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Antidepressants shown to worsen depression in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder

Antidepressants shown to worsen depression in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder

Rif S. El-Mallakh, M.D.

In patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, antidepressants can increase incidents of depression and mood cycling. Rif S. El-Mallakh, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Clinical and Research Program at the University of Louisville, along with Nassir Ghaemi, M.D., of Tufts University and other researchers, conducted the first randomized clinical trial that analyzes how modern antidepressants affect patients with rapid-cycling (RC) bipolar disorder (BD). The results are published in this month’s issue of Journal of Affective Disorders.

In the trial, the authors tracked patients with BD following an acute depressive episode. They found that rapid-cycling patients who continued antidepressants following initial treatment for the episode experienced three times the number of depressive episodes the following year as those who discontinued use of antidepressants. RC patients who continued antidepressants were episode-free 52 percent of the time, while RC patients who discontinued antidepressants were episode-free 64 percent of the time.

Patients are considered rapid cycling in bipolar disorder if they experience at least four episodes within a 12-month period. In the United States, approximately 25 percent of bipolar patients are considered rapid cycling.

The research was conducted within the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) study, in which patients were classified as either rapid cycling or non-rapid cycling. Patients in both groups received standard mood stabilizers.

“Whether or not antidepressants cause rapid cycling in BD is a controversial issue,” the authors said in the article. “Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medication in BD. If they cause or worsen rapid cycling, found in about 25 percent of patients with BD, this presents a major public health problem. Safely and effectively treating rather than exacerbating mood episodes in the most severely ill among this patient population is a priority.”

Physicians and researchers have debated for years about whether antidepressants should be used over long periods of time for patients with bipolar disorder.

El-Mallakh, professor of psychiatry in the UofL School of Medicine, has published articles on several situations in which continued use of antidepressant medications potentially was detrimental.

In a 2008 article in Journal of Affective Disorders, El-Mallakh described a condition he attributed to long-term antidepressant use which he called “antidepressant-associated chronic irritable dysphoria” (ACID). In the article, El-Mallakh cited a number of patients who took antidepressants for long periods of time and subsequently developed a consistent state of low mood, irritability and sleep disturbance. These symptoms were relieved when the patients discontinued antidepressants.

In a 2011 article in Medical Hypothesis, El-Mallakh analyzed data on patients whose depression initially improved with antidepressants, but later worsened. He hypothesized that some patients experienced a condition he called “tardive dysphoria,” in which antidepressants lose their effectiveness and may actually induce depression with long-term use.

“Antidepressants are useful medications, and you don’t know if someone will be rapid cycling when you begin treating them. However, if someone has rapid cycling, you want to avoid using these drugs because the medication will probably increase mania, cycling and depression,” El-Mallakh said.

Renewable energies topic of Beer with a Scientist Sept. 16

Renewable energies topic of Beer with a Scientist Sept. 16

Mahendra Sunkara, Ph.D.

As concerns over the availability and side-effects of fossil fuels increase, scientists look for renewable energy sources to satisfy the modern world’s insatiable appetite for power. But are renewable energy sources up to the task?

Mahendra Sunkara, Ph.D., director of the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering, will discuss the need for renewable energies and challenges associated with them at the next “Beer with a Scientist” event. Those in attendance will learn what renewable energies are, how they are used and, most importantly, how they will save our planet for future generations.

Sunkara’s research interests include discovery of new materials, solar cells, Li Ion batteries, production of hydrogen from water and growing large crystals of diamond, gallium nitride and bulk quantities of nanowires.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16 at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

The Beer with a Scientist program began in 2014 and is the brainchild of UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

UofL vice dean receives KMA educational achievement award

Monica Ann Shaw, M.D., honored by Kentucky Medical Association
UofL vice dean receives KMA educational achievement award

Monica Ann Shaw, M.D. received the Educational Achievement Award from the KMA’s David Bensema, M.D.

Monica Ann Shaw, M.D., M.A., vice dean for the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has received the Kentucky Medical Association’s Educational Achievement Award for 2015.

The award is presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions and achievements in the area of medical education. David Bensema, M.D., immediate past president of the KMA, presented the award to Shaw during the organization’s annual meeting on August 29.

“Throughout her tenure, Dr. Shaw has been committed to changing the way medical students are educated,” Bensema said. “Her passion and dedication to the growth and development of future physicians are keystones of the KMA Educational Achievement Award criteria.”

As principal investigator on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant, Shaw developed and implemented an interdisciplinary palliative care curriculum for medical students that serves as a national model for successful palliative care education. Since 2010, Shaw has served as co-investigator on a five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute for which the team has developed, implemented, and evaluated a mandatory, interprofessional palliative oncology curriculum for medical, nursing, social work and chaplaincy students. Shaw is a 2014 graduate of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM®) program. She joined the University of Louisville in 1995.

“Dr. Shaw has devoted her career to medical education. She is an exceptional teacher, physician, and mentor. She remains passionate about medicine and palliative care. She was the first clerkship director to include a reflective writing requirement for students to encourage them to focus on the patient’s story and to foster more humanistic patient care,” said Jesse Roman, M.D., chair of the UofL Department of Medicine, in nominating Shaw for the award.

