UofL medical student wins national essay contest

UofL medical student wins national essay contest

April Butler

This year, the Gold Foundation’s annual essay prompted students with a Maya Angelou quote: “I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

For one UofL medical student, this quote struck a particularly personal chord. 

“‘Home is wherever I’m with you,’ a patient wrote on a marker board to his daughter. He lay in a hospital bed thin and frail, with the sound of his ventilator whirring in the background, a wash cloth hanging in his mouth to soak up saliva, a fentanyl patch tucked behind his ear. Out of his entire body, he could only use his right hand. In a few hours he would be taken off his ventilator and placed on a morphine pump. His daughter held his hand with tears in her eyes. This is ALS.”

These are the opening words of the winning submission by April Butler, which chronicles her father’s battle with ALS – the disease commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s – from the outside in.

“I had this unique parallel in school about learning anatomy and how the body is supposed to work, and at home I was witnessing the manifestations of what happened when the body didn’t follow the rules we learned,” said Butler, who learned of her father’s diagnosis before starting medical school. “In medical school – especially the first two years – it can sometimes be hard to see in the thick of all the exams and the stress why we’re doing this. I was lucky enough to always have my ‘why’ on the forefront of my mind.”

It’s easy to understand why this perspective on medicine would be shared by the Gold Foundation, whose mission statement includes the evolution of healthcare through both compassion and “scientific excellence.” The Hope Babette Tang Humanism Contest (named for Hope Babette Tang-Goodwin, MD, who devoted her career to treating HIV-infected babies) is overseen by a panel of experts that includes various healthcare professionals, writers/journalists and educators.

There were 300 submissions this year. By winning first place, Butler’s essay will be published in two esteemed medical journals: Academic Medicine, in the October, November, and December issues, and Journal of Professional Nursing, in the September/October, November/December and January/February issues.

“A physician once told me, ‘you will not be able to cure or save every patient in your career. However, you do have the opportunity to heal every patient,’” she writes in The Healing Yellow Raincoat. “I did not truly understand what this meant until my experience with my dad. […] I am thankful for some of his final ‘words’ that I will carry with me throughout my medical career and life: ‘Because of the challenges I face, I am less than half the man I used to be on the outside, but more than twice the man on the inside.’”

Now in her fourth year of medical school, Butler will take this experience with her as she applies for Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residencies this fall.

Elder abuse is a growing danger as population ages

UofL Trager Institute and Age-Friendly Louisville urge seniors, loved ones to look for signs of abuse
Elder abuse is a growing danger as population ages

Dr. Christian Furman

With a growing older adult population, the potential for elder abuse is a problem that affects the health and human rights of seniors. Leaders of the University of Louisville Trager Institute and Age-Friendly Louisville encourage older adults and their loved loved ones to take steps toward prevention.  

“As a geriatrician, I routinely check for signs of physical abuse, such as unusual weight loss, bruising or skin breakdown, but the form of elder abuse I encounter the most is financial abuse,” said Christian D. Furman, MD, MSPH, AGSF, interim chief, Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine and Medical Education, Margaret Dorward Smock Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine and medical director, UofL Trager Institute. “Older adults are vulnerable to financial exploitation, such as scams, especially when they have dementia. This population is targeted as many receive monthly income (such as pensions or VA checks), have savings and may have a reduced ability to fend off scams.”

She encourages older adults and their family members to sign up for the Kentucky Attorney General Scam Alert service to receive notice of how would-be criminals may try to steal money.

Furman urges older adults to plan ahead financially to prevent this type of abuse.

“I see too many individuals who lose their life savings in situations like this,” she said.

Elder abuse can take on different forms: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Possible signs include:

  • Physical abuse - frequent injuries; multiple bruises in various stages of healing; individual appears to be frightened
  • Sexual abuse - fear of a particular person; upset when being changed or bathed; irritation or injuries of the mouth, genitals or anus
  • Neglect - obvious malnutrition or dehydration; dirty and offensive body odor; absence  of glasses, dentures or hearing aid
  • Financial exploitation - unusual activity in bank account; lack of food, clothing and personal supplies; missing personal belongings such as jewelry, television or art

Age-Friendly Louisville, through the Social Participation, Respect and Inclusion Workgroup, is working to raise awareness of elder abuse in Louisville. In coordination with various social service agencies, the group seeks to improve community cohesion to guard against elder abuse through education.

