UofL Health Sciences Center holds first ‘Thank A Donor Day’ Oct. 14

UofL Health Sciences Center holds first ‘Thank A Donor Day’ Oct. 14

The University of Louisville Health Sciences Center will show appreciation to supporters who have provided donations to the institution in the inaugural “Thank A Donor Day” event on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The celebration will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the HSC Quad, located on South Preston Street between Kornhauser Library and the HSC Instructional Building.

Students, faculty and staff will sign a large sign at the event expressing thanks to donors. They also will create video and photo messages of gratitude, said Eileen Chapoton, UofL director of donor relations. These messages will be shared with donors throughout the coming year. They and the public also can share messages of thanks and follow news of the day’s events on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #UofLThanks.

The messages will show appreciation for all types of support provided to the HSC: endowed chairs and professorships, scholarships, funding for research and facilities, sponsorships and other donations to student, faculty and staff groups, and more.

“Thank a Donor Day gives the University of Louisville community an opportunity to publicly thank our many benefactors,” Chapoton said.  “As funding from public sources has decreased over the past decade, private donations now and in the future are critical for UofL if we are to be competitive in attracting the finest students, faculty and staff.”

An identical “Thanks A Donor Day” event will be held in the Humanities Quad on UofL’s Belknap Campus on Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For details on both events, contact 502-852-5064 or visit the Thank A Donor Day website.


Oct. 1, 2015




Scholar to discuss diseases, epidemics in ancient Mesopotamia

Scholar to discuss diseases, epidemics in ancient Mesopotamia

Walter Farber

A scholar who works on decoding civilization’s earliest forms of writing will speak Thursday, Sept. 24 at the University of Louisville about new clues into ancient life.

University of Chicago Professor of Assyriology Emeritus Walter Farber, Ph.D., will discuss “Diseases and Epidemics in Ancient Mesopotamia: Medical Conceptualization and Responses.”

Farber’s free, public lecture will begin at 4 p.m. in Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium on UofL's Beknap campus. The College of Arts and Sciences’ Liberal Studies Project is the event sponsor.

Farber is curator of the tablet collection at UChicago's Oriental Institute. He continues his academic writing since his 2013 retirement from UChicago’s Near Eastern languages and civilizations department, where he had worked since 1980.

He has published texts of cuneiform, or inscriptions made by using reed tools to press marks into damp clay tablets. Scholars continue to scour such artifacts to decipher signs from ancient languages for glimpses into Mesopotamian life.

For more information, contact John Hale at 502-852-2248 or

Specialized nurses keep the focus on stroke care at UofL Hospital

“We are the string that ties the story together”
Specialized nurses keep the focus on stroke care at UofL Hospital

Deidra Gottbrath, R.N., B.S.N.

When a patient comes into the emergency room at University of Louisville Hospital with symptoms of a stroke, they benefit from a team of specially trained nurses dedicated to ensuring they receive the appropriate care quickly. In cases of stroke, time is brain!

As the state’s first Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, UofL Hospital meets the highest standards of stroke care, and continually raises the bar. Prompt treatment with intravenous Alteplase (IV t-PA) is associated with better outcomes, lower mortality and shorter length of stay for patients with ischemic stroke. One of the key stroke treatment guidelines established by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association is the administration of IV t-PA within 60 minutes of arrival at the hospital for patients with ischemic stroke. The staff at UofL Hospital continually works to improve this time, aiming to deliver IV t-PA to eligible patients within 45 minutes.  

Deidra Gottbrath, R.N., B.S.N., leads a team of specialized stroke clinical resource nurses on staff at UofL Hospital to help ensure that eligible stroke patients receive IV-tPA as quickly as possible. It can be challenging to determine whether a patient’s symptoms are due to a stroke or another condition. Gottbrath, who is certified in critical care and stroke care, provides the added resource to help expedite this process.

“From the moment we start participating in care, the ultimate focus becomes treating the stroke. That sounds simple, but there are a lot of complex cases that involve stroke symptoms,” Gottbrath said. “We don’t wait until we are sure it is a stroke before we apply that urgency. We focus on treating every case with stroke symptoms as though it is a stroke until we firmly rule out a stroke and let go of that urgency.”

Paula Gisler, R.N., Ph.D., is director of the UofL Hospital Stroke Program and helped define the stroke clinical resource nurses’ role. “These nurses are a resource to patients and physicians to drive care for all stroke patients. They do whatever it takes to get stroke patients appropriate care to achieve the best outcomes.”

The stroke clinical resource nurse supports emergency room nurses to assess potential stroke patients, facilitate scans, get IV-tPA medication prepared, and work with family members. They keep lines of communication flowing among emergency room nurses, doctors, the stroke team, the radiology staff and other providers.

“We are the string that ties the story together so it makes a complete circle, rather than leaving threads that might be woven together later,” Gottbrath said. “Because we focus solely on that one patient and situation, because that is our priority, we can offer the resource of locating family members to get the full story to get the patient treatment.”

Gottbrath and the other stroke clinical resource nurses follow patients beyond the emergency room, advocating for patients and keeping the lines of communication open throughout their stay. They provide education for patients and their families, as well as bedside nurses who care for stroke patients outside of the stroke unit.

“We are involved in the daily discussions of what type of rehab is appropriate for a patient and communicating that back to the families,” Gottbrath said. “We are there from the scariest moment to looking forward to going home or to rehab. We see the full circle of care.”

Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UofL Hospital Stroke Center and chair of the UofL Department of Neurology, says Gottbrath and her colleagues are invaluable assets to stroke care.

“Deidra and the other stroke clinical resource nurses provide an exceptional service to our patients,” Remmel said. “They are vital in keeping the focus on stroke care for those patients and making the connections that have led to even more improvements in the care we provide.”

Gottbrath and Tina Walsh, R.N., B.S.N., another stroke clinical resource nurse at UofL Hospital, compiled research data showing that since the introduction of stroke clinical operations nurses in 2016, door-to-needle times at UofL Hospital have shortened by an average of 2.5 minutes for eligible patients receiving IV t-PA at the hospital. In addition, eligible patients receiving IV t-PA within 45 minutes of arrival increased from 37 to 49 percent. Gottbrath presented the data at the International Stroke Conference earlier this year.

Although the UofL program does not yet have stroke nurses on duty around the clock, having these nurses in the hospital has led to faster door-to-needle times even when a stroke nurse is not in the building.

“This position has encouraged and educated the staff so that even when we are not physically present, stroke care is fresh on people’s minds – they remember the urgency of it,” Gottbrath said.

Gisler expects UofL Hospital will have a stroke clinical resource nurses on duty around the clock by the end of 2018.

A native of southern Indiana, Gottbrath originally planned to become a physician, but she did not  feel as engaged in that career path as she expected. She followed her sister’s suggestion to try nursing and discovered it gave her the interaction with patients that she enjoyed.