Established in 1851, the Kentucky Medical Association is a professional organization for physicians throughout the Commonwealth. The KMA works on behalf of physicians and the patients they serve to ensure the delivery of quality, affordable health care.

Stanford medicine chair to present UofL Leonard Leight Lecture Sept. 30

Stanford medicine chair to present UofL Leonard Leight Lecture Sept. 30

Robert Harrington, M.D.

The chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University will present the 2015 Leonard Leight Lecture at the University of Louisville.

Robert Harrington, M.D., will speak at noon, Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the 16th Floor Conference Center of the Rudd Heart and Lung Center, 201 Abraham Flexner Way. Admission is free.

The Leonard Leight Lecture is presented annually by the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. For 30 years until 1996, Leight was a practicing cardiologist in Louisville and played a major role in developing cardiology services and bringing innovative treatment modalities in heart disease to Louisville.

The Leonard Leight Lecture series was established in 1994 and is made possible by gifts from Dr. and Mrs. Kurt Ackermann and Medical Center Cardiologists to the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.

About Robert Harrington, M.D.

The Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine at Stanford since 2012, Harrington is an interventional cardiologist and experienced clinical investigator in the area of heart disease. At Stanford, he leads a department of 220 faculty members in 14 divisions.

Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, Harrington spent five years as the director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, regarded as the world’s largest academic clinical research organization. The institute has conducted studies in 65 countries while building diverse research programs in clinical trials and health services research. He joined the faculty at Duke in 1993.

As a clinical investigator, he has worked primarily in the area of acute ischemic heart disease, or heart disease resulting from restricted blood flow to the heart muscle. He has established clinical research collaborations that involve investigators from around the world.

“My science has progressed from the focused study of thrombosis to using more broadly the tools of clinical science to answer clinical questions while finding new and innovative ways to design clinical trials and use clinical data to improve the care of patients,” Harrington said. “Society needs academic centers to step up and figure out how we are going to deliver health care while also advancing science and educating the next generation of clinical leaders.”

Harrington is a native of Massachusetts. He has an undergraduate degree in English from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He received his medical degree from Tufts University in 1986 and completed an internship, residency and served as chief resident at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He trained in general and interventional cardiology as a fellow at Duke.

He has served as an associate editor of the American Heart Journal, an editorial board member of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and one of the editors of the 13th edition of Hurst's the Heart, a leading textbook in cardiovascular medicine. He is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians as well as a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Intervention, the American College of Chest Physicians and the European Society of Cardiology. He is a member of the board of trustees for the American College of Cardiology.

UofL honors veterans on 70th anniversary of WWII’s ending

Events on Aug. 15th and 16th highlight Louisville war contributions, veterans, more

Several units at the University of Louisville will join together with groups from throughout Louisville and the United States to commemorate the end of World War II.

“Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive! 70th Anniversary of the End of WWII” will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15 and 16.

With the surrender of Japan on Aug. 14, 1945, the Second World War came to a close. Activities for the 70th Anniversary are planned throughout the United States. The website www.spiritof45.org provides more information.

“As time goes on, we lose more and more of the people whose service, both in the theater of war and on the home front, protected our freedoms during the dark days of World War II,” said University of Louisville President James R. Ramsey. “That is why the University of Louisville is honored to take part in commemorations such as Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive.

“We must never forget what our Greatest Generation sacrificed so that we can all be free.”

In Louisville, Saturday’s commemoration will take place at the Vintage WarBirds Hangar 5 at Bowman Field, 2700 Gast Blvd. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., exhibits, demonstrations and entertainment will evoke memories of Louisville during World War II. Vintage military equipment, vehicles and aircraft will be on display, along with other historical exhibits. Attendees who remember the war will have the opportunity to record their WWII memories for future generations. Entertainment will be provided by the Ladies of Liberty, a three-woman singing troupe that performs 1940s hits in the style of the Andrews Sisters. Admission is free.

From 6 to 10 p.m. in the same location, a “Canteen Dinner and Dance” will be held, also featuring the Ladies of Liberty and the Don Krekel Orchestra performing big-band hits of the period. Admission is $45 per person.

Sunday, Aug. 16, is “Honor Flight Night” at VFW Post #1170, 107 Evergreen Rd. in Middletown. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to making it possible for veterans to travel to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War memorials.

Kentucky’s Bluegrass Chapter of Honor Flight will honor those World War II veterans who are unable to make the trip. Dinner will feature a video showing the 2015 D-Day Honor Flight on June 6 to the World War II Memorial. Admission for veterans and their guests is free.

Honor Flight Night is sponsored by the Office of the President at the University of Louisville. Participating in Saturday’s events will be UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging, School of Dentistry, Kent School of Social Work and Department of History. Other sponsors include the Frazier History Museum, the Kentucky Historical Society, Jean Frazier and a variety of military and veterans organizations.

For information on Saturday’s events, contact the local Spirit of ’45 office, 502-387-4412 or Dell Courtney, dellcourtn@aol.com.