“It can be hard to imagine that anyone would deliberately want to harm an elderly person, but unfortunately elder abuse does occur,” said Chris Clements, Louisville Metro Retired Senior Volunteer Program coordinator and facilitator for Age-Friendly Louisville. “Some instances of elder abuse are intended to exploit the person through things like scams, and in other cases, neglect can be unintentional like when an older adult’s caretaker does not provide them with basic necessities.”

The Age-Friendly Louisville Social Participation, Respect and Inclusion Workgroup meets the second Tuesday of every month from 2p.m.– 4 p.m. at the Thrive Center, 204 E. Market Street.

To learn more about elder abuse and other Age-Friendly Louisville initiatives, visit or contact Natalie Pope at 502-852-7733 or


$200,000 goal set for 2015 raiseRED Dance Marathon to benefit pediatric cancer research

 $200,000 goal set for 2015 raiseRED Dance Marathon to benefit pediatric cancer research

Dancers again will get their groove on for raiseRED to support pediatric cancer research at the University of Louisville Friday, Feb. 27.

It’s time to shake it for a good cause. The University of Louisville student group raiseRED is hosting its annual dance marathon beginning Friday (Feb. 27) night to fight pediatric cancer.

About 800 dancers will dance to raise $200,000, about $50,000 more than the record-breaking amount the group collected last year.

“We’re looking at a huge event this year,” said Taylor Wilson, executive director. She said the students organizing this year’s event have been working since the 2014 event ended.

The dance marathon kicks off at 6 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Multipurpose Room at the Swain Student Activities Center. The fundraising total will be announced at noon Feb. 28. The night is a mix of dancing, plus testimonials by patients and special guests to keep the dancers energized and focused on how their participation makes a difference.

The money raised helps doctors and families fight pediatric cancer right here in Louisville. Funds from raiseRED go to the UofL Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, headed by Ken Lucas, M.D., division chief in the UofL Department of Pediatrics.

Student dancers have been split into teams, and each member collects pledges of support. In addition, dance marathon is supported by the Trager Family Foundation, Papa John’s, and Thorntons, Inc.

The public is invited to take part in a community celebration from 10 a.m to noon Feb. 28. The celebration will feature inflatables and balloon artists for children, guest speakers, family testimonials, a performance of the 8-minute dance students learned during the evening and the reveal of the total amount of money raised.

To make an online donation, go to Learn more about raiseRED at Contributions are tax-deductible and 100 percent of donations go to the University of Louisville Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic.

For additional information, contact raiseRED at


UofL diabetes prevention program earns CDC recognition

UofL diabetes prevention program earns CDC recognition

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has granted the University of Louisville Physicians Diabetes and Obesity Center full recognition as a certified Diabetes Prevention Program. The three-year designation recognizes programs that effectively deliver a quality, evidence-based program that meets all of the standards for CDC recognition. The UofL program is one of just two in Louisville to earn full recognition.

More than 84 million Americans – one in three adults -- now have prediabetes. Of those 84 million, nine out of 10 of them don’t know they have it. Without intervention, many people with prediabetes could develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

In Kentucky, diabetes and prediabetes are at epidemic levels, according to the American Diabetes Association. More than 531,000 people in Kentucky, or 14.5 percent of the adult population, have diabetes. Of these, an estimated 108,000 have diabetes but don’t know it, greatly increasing their health risk. In addition, 1.168 million people in Kentucky – 35.5 percent of the adult population – have prediabetes with blood glucose levels higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Every year an estimated 27,000 people in Kentucky are diagnosed with diabetes.

The center is located in the UofL Physicians Outpatient Center, 401 E. Chestnut St., and serves as the clinical arm of the UofL Diabetes and Obesity Center headed by Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., which focuses on research into prevention of diabetes. “It is immensely gratifying to see the science of diabetes prevention being implemented to improve the public’s health,” Bhatnagar said. “It is through programs such as this that we will turn the tide in the fight against the epidemic of type 2 diabetes.”

In addition to the CDC recognition, the UofL Physicians - Diabetes and Obesity Center, in a partnership with ULP Department of Medicine, is recognized by the American Diabetes Association for Quality Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support.