“As I delved into it, I felt more connected to nursing,” she said. “The minute I started nursing school I thought, ‘This is what I’ve been missing. This is the connection to medicine I always wanted.’”

“Every day is so different and so challenging but so rewarding. Now I can’t image doing something different."


More about stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked (ischemic) or ruptures (hemorrhagic), causing a loss of blood flow to the brain. In cases of ischemic stroke, the “clot-busting” drug, Alteplase (t-PA), delivered intravenously within hours of the stroke, can provide brain-saving relief, which can prevent death or result in improved recovery for the patient.

To learn more about recognizing stroke and stroke treatment guidelines, visit the American Stroke Association.


 May 23, 2018

Society of Toxicology recognizes lifetime achievement of John Pierce Wise, Sr.

Society of Toxicology recognizes lifetime achievement of John Pierce Wise, Sr.

John Pierce Wise, Sr., Ph.D., receives the Career Achievement Award

A researcher whose work has substantially advanced the understanding of metals toxicology, John Pierce Wise, Sr., Ph.D., University Scholar and professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, has received the Career Achievement Award from the Society of Toxicology (SOT) Metals Specialty Section.

The award, presented at the SOT’s annual meeting held last month in San Antonio, recognizes the outstanding achievement of a researcher, mentor and leader in the field of toxicology.

Wise was nominated by Max Costa, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Medicine at NYU School of Medicine.

Costa says Wise’s influence in the education, training and mentorship of young scientists in the field of metals toxicology is “unequivocal.”

Wise has served as primary mentor for more than 40 doctoral and masters level students, while guiding nearly 90 undergraduate and  60 high school students in the field of biomedical and environmental research. He received the SOT Education award in 2016.

His research focuses on mechanistic toxicology with an emphasis on metal carcinogenesis and the “One Health” concept that human health, animal health and ecosystem health are intertwined and interdependent.

“Dr. Wise’s work has led to important advances in metal-induced genotoxicity, DNA repair and chromosome instability,” Costa said. “He is leading the effort to understand how metals can induce DNA breaks while suppressing their repair. In addition, he is a pioneer in the effort to understand how metals impact centrosome biology.”

The breadth of Wise’s work is exemplified through research in human cells as well as cells from other species including fish, whales, sea turtles and sea lions. In addition to bench science, Wise has lead field efforts to study the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis on resident whale species, the impact of metals on whales in the Gulf of Maine, and the conservation of sea turtles in Vieques, Puerto Rico.


The Society of Toxicology (SOT) is a professional and scholarly organization of more than 7,800 scientists from academic institutions, government and industry in the U.S. and abroad. The Metals Specialty Section is one of the organization’s 28 subgroups.

April 9, 2018

History and future of vaccines the topic of next Beer with a Scientist Oct. 28

What was the world like before vaccines, and what would happen without them now?
History and future of vaccines the topic of next Beer with a Scientist Oct. 28

Ruth Carrico, Ph.D., R.N.

At the next Beer with a Scientist event, Ruth Carrico, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor of medicine at the University of Louisville and the associate founding director of the Global Health Initiative, will discuss life before vaccines, what life would be like without them now and what we can expect in the future. This month’s event is held in conjunction with Research!Louisville.

“We will focus on the history of infectious diseases and their impact on society as well as what vaccines have done for us in terms of health and disease prevention. The emphasis will be on smallpox, polio, flu, childhood diseases and pneumonia,” said Carrico, who also is a family nurse practitioner, a fellow of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and clinical director of the Vaccine and International Travel Center.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28 at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session. The timing coincides with the 20th annual Research!Louisville conference, taking place October 27-30 throughout the city.

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.

Research!Louisville, an annual conference that highlights research conducted by the institutions in the Louisville Medical Center, is sponsored by the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, University of Louisville Hospital/KentuckyOne Health, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation/KentuckyOne Health and Norton Healthcare. For the full schedule of presentations, go

October 19, 2015

Finding the right stuff

Research!Louisville keynoter to discuss how the Law of the Few can lead to improved health
Finding the right stuff

Clay Marsh, M.D.

To effectively improve the health of people and the delivery of health care, you don’t need everything – just the right things.

That is the premise behind the keynote address at Research!Louisville, to be presented at 1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, by Clay B. Marsh, M.D., vice president and executive dean of health sciences at West Virginia University. Admission is free to the event which will be held in Rooms 101/102 of the Kosair Charities Clinical & Translational Research Building at the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, 505 S. Hancock St.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Research!Louisville is an annual conference that highlights research conducted by the institutions in the Louisville Medical Center. Research!Louisville will be held Oct. 27-30 in several locations in the medical center area.

Marsh will present “Leveraging Nature to Create an Anti-Fragile Health Care System: From Black Swans to the Marines.” His address will focus on issues uncovered in the asymmetry found in complex systems, or as author Malcolm Gladwell postulated in his 2002 book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, the Law of the Few.

Gladwell noted that achieving a result – such as making something go viral – requires “connectors,” or people who know many others; “mavens,” people who know the best things; and “salespeople,” people who try things first. With the right grouping of connectors, mavens and salespeople, you don’t need to involve everyone, just the “right” ones to achieve your result.

“This Law of the Few extends to all systems in nature,” Marsh said. “Only a few elements out of many are most important. In health, for example, although a complex series of events define every individual’s health status, one very simple approach is to examine the natural process that makes each of us less healthy: aging.

“In this paradigm, the things that indicate a lower biological age improve health. Things that indicate an elevated biological age decrease health.” From that perspective, Marsh said, we can identify those behaviors and activities that foster health and wellness.

Marsh will discuss how the Law of the Few also can help lead to novel designs in new health care systems that both learn from and meet the needs of people. Health care providers are advised to create systems that embrace and benefit from volatility, and change the model of care from an emphasis on disease to one on health.

“By identifying the key elements that identify health – what it means to be a healthy person – we begin to know how to create the social systems needed to nudge behavior to health and measure it at a personal level,” he said.

Research!Louisville is sponsored by the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, University of Louisville Hospital/KentuckyOne Health, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation/KentuckyOne Health and Norton Healthcare.

For the full schedule of presentations, go

Annual UofL Geriatrics Symposium provides up-to-date interdisciplinary information on care of older adults

The University of Louisville Geriatrics Symposium, sponsored by the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging, is a regional resource for up-to-date training and information regarding the care of older adults. The annual event is part of Optimal Aging Month during September and will be held Friday, Sept. 18, from 7:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m. at the Founders Building on UofL’s Shelbyhurst campus, 312 N. Whittington Parkway.

This year’s event is titled “Maximizing Independence for Optimal Aging.” Cost to attend is $150 for physicians; $125 for all other health care professionals; and $35 for medical residents and students. Continuing education credit is available. Registration is available on the conference website.