Tierney joins University of Louisville

Will lead facilities planning and management for health sciences center
Tierney joins University of Louisville

UofL Health Sciences Center

Nancy Tierney has been named the interim associate vice president for facilities planning and management for the UofL Health Sciences Center. Most recently, Tierney was the director of facilities for the Cantor Center for Visual Arts and Anderson Collection at Stanford University. She has extensive experience in academic health care facilities planning and management, serving in leadership roles at the University of Arizona, Stanford University, the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago.

“Nancy brings to UofL nearly 35 years’ experience meeting the challenges of the facility needs in an ever-changing environment associated with how we educate the next generation of health care providers, conduct the research that molds how we deliver clinical care and the physical environment for provision of the care,” said Gregory C. Postel, M.D., UofL interim executive vice president for health affairs. “We continue to face those challenges at UofL and will draw upon Nancy’s experience to meet the needs of our faculty, staff, students and patients.”

Tierney will be responsible for developing and coordinating a process of facilities planning designed to determine the facility needs of the health sciences center, as well as to evaluate the condition of current space and make recommendations for any changes that may be necessary. She also will have responsibility for space planning and management for the health sciences center.

In addition to her immediate past position at Stanford University, Tierney was the Associate Dean for Facilities and Planning at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Prior to that she was the associate director, then director of facilities planning and management at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Tierney is a member and past president of the Society for College and University Planning, member and past chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Institutional Planning, and the American Planning Association. She is a certified planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners. She has received the Distinguished Service Award from both the Society for College and University Planning and the AAMC Group on Institutional Planning.

She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky and her master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

University of Louisville/KentuckyOne Health relationship to enter next phase

The University of Louisville (UofL), University Medical Center (UMC) and KentuckyOne Health today (Dec. 13) announced they have agreed to redesign their partnership with a vision to better support the future of health and wellness in Louisville and across Kentucky. UofL and KentuckyOne Health will continue their academic affiliation, which includes decades-long Academic Affiliation Agreements with Jewish Hospital and Frazier Rehab Institute. The Joint Operating Agreement established in 2012 will be revised, bringing management of University of Louisville Hospital (ULH) and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC) to UMC. This decision was agreed upon by all parties as the most effective way to collaborate in care for the community, moving direct operations of the academic medical center to UMC and ensuring continuation of innovative and high-quality patient care and clinical training via KentuckyOne Health facilities.

University of Louisville“The dynamic nature of the health care landscape requires organizations to explore innovative approaches and relationships for the delivery of care,” said Gregory C. Postel, M.D., interim executive vice president of health affairs at UofL. “Today, we are presented with a very different environment than when we signed the joint operating agreement and revised the academic affiliation agreement in 2012. We are pleased with our shared accomplishments yet understand that changes were necessary to address ongoing challenges and ensure we are able to respond nimbly to the unique needs of our care facilities, particularly the academic medical center.”

KentuckyOne Health“We are pleased to move into the next phase of our relationship with University of Louisville. Our longstanding partnership at Jewish Hospital dates back several decades prior to KentuckyOne Health. Since the formation of KentuckyOne Health, we have partnered in many areas and will continue to do so for many years to come, including working together on our innovations to meet the health needs of our community,” said Ruth W. Brinkley, president and CEO of KentuckyOne Health. “During the past four years of our partnership, we have implemented significant improvements to enhance the health of our patients and the communities we serve. This includes the installation of an electronic health record system, and many other updates and enhancements to the University of Louisville Hospital.”

University Medical Center, Inc.“It is important to emphasize that the transition of care will be seamless for our patients, physicians, employees and community partners,” said Joan Coleman, interim CEO of University Medical Center. “We are committed to continuing the facility improvements and staffing initiatives that began during our partnership and look forward to seeing them through to completion. We will be active with focused transition teams working closely with current leaders, physicians and employees across the Downtown Louisville campus to ensure continued high-quality care, support our employees and shape the future of health and wellness.”

The agreement, effective Dec. 14, 2016, establishes the framework for future partnerships between the organizations and resolves all disputes previously raised. Key aspects of the agreement include the following:  KentuckyOne Health, UMC, and UofL, working together, will continue to implement projects involving up to $44.8 million in capital investments at ULH by July 1, 2017; KentuckyOne Health has agreed to complete the funding of the joint investment proposals as set forth in the Academic Affiliation Agreement; The University of Louisville will release its rights to three seats on the KentuckyOne Health Board of Directors; and the University Medical Center is expected to take over the management of the University of Louisville Hospital on July 1, 2017.

The University Medical Center, University of Louisville and KentuckyOne Health will work together over the next six months to facilitate a successful transition for both the management of ULH and JGBCC, and the Academic Affiliation Agreement between the organizations for programs at other locations. Ongoing information and details on the transition will be provided to patients, community partners, employees and physicians as the process evolves. Transition teams focused on key areas of patient care, employee engagement and infrastructure are being assembled, drawing from the shared expertise currently in place at ULH, JGBCC, KentuckyOne Health, UMC and UofL. These teams will guide the continuation of initiatives underway, including patient care quality and safety programs and recruitment and retention of top nursing talent, while also shaping the future operations and leadership structure.

