related programs. The new name is the Mel and Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health. In the two decades after opening Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson in 1979, the Zuckermans have developed strong ties with the UA. Enid and Mel participate on community advisory boards for the Arizona College of Public Health and the Arizona Arthritis Center, and also have supported the UA Sarver Heart Center, the Arizona Cancer Center, and the Program in Integrative Medicine. In 1997, the Zuckermans committed to donate $10 million over 10 years to the UA Foundation-the largest gift in UA history at that time-which helped pave the way to the establishment of the Arizona College of Public Health.
Translational Genomics Research Institute Created
Arizona was selected as the location for the headquarters of the International Genomics Consortium (IGC) and has created the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). Officially formed as a private, non-profit corporation in June, TGen was founded through cooperation among the three state universities, the State, the City of Phoenix, private foundations, and business. TGen will foster the growth of the biotechnology industry in Arizona, and will maintain an affiliation relationship with the IGC. IGC is a private, non-profit corporation that will collect tissue samples from 19 consortium partners across the country. The IGC has temporary office space in downtown Phoenix and lab space at Scottsdale Healthcare.
College of Nursing to Establish State's First Geriatric Education Center
The UA College of Nursing was awarded a prestigious $1.8 million, five-year grant to establish our state's first Geriatric Education Center. The Arizona Geriatric Education Center (AGEC) will be based at the Arizona Center on Aging, and will represent a statewide multi-disciplinary effort to address the myriad health and social issues facing Arizona's rapidly growing older population. (The Arizona Center on Aging is a Center of Excellence at the UA Colleges of Nursing and Public Health.) The new Center will focus particular attention on health problems of vulnerable older adults, including individuals who are frail and/or beyond the age of 85, Hispanic and Native American elders, elders living along the U.S.-Mexico border, and migrant elders.
Dr. Marietta Anthony to Direct Women's Health Research at AHSC
Marietta Anthony, PhD, a national expert on women's health, joined AHSC as Associate Vice President for Women's Health Research. Dr. Anthony previously was director of Women's Health Research and associate director of the General Clinical Research Center at Georgetown University Medical Center. She has held appointments in three different federal agencies. After leaving the federal government in April 2000, Dr Anthony joined the Department of Pharmacology at Georgetown University Medical Center. While at Georgetown, Dr. Anthony was a co-investigator on a number of research grants and projects. She will continue her research at AHSC.
UMC Ranked Among Nation's Top Hospitals in 5 Medical Specialties
University Medical Center is among the nation's best hospitals in five areas of specialty medical care, according to U.S. News and World Report's 13th annual guide to "America's Best Hospitals." UMC was ranked as follows for specific areas of specialty care: 18th Neurology and Neurosurgery; 25th Cancer; 38th Heart and Heart Surgery; 42nd Gynecology; 46th Rheumatology.
UA Study Shows Hispanics at High Risk for Retinopathy and Glaucoma
A first-ever study of the prevalence and causes of eye disease among Mexican-Americans found that Hispanics over the age of 40 more likely to have undiagnosed diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma than other ethnic groups. The three-year study, funded by a $3 million grant from the National Eye Institute, was called Proyecto VER (Project Vision, Evaluation, Research). UA Department of Ophthalmology researchers surveyed and evaluated vision problems, such as diabetic retinopathy (disease of the retina), cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, among 4,774 Hispanics in Nogales and Tucson, Ariz. Results of the study, done in collaboration with the Dana Center for Preventive Eye Disease at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, were published in Diabetes Care, and in the Archives of Ophthalmology.
Sarver Heart Center Receives $3.6M Grant to Study Heart Failure Drug
Sarver Heart Center researchers have made exciting progress on an agent that could improve heart function in patients with congestive heart failure. A team led by Eugene Morkin, MD, a co-director of the Sarver Heart Center, and Steven Goldman, MD, chief of cardiology at the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System, has spent the last several years evaluating the effects of a modified type of thyroid hormone called 3,5-diiodothyropropionic acid, or DITPA, which helps regulate the body's metabolism and adjusts cardiac output accordingly. Dr. Morkin hypothesized that modifying the thyroid hormone so it would retain its effects on cardiac output - but not its potential to increase heart rate or metabolism - could help those patients. Early study results appear to prove him right. Given those encouraging results, the Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to fund further study of the drug as part of the VA Cooperative Studies Program, granting about $3.6 million to Drs. Morkin and Goldman.