The world’s population, including in the United States, is aging at an exponential rate. Currently there are only 7,162 allopathic and osteopathic certified geriatricians in the United States. This translates to one geriatrician for every 2,620 Americans over 75 years old.

The projected increase in the number of older Americans is expected to change this ratio to one geriatrician for every 3,798 older Americans in 2030. Due to the projected shortfall of experts in geriatrics to provide for the rapidly aging U.S. population, it is necessary for all providers to have some exposure and ideally expert training in geriatrics principles in order to fulfill the increasing need to provide care for older adults.

The University of Louisville Annual Geriatrics Symposium is a daylong event that  offers an interdisciplinary audience immersion in geriatric training skills. The symposium presents the most updated skills training and theories on varied topics related to the care of the geriatric patient. It is designed for a broad multidisciplinary audience including physicians, nurses, dentists, nurse practitioners, social workers, long-term care professionals, in-home care providers to elders and anyone involved in the care of elder Americans.

Speakers include:

  • David Morris, Ph.D., Interim Chair and Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Belinda Setters, M.D. , Director, Mobile Acceptable Clinical Evidence Unit  and Transitional Care, Robley Rex VA Medical Center, Louisville
  • Kathy Shireman, R.N., Director of Clinical Services, Episcopal Church Home, Louisville
  • Demetra Antimisiaris, Pharm.D., Associate Professor, UofL Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Christian Furman, M.D., Vice Chair, Geriatric Medicine and Professor, Geriatric and Palliative Medicine, UofL Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, and Interim Medical Director, UofL Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging
  • Amelia R. Kiser, M.D., Assistant Professor, UofL Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, Glasgow, Ky.
  • Mike Mansfield, D.M.D., Assistant Professor, UofL Department of General Dentistry and Oral Medicine
  • Benjamin Mast, Ph.D., Vice Chair and Associate Professor, UofL Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • Laura Morton, M.D., Assistant Professor, UofL Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine
  • Daniela Neamtu, M.D., Assistant Professor, UofL Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine
  • Gustavo Oliveira, D.D.S., Assistant Professor, UofL Department of Dentistry and Oral Health
  • Mary Romelfanger, R.N., Associate Director, UofL Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging

Romelfanger is course director of the conference. For more information, visit the conference website.


Posted 09-16-15

UofL medical education innovations showcased at national conference

Programs addressing interprofessional education, human trafficking and emergency resuscitation team performance are highlighted at AAMC conference
UofL medical education innovations showcased at national conference

Monica Ann Shaw, M.D.

Educators from the University of Louisville School of Medicine are sharing two successful programs with medical educators from around the nation today at the 2015 Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Medical Education Meeting. Two teams are delivering presentations at the Baltimore event, and an educational grant will be announced for an interdisciplinary training program for internal medicine residents.

“The recent curriculum revision at the UofL School of Medicine has been a catalyst for multiple innovative approaches to medical education. We are committed to developing best practices in medical education and translating those practices to meet the needs of our immediate community by improving patient care,” said Monica Ann Shaw, M.D., M.A., vice dean for undergraduate medical education for the UofL School of Medicine. “I am very proud of the momentum we are gaining in educational scholarship and am proud of my colleagues and the University of Louisville’s presence at this national conference."

Members of UofL’s Interdisciplinary Curriculum for Oncology Palliative Care Education (iCOPE) Council will detail the program for training medical, nursing, social work and chaplaincy students in interprofessional palliative care education. Presenters Shaw, Leslee Martin, M.A., director of medical education, and Susan Sawning, M.S.S.W., director of medical education research, will share the details of iCOPE, developed with a grant from the National Cancer Institute. Surveys of 758 students reveal the program significantly improves the students’ palliative care knowledge, skills and self-efficacy related to working in teams.

In another session, Olivia Mittel, M.D., and Carrie Bohnert, M.P.A., are presenting a program that helps medical students learn to identify and assist victims of human trafficking. Mittel, assistant dean of student affairs, and Bohnert, director of the standardized patient program, developed a training unit for medical students that utilized a standardized patient encounter and an online learning module to teach the students to identify victims of human sex trafficking, communicate with suspected victims and refer victims to safety. This program addresses the fact that although 400,000 Americans are at risk for exploitation each year, only 10 percent of doctors will recognize trafficking victims.

Finally, Lorrel Brown, M.D., associate director of UofL’s Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Program, has been awarded a grant from the Southern Group on Educational Affairs for her curriculum that improves resuscitation effectiveness through team simulations. The program, called “Code Blue,” brings together internal medicine residents, nurses, respiratory therapists and pharmacy residents to learn as a team to respond more effectively in actual “code blue” events. The grant will be announced during the conference.


November 12, 2015

Physician, educate thyself (online)

UofL website now offers Continuing Medical Education credit
Physician, educate thyself (online)

This screenshot shows the opening of “Analyzing the Accuracy of Cardiac Risk Calculators with Dr. DeFilippis,” one of 17 new CME-accredited video lectures available on

A free, open access medical education website launched by the University of Louisville Department of Medicine last year has added Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit for some video lectures it offers. Annual CME is required for physicians to maintain their licensure. has launched 17 lectures that provide CME credit, said chief resident Michael Burk, M.D., founder and managing director of the site. The Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development at the UofL School of Medicine certifies the lectures so that they meet national and state requirements.

“We’ve worked with faculty from throughout the UofL School of Medicine to bring a variety of CME-accredited lectures online,” Burk said. “We will continue to add more CME-accredited lectures as time goes on.”

The 17 CME-accredited lectures are:

  • Acute and Chronic Diarrhea
  • Acute Kidney Injury
  • Acute Pancreatitis
  • Adrenal Disorders
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Anemia
  • Antibiotics Review I
  • Aortic Stenosis/Valvular Principles
  • Bradyarrhythmias
  • Calcium Homeostasis
  • Cardiovascular Risk Predictors
  • C. Difficile
  • Electrolyte Emergencies
  • Emergency Arrhythmias 101
  • Internist's Approach to Gastrointestinal Cancers
  • Pneumonia in Many Forms
  • Sodium, Potassium and Diuretics
  • The lectures are available in four formats: online at; on YouTube; via iTunes podcast; and via Android podcast.

    As with the 100 lectures currently available from, the 17 CME-accredited lectures are provided to the general public free of charge. After viewing a CME-accredited lecture, physicians can click the “claim your CME credit” link to register their completion and obtain the credit. Each CME-accredited lecture hour is $9.99, payable online.

    While never intended to replace traditional residency education, augments the availability and accessibility of medical education, Burk said.

    “We want to give providers a reliable source of online CME-accredited programs that they can view at their convenience,” Burk said. “The online format also enables us to update content more rapidly than in a traditional didactic lecture presentation, helping providers stay abreast of the latest advances in medical care.”