Partner Profiles:

University Medical Center (UMC): Comprised of the University of Louisville Hospital (ULH), the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC), and the Center for Women and Infants (CWI) is an integral part of the University of Louisville’s academic health center. Its first priority and concern is the welfare of patients and therefore provides, without regard to economic status, the highest quality patient and family centered inpatient and outpatient hospital-based services; supports the educational and research missions of the University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Center; and initiates outreach to meet community needs.

The University of Louisville Health Sciences Center is the city’s only academic medical center. Approximately 1,000 faculty members are involved in education, research and clinical care. The UofL HSC is home to more than 650 medical and dental residents, 3,000 students pursuing degrees in health-related fields within the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences, as well as 14 interdisciplinary centers and institutes. Approximately $140 million in extramural funding enables researchers to uncover the causes of disease and better ways to prevent, treat and cure those diseases. Patients are seen at the Ambulatory Care Building, The James Graham Brown Cancer Center, the UofL Health Care Outpatient Center and University Hospital, which is the primary adult teaching hospital for the School of Medicine. University Hospital’s public mission is steeped in history and now is most clearly visible through its provision of nearly $90 million of health care to the uninsured annually.

KentuckyOne Health,the largest and most comprehensive health system in the Commonwealth, has more than 200 locations, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies in Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is dedicated to bringing wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved.  The system is made up of the former Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System, along with the University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. KentuckyOne Health is proud of and strengthened by its Catholic, Jewish and academic heritages.

UofL medical students earn award for plan to improve physician wellbeing

Students’ model to reduce physician burnout earns $1,000 award from the American Medical Association
UofL medical students earn award for plan to improve physician wellbeing

Med Ed Innovation Challenge authors Ruberg, Neal, Yared and Deshmukh

Staying mentally and physically well in medical school and throughout their careers is a top concern for medical students.

“I think physician burnout is a looming fear that lingers over all medical students,” said Melinda Ruberg, a second-year student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. “We are looking for solutions early on as opposed to waiting until we are physicians and have a higher risk of burnout.”

Ruberg and classmates Matthew Neal, Anish Deshmukh and Katherine Yared have developed a model for medical schools to educate physicians in a way that improves their own health, enabling them to better treat their patients. The program, “Happy Healers, Healthy Humans: A wellness curricular model as a means of effecting cultural change, reducing burnout and improving patient outcomes,” received third place in the American Medical Association’s inaugural Medical Education Innovation Challenge. The award, announced earlier this week at the AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium in Hershey, Pa., comes with a $1,000 prize.

The competition challenged medical student-led teams to develop a program to solve a problem in medical education. Entries consisted of a five-page paper and 90-second video, which were judged based on the proposed solution to the problem and the plan’s potential to improve medical practice and patient care.

Several aspects of the team’s plan to support a more compassionate approach to medical education already are in place at UofL, such as a student wellness committee, patient interview sessions for preclinical students, and faculty members who champion an environment of compassion as part of the school’s Compassion and Mindfulness Work Team. In addition, the student team suggested elements such as mutual accountability, health monitoring technology and the creation of wellness-oriented spaces in medical schools.

“A big part of our project was making wellness not something you do on the side, but institutionalizing it so it is more of a cultural shift and is fostered within the system,” Ruberg said.

The students’ plan expanded on programs they experienced at UofL and incorporated ideas based on each team member's previous experiences, observations and research.

“We played to our strengths. We each contributed ideas we wanted to see in the paper,” Yared said. “A lot of the ideas stemmed from just brainstorming and how we see other people do things well.”

“We each contributed different things, but it was a beautifully collaborative thing,” Ruberg said.

To further their commitment to physician wellbeing, the students are working to bring an international compassion conference to Louisville. On a personal level, the project has inspired them to improve aspects of their own health. Neal has recommitted to daily meditation. Deshmukh has analyzed his study habits and begun to take a multivitamin. In addition, they would like to work with other UofL medical students to develop activities that encourage physicians to model healthy lives for their patients.

The AMA’s innovation challenge drew nearly 150 entries. A team from Vanderbilt University placed first for their plan to create an open national exchange for curricular content. A Sidney Kimmel Medical College team placed second, and a group from Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine tied with UofL for third.

 

March 10, 2016

‘Think Pink’ in Shepherdsville on Oct. 23 honors breast cancer survivors

‘Think Pink’ in Shepherdsville on Oct. 23 honors breast cancer survivors

The Paroquet Springs Conference Centre in Shepherdsville will be the site of the "Think Pink" celebration of breast cancer survivors on Oct. 23.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center is teaming up with the Bullitt County Health Department to honor breast cancer survivors in October.

The “Think Pink” event will be held beginning at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Paroquet Springs Conference Centre, 395 Paroquet Springs Dr., Shepherdsville.

Former Kentucky First Lady Judy Patton and breast cancer survivor Tabitha Spencer, RT,, R(M), of Baptist Health Louisville, will speak. Health information booths also will be set up on a variety of topics related to breast cancer.

The event is free but RSVPs are required by calling the Bullitt County Health Department at 502-955-5355.

For more information, contact Pam Temple of the Kentucky Cancer Program at 502-852-6318 or pam.templejennings@louisville.edu.