Arizona Respiratory Center Receives $7 Million SCOR Grant for Study of Asthma
To better understand the role of genetic and environmental factors in the development of asthma, the Arizona Respiratory Center was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) grant of nearly $7 million for a five year study. The study, "SCOR in Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Asthma," will examine the interactions between environment and genes, their effect on immune system development and on the onset of this common childhood illness. The Arizona Respiratory Center is a Center of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine.
UA to Study Viral Gene Therapy to Treat Brain Tumors
The UA College of Medicine is conducting a clinical trial that uses viral gene delivery to treat patients diagnosed with difficult-to-treat glioblastoma multiform (GBM) brain tumors. Glioblastoma is the most common and most deadly malignant primary brain tumor. UA researchers will inject trillions of non-replicating virus cells containing the beta interferon gene directly into the tumors of patients, says Allan J. Hamilton, MD, FACS, head of the Department of Surgery at the UA College of Medicine. The virus will deliver the gene to the tumor cells causing the cells to produce beta interferons, which interfere with the tumor's ability to "recruit" blood vessels.
Study Shows Day Care Protects Children From Colds During Early School Years
Children who attended large day care centers for preschool have fewer colds at ages 6-11 than those cared for at home, according to a study by Thomas M. Ball, MD, MPH, UA associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The more time a child spent in a large day care center, the more likely he or she was to have increased colds at ages 2 and 3 and fewer colds from ages 6-11. This study may reassure parents that the colds their children acquire in day care, while bothersome, may be beneficial in the long run.
UMC Adds More Nurses to Improve Nursing Ratios
University Medical Center moved to a one-nurse-to-four-patients ratio on its adult medical-surgical units in April -- possibly the best nursing ratio for medical-surgical patients at any Arizona hospital. Hospital officials expect the better ratios will help UMC attract and retain nurses on its medical-surgical units, where it has taken as long as 18 months to fill job vacancies. The hospital has had to hire dozens of agency nurses to fill gaps in its nursing staff, and at times has been forced to close beds and turn away patients to preserve its current nurse ratios.
UMC Opens New, Expanded Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
University Medical Center tripled the size of its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to better care for Southern Arizona's most critically injured and ill children. The hospital's PICU was relocated from a cramped 2,200 square feet on UMC's third floor to 6,600 feet on the sixth floor. Previously, UMC could care for 12 critically ill children at one time and their beds were crowded together in double rooms.
Pearl Parvin Coulter, Founding Dean of UA College of Nursing, Dies at 99
Pearl Parvin Coulter, founding dean of the UA College of Nursing and a pioneer in nursing education, research and service in Arizona, died Jan. 31. A resident of Sun City, Ariz., she was 99. During her tenure as dean, the UA baccalaureate nursing program was implemented and received its initial National League of Nursing accreditation. Her leadership in undergraduate nursing education helped facilitate strategic planning for a graduate-nursing program. Her dream of a full-fledged graduate program -- culminating in a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Nursing -- was realized a short time following her retirement.
UA Hazmat Course Becomes International Model to Train Emergency Responders
In 1998, two physicians at the UA College of Medicine and an official with the Tucson Fire Department saw a need for an educational program on medical management of patients exposed to hazardous materials, from common industrial agents to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Today -- with the threat of terrorism a constant in our lives -- the Advanced Hazmat Life Support (c) course (the only course of its type in the world) is offered internationally and has trained more than 1,000 emergency responders from throughout the world.
UA Women's Mental Health Program Clinic Opens
The UA Women's Mental Health Program opened in January at the Arizona Health Sciences Center. Directed by Marlene Freeman, MD, UA Department of Psychiatry, the clinic specializes in mood and anxiety disorders, "in the context of reproductive events." Depression and anxiety disorders are more common in women than in men. Female reproductive hormones, as well as psychological factors, likely are involved.