    The intricate web of environment and health is keynote topic at Research!Louisville

    Director of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to speak at Research!Louisville on the institute’s role in human health
    The intricate web of environment and health is keynote topic at Research!Louisville

    Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.

    Research at the University of Louisville and throughout the nation continually improves our understanding of how exposures to metals and other substances in the environment affect people’s health across their lifespan. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) aims to enhance society’s ability to maintain healthy environments by ensuring that individuals and communities have access to the best scientific information. Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program, will discuss environmental research and the role of the NIEHS in human health at UofL on Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. as the keynote speaker of Research!Louisville.

    Research!Louisville is the annual exposition of health-related research in the Louisville Medical Center. The 2016 event, scheduled for Oct. 11-14, will include showcases of scientific research, lectures and activities for scientists of all ages.

    Investigators from high school through professional faculty will present their research in five poster sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Awards for top research presentations will be announced on Friday following the keynote address by Birnbaum.

    Other events during the week include:

    • Kentucky Science Center – S.T.E.M. careers – More than 200 high school students will be introduced to science careers through interactive sessions in which they will take a patient history, engage in patient-interaction role-play with standardized patients, and practice suturing in a workshopcourtesy of the UofL School of Medicine Standardized Patient Program and the Paris Simulation Center. Students also will have the opportunity to interact with the operating room at KentuckyOne Health in "Pulse in Surgery,” in which students observe a live-streamed open-heart surgery while asking questions of the operating room staff in real time. Sessions are Wednesday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m at the Kentucky Science Center.
    • Beer with a Scientist – The leading-edge ways researchers and clinicians are diagnosing and curing cancer right here in Louisville. Wednesday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m. at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St.
    • Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Children's Health – Health inequities among children result in poorer quality of life for individuals in our nation. Glenn Flores, M.D., Distinguished Chair of Health Policy Research at the Medica Research Institute, a Research Affiliate in the Department of Health Sciences Research at the Mayo Clinic, will speak on “Racial and ethnic disparities in children’s health and health care and their successful elimination.” Thursday, Oct. 13, noon-2 p.m. in room 101 of the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building (KCCTRB).
    • InNet – The new online matchmaking tool to help UofL investigators match their skills with potential collaborators in industry and research will host a launch party on Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. in room 101 of KCCTRB.
    • Science and Innovation in the Public Interest - Karen Kashmanian Oates, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and dean of Arts & Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, will discuss science and innovation in the public interest. She will explore the role of educators in not only imparting knowledge to students, but helping them understand how to use that knowledge to benefit society. Thursday, Oct. 13, at 10:30 a.m. in room 124 of KCCTRB.
    • Clinical/Translational Research Summit – A dozen areas of clinical and translational research will be highlighted with 10-minute presentations. Areas include cancer, cardiology, cardio-thoracic surgery, biomarkers, personalized medicine, gastro-intestinal metabolism, dentistry, infectious diseases, public health, nursing, neurosciences/spinal cord injury and transplant. The event is sponsored by UofL, KentuckyOne Health, Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) and the Chi Institute for Research and Innovation (CIRI). Friday, Oct. 14, 8 a.m. – noon in room 101 of KCCTRB.

    For additional information, poster abstract booklet and a program of events for the 21st annual Research!Louisville, visit

    UofL launches the Envirome Institute with $5M gift

    UofL launches the Envirome Institute with $5M gift

    Circle of Harmony and Health

    TheUniversity of Louisville today announced the first multimillion dollar gift of President Neeli Bendapudi’s tenure to establish the Envirome Institute at the School of Medicine.The gift, $5 million, fromthe Owsley Brown II Family Foundation, supports the first institute dedicated to the study of the human envirome. Taking a holistic approach to researching how the human-environment interrelationship impacts peoples’ lives, the institute will build on the pioneering work of Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the institute’s director, in the field of environmental cardiology. The institute will incorporate community engagement and citizen science to introduce a singular, new approach to the study of health.

    Twenty-five years ago, the Human Genome Project completed the first map of our genetic code, revealing how our genes relate to our health, and potentially our susceptibility to disease. Built on a new vision of health, the Envirome Institute pioneers actionable knowledge about all forms of health and how they are affected by the environment beyond genomics. This gift from Brown catalyzes existing resources and adds new capabilities toward the ambitious, long-term mission of studying the human envirome with the same precision and rigor applied to decoding the human genome.

    “All of us at the University of Louisville are grateful to Christina Lee Brown for the trust she has put in us to tackle such a large and complex idea as how our broad environment impacts our lives,” Bendapudi said. “Her generosity will enable our group of researchers, staff and students to explore new concepts associated with exploring the elements of a single person’s overall environment and determine how that affects their lives. The impact this will have will be felt well beyond Louisville.”

    “This isn’t just the University of Louisville’s Human Envirome Institute. It is Louisville’s Human Envirome Institute,” Brown said, “Each of us, individually, must put health, broadly understood, in the center of all of our public and private efforts. And we are encouraged by the will and determination of the new president, Neeli Bendapudi, to immediately step in and support the Institute’s efforts and importance to both the city of Louisville and the university.”

    “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity — the University of Louisville serves as the perfect home for this new unique, holistic, interdisciplinary, educational model. It is truly a world-class organization,” Bhatnagar said.

    The institute will open a door to a healthier future in Louisville and across the globe. The research of Bhatnagar and colleagues has pioneered the field of environmental cardiology and begun to uncover the important influence of the environment on heart disease. The institute, by studying the relationship of our health to the natural and the social world around us, will amplify the potential of this broad and promising territory.

    Humans live in complex, variable and diverse environments that are fashioned by their unique mix of history, culture and social organization. Until recently, we lacked the material and conceptual tools required for studying the health effects of the natural, social, cultural and economic dimensions of the human environment as a whole. As in the graphic Circle of Harmony and Health (below), health should be understood holistically as psychological, intellectual, spiritual, cultural, nutritional, economic and environmental health.

    This institute serves as a unifying capstone organization over several existing centers including the Diabetes and Obesity Center, the Superfund Research Center and the Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center. Together these centers have successfully attracted more than $100 million in extramural funds over the past decade. This new interdisciplinary, connected institute creates new potential to expand those resources significantly. Additionally, a Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil will be established within the Envirome Institute to advance the work that the Louisville community began five years ago.

    The Envirome Institute also introduces a more public science and opens a welcoming door for the residents of Louisville. Enviromics can involve the participation of whole communities in the process of data collection as well as in the benefits from health initiatives that may be free or subsidized. As part of a medical institution, the institute is committed to healing and helping turn discovery into actionable change, with Louisville as a living, urban laboratory.



    More about Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D.