 

Tackling opioid misuse among older adults

Tackling opioid misuse among older adults

Joe D’Ambrosio instructs a group of students

The majority of older adults take at least one prescription medication daily, and according to 2016 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 500-thousand Medicare Part D beneficiaries take opioids, with the average dose far exceeding the recommended amount. This can lead to health risks such as breathing complications, confusion, drug interaction problems and increased risk of falls.

To help tackle the issue of opioid misuse in older adults, the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at the University of Louisville has been working with individuals in rural Kentucky who are involved in the institute’s Flourish Program, which is designed to deliver interdisciplinary care coordination to those with chronic conditions.

Of the 154 patients who have received services, medication management issues related to opioid prescriptions and interactions with other medications were a factor with more than 90 patients. Medication safety also proved to be a problem, with family members or caregivers taking opioids from patients in at least 10-percent of cases.

The institute recently received supplemental federal funding to their Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant, specifically to expand work in Bullitt, Henry, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties related to opioids and older adults. This effort also will be offered in Jefferson, Barren, Metcalf and Hart counties.

“This additional funding will allow us to dramatically increase our ability to screen for potential opioid misuse and to educate patients, students and practitioners on best practices for pain management for older adults,” said Anna Faul, Ph.D., the institute’s executive director.

Joe D’Ambrosio, Ph.D., the institute’s director of health innovation & sustainability and assistant professor at the UofL School of Medicine will lead an interdisciplinary clinical team of faculty from nursing, social work and counseling psychology to serve as mental health clinicians for the project.

He said the institute is developing a new program to train students and clinicians on how to identify and treat opioid-related substance abuse among older adults. The programming also will be offered to community mental health partners including Centerstone, the region’s largest mental health care provider.

Grants to UofL provide research into connections between green environment and human health

Grants to UofL provide research into connections between green environment and human health

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D.

Besides shade and beauty, can trees and shrubs actually help make people healthier? In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from the University of Louisville Envirome Institute are working with a neighborhood in South Louisville to answer that question.

Today, UofL announced a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to help fund the Green Heart project. The university also announced a $2 million grant from The Nature Conservancy to support the endeavor.

The Green Heart study will look at the connections between a green environment and human health. The institute will study air quality, innovative landscape design, the qualities of a friendly, healthy neighborhood and human health.

“The Green Heart project is the epitome of collaboration,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D. “Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar and his team are bringing together people from not only all of the university, but throughout Louisville and beyond to create a new paradigm for population research that truly has international implications.

“His creative thinking is leading to innovative public-private partnerships that eventually will lead to healthier communities.”

“People appreciate trees and they’re good and they’re aesthetically pleasing, but whether they actually have specific quantifiable health-promoting effects by removing pollutants from air has never been rigorously tested,” said Bhatnagar, director of the Envirome Institute and the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine. “Through the Green Heart project, we are changing that.”

More than half the world’s population resides in urban areas, which have higher than average levels of air pollution. Air pollution is a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease and is linked to 7 million premature deaths worldwide annually, 200,000 in the United States alone.

Bhatnagar and his team will include 16 low-vegetation neighborhood clusters in Louisville to examine the impact of urban greenery on their health. The researchers are recruiting 700 community participants within these 16 clusters for the study. The team will examine blood, urine and hair samples to assess cardiovascular health.

In eight of the clusters, the team and their partners will plant as many as 8,000 native trees of all sizes. Additionally, they will plant shrubbery and grasses to further optimize the ability to filter pollutants from the air.

Two years later, the researchers again will collect samples from the volunteers and analyze the differences. They also will compare the results to those from the participants in the eight neighborhood clusters that did not live in the areas that had the plantings.

“We believe that the greening of the neighborhoods will positively impact not only the air quality, but also the health of the people who live in those areas,” Bhatnagar said. “If we are correct, we may be able to create new strategies for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

“The results of this project also will provide new insights into the effects of urban vegetation on community environment. These findings will be relevant to the development of new public health polices and the optimization of ongoing planting efforts in cities around the world to enhance public health.

The Green Heart Project is a collaborative initiative of the University of Louisville with Washington University in St. Louis; Cornell University, The Nature Conservancy, Hyphae Design Laboratory, the United States Forest Service and other partners. The grant from the National Institutes supports health evaluation of community participants, whereas the greening efforts are supported by the grant from The Nature Conservancy.

 

 

Northeast Kentucky AHEC receives national recognition

Northeast Kentucky AHEC receives national recognition

Northeast Kentucky AHEC Award

The Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (NE KY AHEC) has received the Center of Excellence Award in Distribution at the National AHEC Organization’s biennial conference held July 8-11 in Arlington, Va.

“The work of David Gross and the Northeast AHEC exemplifies the incredible work performed by all of our statewide AHEC programs. We are so fortunate to have this effort recognized on a national level as we seek to close the health care gap in our rural areas,” said R. Brent Wright, M.D., acting statewide program director for Kentucky AHEC and associate dean for rural health innovation, UofL School of Medicine.