First Class of Volunteer Hospital Chaplains Graduates from UMC
Nearly two dozen people graduated as volunteer University Medical Center chaplains after completing 10 weeks of basic training in ministering to the spiritual needs of hospital patients. The graduates visit patients in the hospital's regular medical-surgical units, including pediatrics. Most plan to volunteer two to four hours of pastoral care each week. UMC hires professionally trained clergy on a per-diem basis to assist patients in the intensive care units and the Trauma Center.
Arizona Telemedicine Program Wins Award for Distance-Learning
The Arizona Telemedicine Program won a national award from the U.S. Distance Learning Association for "Excellence in Distance Learning Programming - Healthcare/Telemedicine." The awards program is considered the most prestigious in the country for distance-education programs. According to the U.S. Distance Learning Association, "The Arizona Telemedicine Program continues to provide a variety of educational programs for the rural telemedicine sites throughout the state of Arizona, addressing the needs of the culturally diverse communities they serve."
JoLaine R. Draugalis Earns Inaugural Koffler Prize for Teaching
JoLaine Reierson Draugalis, PhD, professor and assistant dean for assessment and evaluation at the UA College of Pharmacy, was awarded the first Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize for outstanding accomplishments in teaching. The Koffler Prize recognizes excellence in the classroom, demonstrated success of students, the winning of distinguished competitions, and national recognition of teaching accomplishments.
UA CHAPS Program Receives Prestigious National Award
The Community Health Advancement Partnerships (CHAPS) team, a collaboration between the Arizona College of Public Health and the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was selected as both the National and the Western Regional winner of the 2002 Florence Hall Award from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. Created in 1997, the CHAPS initiative links the University campus and community outreach health-related education and research efforts, with both public- and private-sector organizations through cooperative extension offices throughout the state.
Arizona Respiratory Center Part of Major NIH Sleep Apnea Grant
The Arizona Respiratory Center, in conjunction with Stanford University and Harvard University's Brigham and Women's Hospital, was awarded a $10 million, five-year grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This major grant will allow the Arizona Respiratory Center, Stanford and Brigham and Women's to evaluate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the primary treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. With CPAP treatment, continuous pressure is applied in the airways to help keep them open during sleep.
MEDCAMP Encourages High School Students to Pursue Health Care Careers
About 50 Arizona high school students spent part of their summer vacation learning about careers in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and biomedical research during AHSC's 10th annual MEDCAMP. During this free, three-day "mini-medical school," students explore their interests in the health sciences and are completely immersed in a broad curriculum that incorporates classroom teaching, laboratory experience, hospital tours and medical ethics discussions. Nominated by their high schools from towns throughout Arizona, MEDCAMP students are selected based on essays they write about their career interests.
UA College of Pharmacy Professors Earn National Cancer Institute Study Award
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is supporting a proposal by UA College of Pharmacy professors and Arizona Cancer Center investigators Elaine L. Jacobson, PhD, and Myron K. Jacobson, PhD, to develop a vitamin-derivative as a potential skin cancer prevention agent. The discovery of this derivative, trademarked Pro-NAD, was funded by Niadyne, Inc., a Tucson-based biopharmaceutical company co-founded by the Jacobsons in 1997. Pro-NAD will be tested as a potential agent to limit the onset of pre-cancerous lesions known as actinic keratosis, and to halt the progression of these lesions to skin cancers.
UA Program in Integrative Medicine Receives NIH Grant
The UA Program in Integrative Medicine received a major grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to establish the Arizona Complementary & Alternative Medicine Research Training Program (ACAMRTP). Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine will provide $1.3 million over five years to the UA to establish ACAMRTP, an interdisciplinary clinical research training program to prepare outstanding research scientists for academic careers in integrative medicine.