    The newly appointed director of the Envirome Institute, Bhatnagar is the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine. He also is director of two University of Louisville centers, which now fall under his leadership within the Envirome Institute – the Diabetes and Obesity Center and the American Heart Association Tobacco Research and Addiction Center.

    Bhatnagar’s work has led to the creation of the new field of environmental cardiology. His studies show how pollution affects the heart and blood vessels and how exposure to polluted air affects the risk of obesity and diabetes. His research, supported by several grants from the National Institutes of Health, has led to the publication of more than 250 research papers and 20 book chapters. He has mentored 55 students, fellows and trainees.


    More about Christina Lee Brown, Activist & Philanthropist

    Christy Brown is a global leader in creating new ways to empower “citizen scientists” to lead healthier lives by advocating for a culture of health using nature as the standard and encouraging all decisions to be made through the lens of health. She believes passionately in the potential of urban and rural communities to effect positive change by working together, at the same time celebrating their commonalities and differences.

    Having a strong passion for community led Christy to become a co-founding board member of the Berry Center. Its mission is to accept no permanent damage to the ecosphere, taking the human health of local communities into consideration.

    Understanding that healthy air, water and soil are the keys to the health of all life, Christy founded the Institute for Healthy Air, Water & Soil in 2014. As the institute began to lean into its work, a bigger mission began to occur all around, attracting both local and national ambassadors. The work of the Institute for Healthy Air, Water & Soil will transition into the newly founded Center for Healthy Air, Water & Soil. 


    Located across Belknap Campus and the Health Sciences Center, the Envirome Institute will provide an umbrella for the following centers:

    • Diabetes and Obesity Center
    • Center for Integrated Environmental Health Sciences
    • American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center
    • Superfund Research Center
    • Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil
    • Center for Environmental Policy and Management
    • Center for Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences




    June 19, 2018 [Updated centers list 8/30/2019]

    UofL research finds depressive symptoms linked to shorter survival in patients with head and neck cancer

    UofL research finds depressive symptoms linked to shorter survival in patients with head and neck cancer

    Liz Cash, Ph.D.

    In a study of patients with head and neck cancer, even mild depressive symptoms were associated with poorer overall survival. Published early online today in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings indicate that patients should be screened and treated for depressive symptoms at the time of diagnosis. In addition, studies should examine parallel biological pathways linking depression to cancer survival.

    Many patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer experience symptoms of depression, which can make it difficult for them to manage treatment side effects, quit smoking, or maintain adequate nutrition or sleep habits. A team led by Elizabeth Cash, Ph.D., of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, was interested to see if depressive symptoms might also affect patients’ health outcomes.

    The researchers studied 134 patients with head and neck cancers being treated at the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center multidisciplinary head and neck clinic from October 2012 to October 2013 who reported depressive symptoms during the planning of their treatment. In this group, 67.2 percent expressed measureable depressive symptoms. When the investigators examined the patients’ clinical data over the following two years, they found that patients with greater depressive symptoms had shorter survival, higher rates of chemo-radiation interruption, and poorer treatment response.

    “We observed that head and neck cancer patients who reported more depressive symptoms at their initial appointment were more likely to miss scheduled treatment appointments and were more likely to have tumors that persisted after medical treatment,” said Cash, who serves as the director of research for the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders at UofL. “We also observed that patients with depressive symptoms suffered greater two-year overall mortality rates, and this was especially true for those who did not achieve optimal response to medical treatment.”

    Poorer treatment response partially explained the depression-survival relationship; however, there were no significant effects from factors commonly used to determine cancer prognosis—such as the patient’s age, the stage of tumor advancement or extent of smoking history.

    “This suggests that depressive symptoms may be as powerful as the clinical features that physicians typically use to determine the prognosis of patients with head and neck cancer,” Cash said.

    She also noted that most patients in the study did not meet criteria for diagnosis of major depressive disorder, suggesting that even mild symptoms of depression may interfere with head and neck cancer treatment outcomes. She said that while the findings need to be replicated in a larger study, they do suggest that depressive symptoms may affect head and neck cancer patients’ survival through mechanisms that potentially coincide with the activities of their tumor.

    “We want patients to know that it is normal to get depressed when they are diagnosed, but it is important to seek help for any depression symptoms because (not doing so) may lead to poorer outcomes related to their cancer treatment,” Cash said.

    She and her colleagues are hopeful that this information can facilitate discussions between patients and psycho-oncologists or behavioral oncology specialists to expedite the development of targeted behavioral interventions, which may have high potential to complement medical treatment efficacy.


    UofL Hospital opens new center to treat hepatitis C

    Kentucky has highest infection rate in country; disease can now be cured
    UofL Hospital opens new center to treat hepatitis C

    The new UofL Hospital Hep C Center opened on Wednesday.

    University of Louisville Hospital opened a new center today to treat hepatitis C, a particular problem in Kentucky, which has the highest infection rate in the country.

    A ribbon-cutting and open house marked the UofL Hospital Hep C Center’s official opening Wednesday morning, with the first patients scheduled later in the day.

    “While Kentucky has the highest rate of new hep C cases in the U.S., few places exist here for treatment,” said Barbra Cave, a family nurse practitioner specializing in gastroenterology and hepatology who leads the center. “This is a much-needed service in the community.”

    In the past, treating hepatitis C was difficult. It involved a triple therapy with interferons that lasted almost a year, with multiple side effects. Not everyone was a candidate for treatment. Doctors found it challenging, and some patients opted to not get treated at all.

    “Many patients were scared off by treatment, knowing it was going to be hard,” Cave said. “Maybe they saw a friend go through it. But we want them to know it’s not hard anymore. We can help so many people.”

    Today, treatment is one pill, once a day, for 8-12 weeks – with minimal side effects, said Ashutosh Barve, M.D., Ph.D., the center’s medical director and a gastroenterologist with the hospital and UofL Physicians. The center also uses FibroScan, which allows staff to perform a non-invasive assessment of the liver without a biopsy.

    “This is truly a success story of modern medicine,” he said. “We went from discovering the basic science of the disease in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, to finding a cure in 2014.”

    Up to half of patients who have it may not know they are infected, Cave said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended screening for all baby boomers.

    “People may carry the disease for decades before they have symptoms,” she said.

    Hepatitis C is a blood-borne illness. It may have been contracted from a blood transfusion prior to 1992, contaminated tattoo equipment or IV drug use. Older veterans are particularly at risk due to the use of the old “jet gun” vaccinators by the military and combat injuries, Cave said.

    Contaminated dental equipment can also spread hepatitis C, and the disease can be passed from mother to baby.

    “The virus can live on a surface for weeks, if not sterilized properly,” Cave said.

    Though hepatitis C is now easily curable with proper treatment, the disease can cause major complications if left untreated. It can cause cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. Barve, who also directs the Liver Cancer Program at the UofL School of Medicine, said hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver transplant.