The regional center received the honor for its STEPS program. STEPS, or Successfully Training and Educating Pre -medical Students, was created in 2013 to level the playing field for local students interested in applying to medical school. Appalachian Kentucky, including most of the NE KY AHEC’s service region, has a long-standing shortage of physicians.

Studies have shown shortages are partially attributable to factors including Appalachian students’ inadequate academic preparation, limited exposure to health care occupations, low self-confidence and financial considerations. STEPS helps northeast Kentucky students overcome these barriers by providing participants with Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) preparatory courses as well as mock interviews, application process and personal statement tutorials, physician shadowing and other activities aimed at better preparing them for the process of applying to medical school.

“It’s quite an honor to be chosen by our peers for one of only three Center of Excellence awards among the nation’s nearly 250 regional AHECs,” said David Gross, director of the NE KY AHEC. “The purpose of STEPS is to produce not just more, but more competitive, medical school applicants from our region. In part because of this program, we continue to see meaningful increases in the number of local students applying to and being accepted by in-state medical schools.”

Since its creation, three cohorts of students have completed STEPS and the subsequent medical school application/ interview/matriculation cycle. Of the 25 students who met all program requirements, 22 matriculated to medical school.

The NE KY AHEC recently entered into a two-year contract with the Kentucky Primary Care Office to replicate STEPS among the other seven Kentucky AHECs.

About AHEC

AHEC is a collaborative effort of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, the University of Kentucky Medical Center and eight regional centers. The goal of the Kentucky AHEC program is to improve the recruitment, distribution and retention of health care professionals (particularly in primary care) in medically underserved areas throughout the state.

Each regional AHEC center serves a specific geographic area of the state, and is responsible for certain counties in their area.

The University of Louisville serves as the central office for all eight regional centers.

SHPEP summer program lets undergraduates test the waters of professional health education

SHPEP summer program lets undergraduates test the waters of professional health education

SHPEP participant Amanda Fairbairn with an impression of her finger

In the simulation center at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, several dozen undergraduate students are sampling some of the skills they would learn in dental school. The students, part of the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), are getting a glimpse of what life is like in health professions school.

“This was really cool to do. We made impressions of our fingers like they do when they put braces on and mold your teeth,” explained Whitney McKee, a college sophomore from Birmingham, Ala.

McKee is one of 59 undergraduates from around the United States who are spending six weeks at UofL this summer to boost their academic skills, network with health professions students and faculty, and learn about health-care career options. The students, from as far away as California, New York and Puerto Rico, all are interested in pursuing health professional careers after college such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing or other advanced degrees.

Although she is a pre-med student, McKee is still refining her career plans. In SHPEP, she is learning about areas of health care she had not considered before.

“I’m open to anything because I don’t know what specialty I want to do,” McKee said. “I’m looking into dentistry and pharmacy and nursing. It’s given me more information about public health, because we don’t have that kind of program at my school.”

This is the 13th year for the program at UofL, one of 13 campuses across the United States hosting students in SHPEP in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and with direction from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Dental Education Association. The goal of SHPEP is to strengthen academic proficiency and career development skills of students underrepresented in the health professions. Many of the students identify as African American/Black, American Indian and Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino, or come from communities of socioeconomic and educational disadvantage.

“This program really allows the participants to get a bird’s eye view of what professional school will be like,” said Sharon Gordon, M.S., coordinator of the SHPEP program at UofL. “The students are given the opportunity to study a few of the basic science concepts they will need to master in professional school and are taught by professors at the UofL Health Sciences Center. They also interact with other health-care professionals as well as current students during their time here.”

The students stay in dorms on Belknap Campus and are introduced to the UofL schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry and public health, as well as the Sullivan University College of Pharmacy. Along the way, they learn about programs offered at UofL. McKee was surprised to learn UofL offers a Distinction in Global Health Track to students in the School of Medicine.

“You get the opportunity to learn about global health. I never knew that was an option and I’d really like to do that. I’ll definitely be applying [to UofL] but I am an out of state student, so we will see,” McKee said.

Meeting health professionals, potential mentors and like-minded peers is an important benefit for sophomore Alexandria Danielle Lee of the University of South Alabama. She plans to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

“Yesterday, I got to meet an anesthesiologist. Since I’m interested in anesthesia, that was very helpful for me. She said I can come shadow her,” Lee said.

In addition to engaging in rotations in health-care settings and simulations like the one in the School of Dentistry, the students receive academic enrichment in basic sciences, as well as development of study skills, communication, financial literacy, interprofessional education, health equity and health policy.

“In the program, participants learn what they need to do to be prepared for the rigors of professional school,” Gordon said. “Typically, the semester after they leave the program is one of their best based on the academic enrichment they receive through SHPEP.”

Jarvez Ellis, a freshman student from Chowan University in North Carolina, said participation in SHPEP has given him tools to achieve his goal of becoming a physician.

“This program has allowed me to become more focused, clear and confident in my goals and what will be required to get into medical school,” Ellis said.

Lee believes her participation in the program will pay off when she applies to advanced health programs.

“Not everybody wants to spend six weeks of their summer here at a program taking classes,” Lee said. “This program really helps you stand out from other applicants.”