Arizona Cancer Center Recognized Nationally
The Arizona Cancer Center ranked 23rd in the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) "Top 65 Grantee Institutions" listing for 2001-2002. During this time the Center was awarded more than $42 million in research grants. Grant funding has more than doubled from an annual $17.9 million five years ago. The center currently has seven NCI Program Project and Collaborative Research grants.
$7.5 Million NCI Partnership Between UA and NAU Will Support Cancer Education and Research for Native Americans
The Arizona Cancer Center will collaborate with Northern Arizona University in a major new effort to reduce the disproportionate burden of cancer in Native American peoples of the Southwest. A five-year, renewable, $7.5 million cooperative grant from the Minority Institute/Comprehensive Cancer Partnerships (MI/CCP) Division of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) was awarded jointly to the Arizona Cancer Center and NAU. The long-term goal of the Comprehensive NAU/AZCC Cancer Research Partnership is to increase the numbers of Native American health care professionals working in clinical oncology and basic cancer research in Arizona.
Integrative Medicine Associate Fellowship Holds First Graduation
The UA Program in Integrative Medicine celebrated another milestone when it held a graduation ceremony for its first class of Associate Fellows. The UA Associate Fellowship in Integrative Medicine, the nation's first Web-based educational model in integrative medicine, began in August 2000. Each year, 50 physicians from around the world begin the two-year Associate Fellowship. Each class of Fellows meets for three, one-week sessions in Tucson; the remainder of the Fellowship is a "distributed-learning experience," in which participants learn via the Internet in the comfort of their own home or office, at times most convenient for them.
UA College of Nursing, Pima Co. Health Dept. Hold Bioterrorism Forum for Nurses
The UA College of Nursing and the Pima County Health Department joined forces in October to offer the first comprehensive conference on bioterrorism and public health preparedness for registered nurses. "Nurses and Bioterrorism: Serving Our Community - What Will Your Role Be?" was designed for nurses from all health care and educational settings. The conference was funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (to the Pima County Health Department) and the National Institutes of Health (to the UA College of Nursing Center on Injury Mechanisms and Related Responses).
UMC, TMC Share Distinction as Tucson's Consumer Choice Award Winners
UMC and Tucson Medical Center were named co-winners of a 2002 Consumer Choice Award by National Research Corporation (NRC), the nation's leading health care performance-measurement firm. UMC and TMC shared the award for the Tucson market in 2001 and 1999. UMC held the award alone in 2000. UMC and TMC are among more than 150 hospitals in markets across the country to earn Consumer Choice Awards this year. The only other Arizona hospital named for 2002 was Mayo Clinic Hospital in the Phoenix area.
Cancer Center Offers New Imaging Capability
The Arizona Cancer Center is the only institution in Southern Arizona to offer the CT/PET Fusion capability for imaging cancer tumors. Developed for the Center by Dino Stea, MD, PhD, and David Cohen of Southwest PET Institute, the capability combines the very clear imaging of the CT scan with the excellent metabolic activity detection of PET to provide very exact tumor targeting for radiation oncologists.
College of Public Health Establishes Dr. Augusto and Martha Ortiz Endowment
The Arizona College of Public Health established the Dr. Augusto and Martha Ortiz Endowment to honor and memorialize their pioneering work in community health care over the past five decades in Arizona. In 1972, the Ortizes moved to Tucson, where Dr. Ortiz joined the UA College of Medicine faculty and worked at El Rio Health Center, several rural and urban clinics and the Rural Health Office, which now is part of the Arizona College of Public Health. As medical director for the Rural Health Office, he established the Mobile Clinic program and a lay health worker training program. In addition, he teaches health professions students to understand their obligation to reach out to under-served communities.
UA Study Finds Hispanic, Black and White Girls Have Same Abnormal Eating Behaviors
Hispanic and black girls have many of the same abnormal eating behaviors as white girls, according to a study at the UA College of Medicine. Study findings were presented at the Academy for Eating Disorders' 2002 International Conference on Eating Disorders. The study involved 173 Hispanic, black and white girls participating in the McKnight Risk Factor Project, a 10-year study of eating disorders in more than 2,000 girls in grades 4 through 12 being conducted at the UA and Stanford University.