    Hepatitis C may predispose those infected to diabetes and depression, and it has an association with joint pain, regardless of the amount of liver damage.

    The new center will see patients every weekday, and the hospital is expecting 2,000 patient visits per year, with space to expand as volume grows. 

    UofL neurosurgeon performs unique surgery: Extended endoscopic skull-based surgery of the brain

    UofL neurosurgeon performs unique surgery: Extended endoscopic skull-based surgery of the brain

    Mary Koutourousiou, M.D.

    A surgeon at University of Louisville Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, recently performed an extended endoscopic skull-based surgery of the brain, a unique surgery of its kind in Kentucky.

    Performed by Dr. Mary Koutourousiou, assistant professor of neurosurgery and director of the skull base program, the minimally invasive surgery was done to help restore the eyesight of a 34-year-old man who suffered from a malignant brain tumor located at the base of the skull.

    Extended endoscopic skull-based surgery is performed through the nose and enables surgeons to remove brain tumors and lesions – some as large as softballs. During the procedure, which takes an average of six hours, surgeons use a specially designed endoscope to view the tumor and additional instruments to dissect it piece-by-piece through the nasal cavity.

    This approach reduces risks and recovery times for the patient who would otherwise need a craniotomy, which requires temporary removal of a bone flap from the skull to access the brain and brain retraction to reach the tumor.

    “The base of the skull is one of the most challenging regions of the body to access,” Koutourousiou said. “Using an endoscopic endonasal approach provides a panoramic view of the base of the skull and the patient’s tumor.”

    The minimally invasive nature of the procedure leaves no visible scarring, shortens a patient’s hospital stay, reduces overall recovery times and involves less trauma to the brain and critical nerves. Hospital stays following a craniotomy could be up to 30 days, compared to three to four days following an extended endoscopic skull-based procedure.

    “This approach is the future of brain surgery,” said Ken Marshall, president, University of Louisville Hospital. “There are only a handful of surgeons with fellowship training on this procedure in the country. We are proud to have one of those surgeons on our team and to be able to offer this new option for patients in the Commonwealth.”

    Koutourousiou completed a clinical fellowship in endoscopic skull base surgery and open skull base surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She has published extensively on the endonasal approach to brain surgery.


    ‘Heart of a Champion’ to help Smoketown residents with heart health

    Participants will get free assessments and connections to treatment
    ‘Heart of a Champion’ to help Smoketown residents with heart health

    Heart of a Champion partners

    A new initiative between the University of Louisville and several community partners will help residents of Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood learn their heart health, and connect them with the right care.

    The free clinics will be held in Smoketown starting Feb. 9 and last into the spring and early summer. Participants will learn how healthy their heart is and their risk of heart attack and stroke, and those who need treatment will be given a referral for care. Health insurance is not required.

    Inspired by Smoketown’s Muhammad Ali, who trained for boxing in the neighborhood, “Heart of a Champion” is a partnership between the UofL schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health and Information Sciences; the Have a Heart Clinic; UofL Physicians; the UofL Envirome Institute; Surgery on Sunday; the American Heart Association; UofL’s Get Healthy Now; IDEAS xLab; Dare to Care; YouthBuild; Smoketown Family Wellness Center; and several Smoketown-area churches.

    “With February being American Heart Month, it’s the perfect time to kick off these screenings,” said Erica Sutton, M.D., a general surgeon with UofL Physicians and associate professor at the UofL School of Medicine who will lead the UofL doctors staffing the clinics.

    “This is a model for community-engaged care, where we work with partners in the community who are taking care of a population we want to reach. It’s important for us not just to open our office doors to people, but really provide a presence for health and access to care by going out into the community.

    “In Smoketown, there’s an abundance of heart disease, and we have the ability to make an impact on risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity and smoking. And screenings are a well-known tool to identify heart disease before the heart is irreversibly damaged. The saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ really rings true here. Not only is prevention or identifying the potential for heart disease easier and more cost effective, but it’s healthier than trying to cure it.”

    American Heart Month is a program of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The month aims to encourage and motivate everyone to adopt heart healthy behaviors, including screening for risk factors.

    Referrals will go to the Have a Heart Clinic and University of Louisville Physicians, and Surgery on Sunday also will be providing services. Dr. Sutton also volunteers with Surgery on Sunday.

    The clinics will be held at churches and community centers in the Smoketown neighborhood. UofL doctors will staff the clinics, assisted by students and residents from school.

    Other UofL faculty involved include cardiologist Andrew DeFilippis, M.D., an expert in cardiovascular diseases whose research focuses on cardiovascular risk prediction, and cardiothoracic surgeon Kristen Sell-Dottin, M.D.

    Clinic dates

    No advance registration is required. Dates and locations for the clinics are:

    Bates Memorial Church (620 Lampton St.)
    Feb. 9 (Saturday) from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    Feb. 10 (Sunday) from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Smoketown Family Wellness Center (760 S. Hancock St., Suite B100)
    Feb. 23 (Saturday) from 12 to 2 p.m.

      Coke Memorial United Methodist Church (428 E. Breckinridge St.)
      June 2 (Sunday) from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

      Grace Hope Presbyterian Church (702 E. Breckinridge St.)

      Little Flock Missionary Baptist Church (1030 S. Hancock St.)

      YouthBuild (800 S. Preston St.)

      Clinic services

      Participants will get screenings for factors that affect heart health, such as blood pressure and cholesterol, body mass, diet, exercise, use of tobacco products and sleep. Arterial ultrasounds also will be available.

      A heart health profile will be provided, as well as information on actions to take to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

      Those who attend will also be able to participate in short informational sessions on diet (including how to cook healthy foods), exercise (including low-intensity options), better sleep and smoking cessation.

      Heart disease prevention

      In addition to screenings to learn risk, the likelihood of heart attack and stroke can be reduced by:

      • Lowering cholesterol (consider what you eat)
      • Burning calories every day (exercise or walk) and strength training (you can use your body to strength train)
      • Decreasing stress (meditate or relax)
      • Eating a healthy diet, including heart-healthy foods
      • Stopping smoking
      • Finding a physician

      For more information

      To sign up for updates on the clinics, go to For questions about the Heart of a Champion program, contact Lora Cornell, senior program coordinator at the UofL School of Medicine, at 502-852-2120. 

      Neighborhoods with more greenspace may mean less heart disease

      UofL report in Journal of the American Heart Association shows benefit of greenspace
      Neighborhoods with more greenspace may mean less heart disease

      People who live in leafy, green neighborhoods may have a lower risk of developing heart disease and strokes, according to new research published online today (Dec. 5, 2018) in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the open access journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

      In this study, the first of its kind, researchers from the University of Louisville investigated the impact of neighborhood greenspaces on individual-level markers of stress and cardiovascular disease risk.