The Uof Physicians - Diabetes and Obesity Center was created in part from support by KentuckyOne Health to provide preventive care and education and to promote research in diabetes and obesity. The Center is directed by Sri Prakash Mokshagundam, M.D. “Once you have diabetes, you can’t get rid of it, but if you have prediabetes, which is higher than normal blood sugar levels, or if you are at risk for developing diabetes, you can prevent it with lifestyle changes,” Mokshagundam said. “Diabetes also can be effectively managed with physician-directed care.

“We want people to know they have the power to change their outcome.”

The program is directed by Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator Beth Ackerman, who cited UofL’s own employee wellness program, Get Healthy Now, in earning the recognition. “This recognition was made possible through collaboration with UofL Get Healthy Now and its director, Patricia Benson, assistant vice president for health, wellness and disease management,” Ackerman said. “We currently offer the program to UofL employees who are covered by the university’s health plan, and will begin offering it to other patients in January.”

The UofL Physicians Diabetes and Obesity Center works to:

  • Elevate the health status of our community by raising awareness of the risks for diabetes and heart disease;
  • Facilitate prevention and management programs;
  • Be a resource to our patients and community health care providers; and 
  • Support researchers in their efforts to fight the growing epidemic of diabetes and obesity.

The Diabetes and Obesity Center at UofL Physicians offers diabetes self-management education and support if a patient is newly diagnosed or has had diabetes for many years. The center’s diabetes educators assess each patient’s needs and help them individually or to enroll in an education class to meet those needs. Classes cover:

  • Diabetes Prevention
  • Diabetes Self-Management 
  • Pregnancy Planning
  • Diabetes Medications
  • Diabetes and Technology
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • Weight Management
  • Monitored Activity Options

Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator Paula Thieme is the quality coordinator of the diabetes self- management and support program. For information or to make an appointment, call 502-588-4600.




In the lineup

Symposium draws all-star list of speakers

Nathan Berger, M.D., the Hanna-Payne Professor of Experimental Medicine and director of the Center for Science, Health and Diversity at Case Western Reserve University, holds the Louisville Slugger bat he was given as a speaker at the first symposium honoring the late co-division chief of the Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at UofL. The Geoffrey P. Herzig, M.D., Memorial Symposium for Hematologic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplantation drew a stellar cast of presenters April 8-9 at the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart & Lung Conference Center. Herzig came to UofL in 2000 as co-division chief with his brother, Roger Herzig, M.D., shown second from left. The symposium was created by current division chief William Tse, M.D., at far left, with another presenter, Hillard Lazarus, M.D., the George & Edith Richman Professor and Distinguished Scientist in Cancer Research at Case Western Reserve, at far right. Twenty-six physicians and other scientists from the United States, Canada and England presented the symposium, covering the latest advances in treating leukemias, myelomas and other blood-borne cancers. (Robert Burge Photography)

UofL event prepares future health professionals to improve health equity

The 10th annual Cultural Competency Day set for Nov. 10

Among the most important issues facing health care are social barriers to care. To ensure future health professionals are equipped with the understanding to reduce health inequities, the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion will hold its 10th annual Patricia Allen Cultural Competency Day on Tuesday, November 10. Nearly 700 students will participate in “Health Equity through Interprofessional Practice,”a day-long workshop that includes discussions on Poverty and Accessing Health Care, LGBT Health, Immigrant and Refugee Populations and Cultural Barriers in Health Care.

Students from UofL Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Public Health and Kent School of Social Work, as well as the Sullivan University School of Pharmacy and nurses with Passport Health Plan will take part in the program, to be held at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage (KCAAH).

Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, the acting director for the Office of Health Equity in the Kentucky Department for Public Health, will open the event with a keynote address on the increasing racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity in the American population and the need for health-care practitioners to understand the socio-cultural background of their patients in order to deliver high quality health care.

“This is the 10th year for this conference reflecting the Health Sciences Center’s commitment to health equity for all. In addition to this important milestone, the program has expanded to include almost 700 students from multiple health disciplines,” said V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., assistant vice president for health affairs – diversity initiatives. “We all have a role in achieving health equity, and this year’s program allows students to learn with and from each other in the community setting of the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.”