 

 

July 19, 2018

Cancer Awareness Show 2016

Cancer Awareness Show 2016

Spirits were buoyant despite gloomy skies at the Cancer Awareness Show, held May 21 at Hillview Community Center to benefit the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center. Volunteer Richard Luce Jr. organized the event that featured a car and truck show, a model car show, a model train show and an arts and crafts show along with a silent auction, music, food, games and more. Proceeds are still being compiled and will be formally presented at an upcoming meeting of the Hillview City Council. To see all the fun from the event, visit our photo gallery.

James Graham Brown Cancer Center named charity of Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, miniMarathon

James Graham Brown Cancer Center named charity of Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, miniMarathon

The University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center has been selected as an official charity of choice for the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Marathon and miniMarathon set for Saturday, April 25.

The Marathon covers 26.2 miles while the miniMarathon halves the distance at 13.1 miles. Both courses start and end in Downtown Louisville.

To register, complete the registration form and choose the James Graham Brown Cancer Center as your charity of choice. Funds raised by the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation are provided to each official charity. Since the program began in 2005, more than $1.75 million has been raised for participating charities.

Non-runners can support the program as well at the donation website.

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville is the region’s leading academic, research and teaching center devoted to cancer where patients benefit from the latest medical advances. Proceeds from the Marathon and miniMarathon help the Brown Cancer Center continue its mission of finding answers to cancer.

For additional information, contact Patrick Duerr or Linda Damé at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, part of KentuckyOne Health, at 502-562-8021.

School yard becomes latest urban laboratory in Louisville

St. Margaret Mary School will be the site of a new green installation by UofL
School yard becomes latest urban laboratory in Louisville

These current and projected site photos of the Louisville Green for Good project show how new plantings will provide a green buffer for St. Margaret Mary.

May 19, 2016

A local school has joined a landmark health research project headed by the University of Louisville designed to use nature to tackle the health impact of busy city streets.

St. Margaret Mary School, 7813 Shelbyville Road, is the new site of an experiment designed to use trees and shrubs to create a living filter for roadway air pollution. The project will be a model for metro-wide "greening" projects that use our environment to improve health.

The Louisville Green for Good project is a collaboration among the Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Louisville, The Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil and the City of Louisville’s Office of Sustainability.

The current levels of air pollution at the school will be measured and then half of the school’s front yard will be filled with a green buffer of shrubs, deciduous trees and pines. Then the team will measure air pollution levels a second time. The goal is to test the idea that a greener neighborhood is a healthier neighborhood.

“This project has the potential to improve the health of nearby students and residents for years to come by improving local air quality," said Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine and director of the University of Louisville Diabetes and Obesity Center. “St. Margaret Mary was chosen due to its location which is close to a high traffic roadway. The school also includes a spacious lawn that allows for the addition of foliage, which will act as an air-cleansing barrier between the school and the street.”

Mayor Greg Fischer said, “I am committed to helping Louisville become a greener and healthier place to live – and, I’m a data guy. So I’m excited that this project will provide the data we need to move forward on our sustainability goals for the city.”

St. Margaret Mary Principal Wendy Sims said she isexcited about this project for the parish, school and community.

“In his encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si’,’ Our Holy Father Pope Francis reminds us that ‘we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and for the world, and that being good and decent are worth it...social love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and to encourage a “culture of care” which permeates all of society’,” Sims said. “This project is a wonderful lesson for our students, faculty, and parents about how to foster such a culture of care, now and for future generations.”

Air monitoring will start this summer. The trees and shrubs will arrive in October with a second round of air monitoring taking place later this year. Students will participate in the monitoring work.

In addition to tracking certain pollutants, the project team will collect data on traffic and weather.

The project includes ecology experts from around the country with deep understanding of air pollution and the power of plants.

Funding comes from the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.

The research effort is a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. The grant was matched with $50,000 from the Owsley Brown Charitable Foundation and $25,000 from an anonymous donor in Louisville. The Institute for Healthy Air, Water, and Soil received the funds and will be managing the project.

New UofL chair for pathology

New UofL chair for pathology

Eyas Hattab, M.D.

Eyas Hattab, M.D., M.B.A, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and neurological surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine, will be appointed as the new chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the UofL School of Medicine, said that Hattab’s appointment will begin Jan. 1, 2016.

“We are very excited to have a physician researcher and leader of the caliber of Dr. Hattab join us at the University of Louisville School of Medicine,” Ganzel said. “He brings with him extensive experience as a clinician, educator, researcher and leader that will enable us to continue our upward trajectory as a premier metropolitan research institution.”

Hattab is currently the vice chair of education for pathology and laboratory medicine at Indiana University and serves as the director of the residency program. He joined Indiana University in 2002 and has risen through the ranks during the past 13 years.

Hattab earned his medical degree from Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, Jordan. He completed his residency in combined anatomic and clinical pathology at the University of Florida Health Science Center – Jacksonville, where he also served as chief resident. He then performed a fellowship in neuropathology at Stanford University Medical Center and surgical pathology fellowship at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis.