      Over five years, blood and urine samples were collected from 408 people of varying ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic levels, then assessed for biomarkers of blood vessel injury and the risk of having cardiovascular disease. The participants were recruited from the UofL Physicians-Cardiovascular Medicine outpatient cardiology clinic and were largely at elevated risk for developing cardiovascular diseases.

      The density of the greenspaces near the participants’ residences were measured using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a tool that indicates levels of vegetation density created from satellite imagery collected by NASA and USGS. Air pollution levels also were assessed using particulate matter from the EPA and roadway exposure measurements.

      Researchers found living in areas with more green vegetation was associated with:

      • lower urinary levels of epinephrine, indicating lower levels of stress;
      • lower urinary levels of F2-isoprostane, indicating better health (less oxidative stress);
      • higher capacity to repair blood vessels.

      They also found that associations with epinephrine were stronger among women, study participants not taking beta-blockers – which reduce the heart’s workload and lower blood pressure – and people who had not previously had a heart attack.

      “Our study shows that living in a neighborhood dense with trees, bushes and other green vegetation may be good for the health of your heart and blood vessels,” said Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., lead study author and professor of medicine and director of the UofL Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute and the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine. “Indeed, increasing the amount of vegetation in a neighborhood may be an unrecognized environmental influence on cardiovascular health and a potentially significant public health intervention.”

      The findings were independent of age, sex, ethnicity, smoking status, neighborhood deprivation, use of statin medications and roadway exposure.

      Previous studies also have suggested that neighborhood greenspaces are associated with positive effects on overall physical and psychosocial health and well-being, as well as reduced rates of death from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and improved rates of stroke survival, according to Bhatnagar. However, these reports are largely limited by their reliance on self-reported questionnaires and area-level records and evaluations, Bhatnagar said.

      Co-authors of this study are Ray Yeager, Ph.D.; Daniel W. Riggs, M.S.; Natasha DeJarnett, Ph.D.; David J. Tollerud, Ph.D.; Jeffrey Wilson, Ph.D.; Daniel J. Conklin, Ph.D.; Timothy E. O’Toole, Ph.D.; James McCracken, Ph.D.; Pawel Lorkiewicz, Ph.D.; Xie Zhengzhi, Ph.D.; Nagma Zafar, M.D., Ph.D.; Sathya S. Krishnasamy, M.D.; Sanjay Srivastava, Ph.D.; Jordan Finch, M.S.; Rachel J. Keith, Ph.D.; Andrew DeFilippis, M.D.;  Shesh N. Rai, Ph.D. and Gilbert Liu, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

      The WellPoint Foundation and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health supported the study.


      Additional Resources:

      Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at

      About the American Heart Association

      The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

      UofL institute, physician win MediStar Awards

      Institute of Molecular Cardiology and James Graham Brown Cancer Center director honored
      UofL institute, physician win MediStar Awards

      Roberto Bolli, M.D., center front, leads about 100 faculty and staff at the Institute of Molecular Cardiology.

      An institute at the University of Louisville and the physician-director of UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center won two MediStar awards presented Tuesday (May 13) at the Hyatt Regency Louisville.

      The Institute of Molecular Cardiology, under the leadership of Director Roberto Bolli, M.D., received the Healthcare Innovation Award and Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the cancer center, a part of KentuckyOne Health, was named the XLerateHealth Physician of the Year.

      The Healthcare Innovation Award is presented to an organization that has developed a new procedure, device, service program or treatment that improves the delivery of medical care. Under Bolli’s leadership, the Institute of Molecular Cardiology (IMC) has become recognized worldwide as a leading cardiovascular research program for its contributions in ischemic heart disease, heart failure, diabetes and obesity and adult stem cell therapy for cardiac repair and regeneration. Established in 2001, the IMC consistently brings more than $13 million annually in federal funding to the Louisville Metro region in developing novel treatments and future cures for the nation’s No. 1 killer, cardiovascular disease.

      The XLerateHealth Physician of the Year Award is conferred upon a physician who has shown outstanding leadership and vision and has contributed to his or her workplace, leaving a lasting legacy. Named director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC) in 1999, Miller also is the James Graham Brown Foundation Chair and Professor of Oncology and Associate Vice President for Health Affairs at UofL. Under his leadership, the JGBCC developed a nationally recognized leadership program in cancer drug development with more than two dozen novel treatments being studied and three entering early phase clinical trials. Miller’s own laboratory is currently studying short DNA sequences which are believed to cause cancer cell death; it is expected that treatments from his lab will enter clinical trials within the next two years.

      Since 2007 IGE Media, publisher of Medical News and Medical News For You, has recognized excellence at the annual MediStar Awards, honoring professionals, volunteers and programs for their impact on health care. Also named finalists for MediStar Awards from UofL were:

      • BOK Financial Aging Care Award: UofL Physicians-Geriatrics
      • Facility Design Award: Nucleus Innovation Park Downtown and School of Dentistry and Department of Pediatrics at the Sam Swope Kosair Charities Centre
      • Hall Render Leadership in Healthcare Award: Gerard Rabalais, M.D., Chair, Department of Pediatrics
      • Middleton Reutlinger Nurse of the Year Award: Stephanie Jensen, R.N., Diabetes Nurse Educator, UofL Physicians-Pediatric Endocrinology
      • Seven Counties Services Healthcare Advocacy Award: Stephen Wright, M.D., Professor, Department of Pediatrics
      • A.O. Sullivan Award for Excellence in Education: Department of Pediatrics Medical Education Program
      • XLerateHealth Physician of the Year Award: Toni Ganzel, M.D., Dean, School of Medicine

      HSC students tackle storms and heat to run for kids with cancer in Medals4Mettle

      HSC students tackle storms and heat to run for kids with cancer in Medals4Mettle

      Julie Klensch and Audrey Nethery

      Lightning and rain. Heat and humidity. Runners in this year’s Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon encountered a variety of weather challenges on Saturday. However, the delays and adverse conditions did not deter 87 students from University of Louisville Schools of Medicine and Dentistry who finished the race so they could present their hard-earned medals to children fighting an even tougher battle.

      It was the ninth year students from the School of Medicine have participated in the UofL chapter of Medals4Mettle, running the Derby Festival races in honor of patients in the UofL Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation. This year, students from graduate programs and the School of Dentistry also participated.

      Julie Klensch, a fourth-year medical student, presented her miniMarathon medal to Audrey Nethery in a special ceremony following the races. Klensch has run all four years for Nethery, an eight-year-old with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a rare genetic syndrome that causes her bone marrow to produce too few red blood cells.

      Running has become an important stress reliever for Klensch during her years in medical school, but she says she is even more grateful for the relationship she has built with Nethery and her family.