Attendees will be assigned to interprofessional teams that rotate together among 75-minute breakout sessions covering each topic. This format, which differs from previous years, will ensure that all attendees are exposed to each topic and will accommodate the large number of participants. The interprofessional teams, which mix students and residents from dentistry, speech pathology, pharmacy, social work, public health and medicine, allow the students to experience the topics from the unique perspectives of each field.

UofL’s Cultural Competency Day was first held in 2006, the result of efforts by Jones and Patricia Allen, administrative associate for the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program office at UofL, to improve cultural understanding of UofL Health Sciences Center students. Approximately 150 students attended the event its first year. The event is named for Allen, who helped lay the groundwork and planning for the event.

November 9, 2015

Future physician-scientist wins funds for training and research

M.D./Ph.D. student Heather Clair joins elite group of students to earn NIH grant
Future physician-scientist wins funds for training and research

Heather Clair

It is never too early for medical researchers to begin obtaining funding for their work.

Heather Clair, a student in the M.D./Ph.D. program at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has secured a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help fund her research and education. The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, an F30 fellowship from the NIH, is designed to support highly promising predoctoral students in a dual-doctoral degree training program such as the M.D./Ph.D. to increase the pool of highly trained clinician-scientists in biomedical research.

Clair won the grant in consultation with her mentor, Matt Cave, M.D., associate professor of medicine at UofL with expertise in liver disease and transplantation. Clair and Cave have designed a research plan to study of the effects of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the liver. Clair will be investigating how synthetic organic chemicals change the programming of the body’s cells.

“We believe that PCBs are one of the factors leading to liver disease and other types of metabolic dysfunction – maybe diabetes, cardiovascular disease or obesity,” Clair said.

Clair earned a master’s degree in biotechnology and worked in laboratories and other settings for a number of years, including lab work at UofL. After talking with medical students who shared their enthusiasm for working with patients, Clair decided to add clinical work to her professional palette and applied to the School of Medicine.

“I wasn’t ready to leave research, however, so I applied to the M.D./Ph.D. program. When I got in, it was like winning the lottery – I get to do two things I love at the same time,” Clair said.

Earning a grant from the NIH is a precocious accomplishment for a student, preparing her to obtain grants as a professional researcher.

“Just writing the grant was a tremendous learning experience,” Clair said. “When I go back to write a K award or an RO1 as an independent investigator, I will have already done it once. It also gives me the opportunity to show the NIEHS and the NIH that I can do what I said I was going to do.”

Students in the M.D./Ph.D. program study medicine for two years, followed by three to four years of doctorate-level biomedical research, finishing off with the final two years of medical school. Upon completing the program, the physician-scientists have fulfilled the requirements for both an M.D. and a Ph.D. degree and are ready to care for patients and conduct biomedical research at the doctorate level. The UofL program has 13 students, with enrollment having been as high as 22. The school receives between 80 and 100 applications each year for the two to three positions available.

“These are the best medical students and the best graduate students. Having a group of students this bright at UofL helps in every possible way with the educational process,” said Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the M.D./Ph.D. program at UofL and director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

In the past 12 years, 10 students at UofL have been awarded F30 grants, including nine In the M.D./Ph.D. program and one in the D.M.D./Ph.D. program at the School of Dentistry.

“These grants raise the visibility of the university,” said Brian “Binks” Wattenberg, Ph.D., assistant director of the M.D./Ph.D. program. “When study sections – expert scientists in a specific area who review the grant applications – see the quality of the applications that are coming from UofL, they start to recognize this is a substantial, high quality institution.”

Funding from an F30 grant typically adds more than $100,000 to the institution over a period of three to five years. This allows existing funds to support additional research activities in the mentor’s lab or to assist other students at the School of Medicine.

“These grants release funds from the principal investigator whose lab they are in to support other activities,” Wattenberg said. “And if the grant pays for part of the medical school tuition, that money can be used for other students. Every dollar we get in from the outside helps everyone.”

One of the previous grant-winning students, Janelle Fassbender, M.D., Ph.D., was mentored by Scott Whittemore, Ph.D., in neurobiology and presented a dissertation on "Improving Functional Recovery Following Spinal Cord Injury by Therapeutically Targeting the Vasculature.” After receiving her degrees in 2012, Fassbender completed a preliminary year of residency in general surgery and is back at UofL serving as a medical resident in ophthalmology.