Hattab also earned his Business of Medicine M.B.A. from Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

With a research interest in the diseases and abnormalities of the central nervous system, Hattab has authored more than 80 scientific writings and has been an invited speaker at highly prestigious national and international meetings. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Modern Pathology and reviewer of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute Consensus Committee on Quality Systems and Laboratory Practices. Hattab is an active member of the neuropathology community and serves on several national committees governing the field, including chairing the College of American Pathologists Neuropathology Committee, the CAP Cancer Biomarker Reporting Committee (CBRC) CNS panel and the Lower Grade Gliomas Disease Working Group of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project, the National Cancer Institute.

 

Casey named chair of psychiatry, behavioral sciences at UofL

Casey named chair of psychiatry, behavioral sciences at UofL

David Casey, M.D.

David A. Casey, M.D., has been named chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He has served as interim chair since Jan. 1.

“The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UofL is known for its robust program in academic psychiatry across all areas of education, research and clinical care,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., MBA, dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Casey’s expertise in leading the department to continued growth.”

Casey, a professor in the department, has served as senior vice chair and head of clinical services, charged with oversight of the patient care activities of the department. Previously, he was director of the geriatric psychiatric program and he practices as a geriatric psychiatrist with University of Louisville Physicians. He joined the faculty in 1985.

In addition to his clinical service, Casey trains psychiatry residents on topics such as psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychopathology and administrative psychiatry. His interests include Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, geriatric depression, psychiatric education and the history of psychiatry, on which he has lectured and published. He also serves as an editor of Psychiatrists In-Practice Examinationof the American College of Psychiatrists, an evaluation tool that provides comprehensive self-assessment of professional skills for practicing psychiatrists.

Casey received his undergraduate degree in biology with honors and his medical degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Louisville.  He completed his psychiatric residency training at the University of Washington School of Medicine where he served as chief resident. He earned board certification in general psychiatry in 1988 and in geriatric psychiatry in 1991.

Casey’s appointment was approved by the UofL Board of Trustees at its Oct. 8 meeting.

Latest treatments for depression discussed Oct. 15

Building Hope Lecture Series features UofL Depression Center director
Latest treatments for depression discussed Oct. 15

Jesse Wright, M.D., Ph.D.

“What Works for Depression” will be presented at the next “Building Hope” lecture sponsored by the University of Louisville Depression Center. Speaking will be Jesse H. Wright, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Depression Center and professor and vice chair for academic affairs of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the UofL School of Medicine.

The program will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 15, in Room 251 of Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Rd. Admission is free.

The program will examine the most effective methods for treating clinical depression, including effective treatment methods for people who find themselves stuck in a depressive state. Wright also will answer audience members’ questions about treatment for depression.

Recent research indicates clinical depression is a topic Kentuckians are familiar with, either from firsthand experience or through a family member or friend. A 2014 study found that Kentucky is ranked third in the United States for incidence of depression, with 23.5 percent of adult Kentuckians experiencing depression at some point during their lives, compared to 18 percent nationally.

Wright is well-known in the psychiatric profession as an authority on depression and cognitive behavioral therapy. He has authored award-winning books for both mental health professionals and the general public, the most recent being “Breaking Free from Depression: Pathways to Wellness.” He was founding president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, is a Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists and is a past recipient of UofL’s Distinguished Educator of the Year Award.

The University of Louisville Depression Center is Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education. It is a charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, a consortium of leading depression centers that develops and fosters connections among members to advance scientific discovery and provide stigma-free, evidence-based care to patients with depressive and bipolar illnesses.

For more information, contact the Depression Center at 502-588-4450.

 

 

Stanford medicine chair to present 'Cardiovascular Clinical Research in the U.S.: Realities, Challenges and Opportunities'

22nd Annual Leonard Leight Lecture set for Sept. 30
Stanford medicine chair to present 'Cardiovascular Clinical Research in the U.S.: Realities, Challenges and Opportunities'

Robert Harrington, M.D.

Robert Harrington, M.D., chair and Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, will deliver the 22nd Annual Leonard Leight Lecture at the University of Louisville. The address will be held at noon, Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart and Lung Center Conference Center, 16th Floor, 201 Abraham Flexner Way.

Harrington will present “Cardiovascular Clinical Research in the U.S.: Realities, Challenges and Opportunities.” Admission is free and continuing medical and nursing education credit is available. For details, contact 852-1162.

The Leonard Leight Lecture is presented annually by the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. For 30 years until 1996, Leight was a practicing cardiologist in Louisville and played a major role in developing cardiology services and bringing innovative treatment modalities in heart disease to Louisville. The Leonard Leight Lecture series was established in 1994 and is made possible by gifts from Dr. and Mrs. Kurt Ackermann and Medical Center Cardiologists to the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.

Harrington is an interventional cardiologist and experienced clinical investigator in the area of heart disease. At Stanford, he leads a department of 220 faculty members in 14 divisions.

Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, Harrington spent five years as the director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, regarded as the world’s largest academic clinical research organization. The institute has conducted studies in 65 countries while building diverse research programs in clinical trials and health services research. He joined the faculty at Duke in 1993.

As a clinical investigator, he has worked primarily in the area of acute ischemic heart disease, or heart disease resulting from restricted blood flow to the heart muscle. He has established clinical research collaborations that involve investigators from around the world.