      “When it’s raining or I don’t want to run some days, I remember that I could be in treatment for years for a condition that’s out of my control,” Klensch says. “It helps me remember the bigger picture of the people we are treating. It has shaped how I will do things and treat patients as a physician.”

      Medals4Mettle (M4M) is an international organization that allows endurance athletes to donate their awards to critically ill individuals in honor of their courage in the face of life-threatening illnesses. The UofL program helps health professional students see the struggles of the children and their families who are dealing with cancer and life-threatening diseases, giving them a deeper understanding of the patients they will treat as practicing physicians.

      This year’s UofL Medals4Mettle program was supported by Stock Yards Bank and Trust, Pacers and Racers, Pure Barre, Home Fit, 413 fitness and UofL Pediatrics. To support the UofL Medals4Mettle program, visit and designate "University of Louisville" in the comment.

      Research on bias and LGBT health at UofL to be presented at national medical education conference this week

      UofL faculty also assume leadership roles at AAMC conference in Seattle
      Research on bias and LGBT health at UofL to be presented at national medical education conference this week

      The eQuality Project at UofL

      University of Louisville School of Medicine faculty and staff will deliver four presentations at the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) beginning today in Seattle. At Learn Serve Lead 2016, UofL faculty and staff will share with other educators from medical schools around the nation their research conducted as part of developing medical education curricula.

      The 2016 conference, which runs Nov. 11-15, brings deans, faculty, researchers, administrators, residents and students from medical schools across the United States and Canada together to network and share insights on academic medicine.

      “Presentation of these scholarly educational works at the AAMC meeting affirms the knowledge and talent of our outstanding faculty and staff in developing curriculum,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “The innovations presented here will help advance medical education in institutions across the nation.”

      Three of the four research presentations selected for the conference stem from the eQuality Project at UofL, which is developing and incorporating curriculum related to health care for individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gender nonconforming or born with differences of sex development (DSD). UofL is serving as the nation’s pilot for implementing competencies for LGBT-DSD care published by the AAMC in 2014.

      An oral presentation, “Baseline Bias:  Implicit Attitudes of First Year Medical Students Prior to a Health Equity Curriculum Intervention,” is co-authored by Katie Leslie, Ph.D., V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., Ryan Simpson, M.D.A., Susan Sawning, M.S.S.W., Leslee Martin, M.A., M. Ann Shaw, M.D., M.A., vice dean for undergraduate medical education, and Stacie Steinbock, M.Ed., director of the LGBT Center HSC Satellite Office. The presentation, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12 beginning at 10:30 a.m., assesses attitudes toward sexuality, race and weight among first and second-year medical students before and after debriefing sessions on mitigating implicit bias.

      A related poster presentation addresses undergraduate medical students’ attitudes and knowledge about LGBT patient care. The poster was selected for a special presentation session on Monday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. Sawning, Martin, Steinbock, Amy Holthouser, M.D., Emily Noonan, M.A., Jones, Leslie and Shaw will present the poster.

      A third poster presentation resulting from the eQuality Project describes initiatives to engage the transgender community to inform curriculum and prioritize initiatives via a community forum on transgender care. The work is presented by Noonan, Sawning, Ryan Combs, Ph.D., Steinbock, Holthouser, Martin and Shaw.

      The fourth presentation examines challenges and opportunities in developing and assessing emotional intelligence in medical education and training. The presenting team includes medical educators from Vanderbilt University, Withrop University in N.Y., Florida International University, along with Sawning, UofL’s director of undergraduate medical education research.

      The four presentations for this year’s conference double the number of presentations accepted in 2015. UofL faculty had two oral presentations accepted in 2015.

      In addition to the scholarly presentations, UofL faculty will assume leadership roles with the AAMC. Karen Hughes Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of graduate medical education, is incoming chair for the AAMC Research in Medical Education (RIME) Program Planning Committee. Miller also is chair elect for 2017 of the Southern Group on Educational Affairs (SGEA), a regional subgroup of the AAMC. Miller and Sara Petruska, M.D., assistant professor at UofL, will host roundtable luncheon discussions on Saturday, Nov. 12 on preparing residents for scholarly activity and interprofessional education in core clerkships.

      Lori Wagner, M.D., M.A., has been elected to the national steering committee for the AAMC Group on Women in Medicine and Science (G-WIMS). Wagner founded the Louisville Women in Medicine and Science (L-WIMS) Chapter in 2015.


      November 11, 2016

      Unique program for medical students and Parkinson’s disease patients to be presented at World Parkinson Congress

      Unique program for medical students and Parkinson’s disease patients to be presented at World Parkinson Congress

      Kathrin LaFaver, M.D.

      Students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine learn about Parkinson’s disease by spending personal time with patients who have the condition. Patients enjoy social engagement and the chance to help future physicians learn about their disease. The benefits resulted from the Parkinson’s Disease Buddy Program, a unique opportunity for UofL students and Louisville area Parkinson’s patients.

      Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., the Raymond Lee Lebby Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research in the Department of Neurology at UofL, designed the program and will present results from its first year in three poster sessions, Sept. 21-23, at the 4th World Parkinson Congress (WPC 2016) in Portland, Ore. More than 4,000 health professionals, researchers and advocates from around the world are expected at WPC 2016. The four-day event is organized every three years by the World Parkinson Coalition to share information on the latest science, clinical research and health care related to Parkinson’s disease. Denise Cumberland, Ph.D., assistant professor of organizational leadership and learning at UofL, and Erika Branch, executive director of the Parkinson Support Center of Kentuckiana, also will be presenting the posters, which feature both the patients’ and students’ perspectives.

      The PD Buddy Program, the only one of its kind for patients with Parkinson’s disease, was launched in September 2015, a partnership between the UofL School of Medicine and the Parkinson Support Center. Twenty-five first-year students from the UofL School of Medicine were matched with patients served by the center. The students and patients met one-on-one monthly for nine months for activities and to allow the patients to share their experience in living with Parkinson’s with the students. The students kept a journal of their interactions with the patients and attended monthly lectures and mentoring sessions about Parkinson’s disease.

      Participating patients were surveyed following the program and indicated they enjoyed interacting with the students and appreciated the opportunity to help them learn about Parkinson’s disease. The students’ knowledge scores about Parkinson’s disease rose 20 percent following the program, compared with their scores before the program.

      “I got to learn about Parkinson’s and I got to take a break and spend some time with them. We mutually got something big out of it. It is a great program and a great setup,” said Megan Good, a second-year medical student who participated in the program’s first year.

      The PD Buddy Program kicked off its second year on August 30.

      At WPC 2016, LaFaver also will present a poster on unmet needs experienced by Parkinson’s disease patients based on research conducted at UofL. Surveys revealed that Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers find the most troublesome symptoms of PD are tremor, walking/balance problems and fatigue. These symptoms represent the greatest need for new therapy development.