Other graduates from UofL’s M.D./Ph.D. program who received F30 awards have gone on to residency positions at Washington University in St. Louis, Yale University and Icahn School of Medicine at The Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

Success in receiving the grants reflects on the quality of the research being done at UofL and the mentors.

“As funding gets more and more competitive, it’s very important that we turn out people who have good training, good science and can compete for grants, and I think this program does that,” Miller said.

UofL medical students and Parkinson’s Disease patients to gather for “Buddy” program kickoff September 3

Pairs to meet monthly for one-on-one exchange benefiting patients and students
UofL medical students and Parkinson’s Disease patients to gather for “Buddy” program kickoff September 3

Kathrin LaFaver, M.D.

Take a walk in the park.

Meet for a cup of coffee.

These simple social interactions can make a world of difference to patients with Parkinson’s Disease and to University of Louisville medical students who will have the opportunity to see what daily life is like for individuals with the disease.

The Parkinson’s Buddy Program, a unique new partnership between the UofL School of Medicine and the Parkinson Support Center, has matched 25 “buddies” from the first-year class of medical students with patients served by the center. In the first program of its kind for Parkinson’s patients, the pairs are participating in a year-long program designed to give the patients social interaction and allow them to share their stories with the medical students, who in turn gain first-hand knowledge about living with a nervous system disorder.

The program kicks off Thursday, September 3 when the buddy pairs will meet for the first time from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, 1640 Lyndon Farm Ct., #100 in Louisville. (Editor’s note:  Members of the media are invited to attend.)

Student-patient pairs then are encouraged to meet on their own about once a month for a board game, lecture or exercise class to share their stories and enjoy time together. Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., Raymond Lee Lebby Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research in the Department of Neurology at UofL, said the exchanges will give the students a deeper understanding of how patients cope with the disease.

“This program will educate medical students on Parkinson’s and neurological disease and help them understand the day-to-day issues faced by individuals living with Parkinson’s,” LaFaver said.

Allie Hanson, assistant director of the Parkinson Support Center, proposed the idea for the program as a way to improve the wellbeing of patients served by the center.

“The patients will be able to share their stories, plus the meetings will reduce some of the social isolation that people with Parkinson’s can experience,” Hanson said.

In addition to meeting with their patient buddies, students will keep a journal reflecting on their experience after each buddy meeting. Students also will attend hour-long mentoring sessions each month with LaFaver, the director of the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Clinic at UofL Physicians. The seminars will provide additional medical information and inform the students about research and career opportunities in neurology and movement disorders.

Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic and progressive brain disorder of the central nervous system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain. Dopamine is the chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. The loss of dopamine causes neurons to fire without normal control, leaving patients less able to control their movement. Patients are also frequently suffering from so-called “non-motor” symptoms including loss of smell, constipation, fatigue, anxiety and depression. Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox are notable individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease.

Registration now open for UofL Geriatric Health Care Symposium

‘Maximizing Independence for Optimal Aging’ theme of Sept. 18th event
Registration now open for UofL Geriatric Health Care Symposium

Registration is now open for the 15th Annual Geriatric Health Care Symposium, “Maximizing Independence for Optimal Aging,” presented by the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging.

The symposium will be held 7:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, at the Founders Union Building of UofL’s Shelby Campus, 9001 Shelbyville Road.

Keynoting the event will be David Morris, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A licensed physical therapist and known nationally for his expertise in physical therapy for seniors, Morris will speak on “Fitness for Life.”

Other sessions at the symposium include “Google Glass in Rural Nursing Homes and Home Health,” “Preventive Care in Older Adults,” “Polypharmacy 2.0 – Antipsychotic Meds,” “Maximizing Oral Health,” “Update on Dementia” and more.

Faculty include Amelia Kiser, M.D., Laura Morton, M.D., Christian Furman, M.D. and Daniela Neamtu, M.D., all from the UofL Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine; Demetra Antimisiaris, Pharm.D., UofL Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Mike Mansfield, D.M.D., and Gustavo Oliveira, D.M.D., UofL School of Dentistry; Belinda Setters, M.D., Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Benjamin Mast, Ph.D., UofL Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; and Anne Veno, R.N., Episcopal Church Home.

Continuing education credits are available through the UofL Department of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development for physicians, nurses, physical therapists and dentists. Continuing education credit for social workers is in process, and the program is pending approval by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Registration before Aug. 15 qualifies for early bird discounts. Registration before Aug. 15 is $125 for physicians; $35 for students; and $100 for all others. Valid identification is required to qualify for registration categories.

To register and for more information, go to the symposium website.

UofL researchers take lead role in exploring liver disease

UofL researchers take lead role in exploring liver disease

Craig McClain, M.D.

Photos from the news conference announcing the grant are available here.


Liver diseases are clinically important health problems and are generally underappreciated.  The University of Louisville has brought together a critical mass of investigators to study liver diseases in a comprehensive fashion.  These studies include a unique focus on environmental exposure and subsequent liver injury.  Craig McClain, M.D., associate vice president for health affairs/research, is the principal investigator and head of the team that has received a Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore diseases of the liver—hepatobiology and toxicology.

“Dr. McClain and his team are among not only that nation’s leaders, but the world’s leaders when it comes to researching liver diseases,” said Gregory C. Postel, M.D., UofL interim executive vice president for health affairs. “Receipt of this grant demonstrates the breadth of the program Dr. McClain has developed through the years and the importance of that work in our understanding the liver function, liver disease and how to combat it.”

The grant, which totals more than $11.5 million over five years, bring together experienced senior mentors and promising junior investigators from across the university  in collaboration with scientists throughout the nation and world to perform cross-cutting research on the unique topics of hepatobiology and toxicology. The research will evaluate clinical barriers in the understanding of the development and progression of liver diseases. Additionally, they will define targets for prevention and treatment that may transform current medical practice.

The researchers have four current areas of interest:

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a major cause of cirrhosis of the liver,

  • Alcoholic liver disease,

  • Environmental toxicology and liver disease, and

  • Liver cancer.

Future areas of research include infectious and viral liver disease and drug induced liver injury.

The liver is the largest internal organ. It plays a vital role in protein, carbohydrate, and fat, as well as micronutrient metabolism and it is the major site for drug and toxicant metabolism/detoxification.

Liver diseases are some of the most common health programs afflicting Americans. Approximately one-third of American adults and 10-12 percent of children in the United States have fatty liver disease as a consequence of overweight/obesity.  This is by far the most common cause of abnormal liver tests in the nation. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents a spectrum of diseases involving hepatic fat accumulation, inflammation with the potential progression to scarring and cirrhosis over time. Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States, and ALD and NAFLD can proceed through the same pathway from simple fatty liver to cirrhosis in some patients. Importantly, there is no FDA-approved therapy for NAFLD or ALD. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide and is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in men in the United States.

“This effort will help ensure a pipeline of new investigators into liver biology and disease, as well as stimulate research into the field,” McClain said. “We will build upon the broad body of knowledge already existing, take that information into novel areas to create new methods for the prevention and treatment of liver disease.”


UofL goes to the fair

Variety of health services, information offered at the Kentucky State Fair
UofL goes to the fair

Health care providers with the University of Louisville will be featured at the Kentucky State Fair, Aug. 17-27. All services will be provided at the UofL booth in the Health Horizons Pavilion. Most services will be provided between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the days shown, but fair-goers should check the booth for exact scheduling. Some services require that participants meet certain criteria; staff in the booth can provide information.


    University of Louisville health care providers will be on-site in the Health Horizons Pavilion at the Kentucky State Fair, Aug. 17-27, at the Kentucky Expo Center, and three programs will be available each day of the fair:

    • Mammogram screenings: Providers affiliated with the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center and Kentucky Cancer Program will provide mammograms. All screenings will take place in the privacy of the Horses and Hope Cancer Screening Van. For more than 25 years, the Brown Cancer Center and Kentucky Cancer Program have brought the mobile van to the fair to remove barriers to screening, providing women a key service in early detection. Mammogram screenings will be billed to insurance, so participants should have their health insurance verification and photo identification handy. Yearly mammograms are covered by Medicare and most private insurance providers for women over 40. Special discounted rates are available to those without insurance.
    • Vascular screenings, including carotid artery screen and ankle brachial index: Provided daily at the fair, Aug. 17-27. A carotid artery screen is ideal for anyone with dizziness, ringing in the ears or anyone with a family history of carotid artery disease. It also is indicated for smokers and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes or is over the age of 50. The test is administered by a registered technologist and uses ultrasound technology. The ankle brachial index screening is ideal for anyone with leg pain while walking or resting or anyone with a family history of peripheral arterial disease. It also is indicated for smokers and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or is over the age of 50. This test utilizes blood pressure cuffs to determine the amount of blood flow to your legs.
    • Education, prevention and survivorship information from the Kentucky Cancer Program: The Kentucky Cancer Program is a statewide cancer prevention and control program, bringing together local organizations, providers and other partners in planning, implementing and evaluating cancer prevention and control efforts. The KCP staff and volunteers will be on-site providing information and giveaways to fair-goers with the goal of reducing cancer incidence and cancer death in Kentucky.


    Staff from UofL Hospital’s Center for Women & Infants and UofL Physicians-Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health will be on hand at the fair to help women of all ages. The Center for Women & Infants specializes in both high-risk obstetrics and general maternity services and gives expectant families their choice of care from board-certified obstetricians and certified nurse midwives who practice with UofL Physicians-Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health.

    At the fair, staff will be on hand to discuss urogynecology with providers  from the Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery practices, fertility specialists in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, the certified nurse midwifery program, family planning services, and our newest offering – Centering Prenatal Care. Women enter centering groups of 8-10 other expectant mothers and they receive both individualized care as well as the benefits of group discussion.

    Women’s health services will be offered each day beginning Thursday, Aug. 17 through Saturday, Aug. 26.


    The UofL Hospital Level I Trauma Center and the Burn Unit will both provide a variety of services at the fair.

    The Trauma Center is the region’s only Level I trauma unit. Staff will train fair-goers to “Stop the Bleed” on Friday, Aug. 18. This innovative program uses a lifelike replica of the human thigh – complete with faux blood – to train participants in handling bleeds from wounds at the scene where they occur. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, the Trauma Center will participate in Senior Day at the Fair, and feature a walk-through demonstration to help older adults identify potential hazards, help prevent falls and improve balance. The Trauma Center staff will return on Saturday, Aug. 26, with more trauma prevention activities.

    The UofL Burn Unit is the region’s only dedicated adult burn unit and will provide safety information and fun for the entire family. Fair-goers can spin a prize wheel to learn about fire safety and burn care. They also will be able to see the “smoking house” – an animated educational tool with tips on how to keep homes safe from fire. Burn Unit personnel will be at the fair on Wednesday, Aug. 23.


    Senior Day at the Fair will feature two programs that will only be available to fair-goers on that date, Tuesday, Aug. 22:

    • UofL Hospital Pharmacists will share information of interest to older adults, including diabetes, vaccinations, pharmacy services at UofL facilities and more. They also will be available to answer questions one-on-one with fair-goers about their medications and treatments.
    • UofL Hospital Volunteers will be at the fair to provide information on how fair-goers can serve others as a hospital volunteer. Each year, volunteers gain pride in providing meaningful service through their collective thousands of hours of service, helping the staff provide high quality care to patients, their families and the community. A wide array of service opportunities are available, from greeting guests to clerical service and more.

    Also on Senior Day, the UofL booth will provide mammogram screenings, vascular screenings, colon cancer screenings, blood pressure checks, stroke assessments, women’s health information and a walk-through demonstration for older adults to help them avoid falls.


    Several specialty services will be provided by UofL staff at the fair:

    • UofL Physicians-Pediatrics will be at the fair Saturday, Aug. 19, offering vision and blood pressure screenings and a child safety demonstration. UofL Pediatrics provides children and their families with doctors and other providers to see them through the milestones of childhood.
    • UofL Physicians-Diabetes & Obesity Center will be at the fair Wednesday, Aug. 23, providing screenings for prediabetes and diabetes. The screening requires a finger stick and the participant does not have to be fasting.
    • UofL Hospital Infection Control will be at the fair Thursday, Aug. 24, with information on the importance of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of disease. The staff also will show fair-goers the benefits of getting annual flu vaccinations and provide information on when antibiotics should be used and when they should not.
    • Carbon monoxide screening will be available during the final four days of the fair, Thursday, Aug. 24 through Sunday, Aug 27. The carbon monoxide breath test shows the amount of carbon monoxide in the lungs and blood in an indirect, non-invasive manner. Breath carbon monoxide also is an indicator of the levels of approximately 7,000 toxic substances present in cigarette smoke, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Participants will blow into a small handheld device for several seconds.


    Staff with UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, the Kentucky Cancer Program and the UofL School of Dentistry will be on hand to provide information, screenings and more:

    • Education, prevention and survivorship information from the Kentucky Cancer Program: Provided daily at the fair. The Kentucky Cancer Program is a statewide cancer prevention and control program, bringing together local organizations, providers and other partners in planning, implementing and evaluating cancer prevention and control efforts. The KCP staff and volunteers will be on-site providing information and giveaways to fair-goers with the goal of reducing cancer incidence and cancer death in Kentucky.
    • Mammogram screenings: Provided daily at the fair. Providers affiliated with the Brown Cancer Center and Kentucky Cancer Program will provide mammograms. All screenings will take place in the privacy of the Horses and Hope Cancer Screening Van. For more than 25 years, the Brown Cancer Center and Kentucky Cancer Program has brought the mobile van to the fair to remove barriers to screening, providing women a key service in early detection. Mammogram screenings will be billed to insurance, so participants should have their health insurance verification and photo identification handy. Yearly mammograms are covered by Medicare and most private insurance providers for women over 40. Special discounted rates are available to those without insurance.
    • Head and neck cancer screenings: Provided Saturday, Aug. 19, Sunday, Aug. 20, Tuesday, Aug. 22, Saturday, Aug. 26 and Sunday, Aug. 27. The UofL School of Dentistry and the Kentucky Cancer Program are observing the 25th anniversary of their collaboration in providing head and neck assessments at the fair. Dental students and faculty have conducted more than 3,800 screenings since the collaboration began. This oral head and neck exam is painless and quick, and open to everyone. Participants wearing dentures will be asked to remove them during the 10-minute exam.
    • Prostate cancer screenings: Provided Saturday, Aug. 19-Sunday, Aug. 20. Prostate screenings are recommended for men with average risk starting at age 50. African-American men and anyone with a brother, father or son who had prostate cancer before age 65 should begin getting screened for prostate cancer at age 45. Testing will involve a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test that involves taking a small amount of blood. A digital rectal exam also will be performed in the privacy of the Horses and Hope Cancer Screening Van to feel for any lumps, bumps or other abnormalities. The results of the PSA will be mailed about two weeks after the fair ends. The entire testing process takes approximately 20 minutes.
    • Colon cancer screenings: Provided Monday, Aug. 21 through Sunday, Aug. 27. Colon cancer screenings with FIT kits are available to anyone over 50 who has not had a colonoscopy within the past 10 years or a stool test in the past year. A free take-home kit will be available for men and women 50 and older and to younger participants who are cancer survivors or have a history of cancer in close relatives. The participant will complete stool collection at home and then mail it to UofL Hospital in special packaging provided.
    • Cancer resources and Reiki demonstration from the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at the Brown Cancer Center: Provided Thursday, Aug. 24. The Krista Loyd Center provides a peaceful environment for patients with cancer to learn, relax and heal emotionally. A wealth of support services is available along with cancer education and information. One service provided is the Japanese technique of Reiki for stress reduction and healing promotion. Personnel from the Loyd Center will demonstrate the technique.


    A variety of screenings and information will be provided to help fair-goers lessen their risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke:

    • Vascular screenings, including carotid artery screen and ankle brachial index: Provided daily at the fair, Aug. 17-27. A carotid artery screen is ideal for anyone with dizziness, ringing in the ears or anyone with a family history of carotid artery disease. It also is indicated for smokers and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes or is over the age of 50. The test is administered by a registered technologist and uses ultrasound technology. The ankle brachial index screening is ideal for anyone with leg pain while walking or resting or anyone with a family history of peripheral arterial disease. It also is indicated for smokers and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or is over the age of 50. This test utilizes blood pressure cuffs to determine the amount of blood flow to your legs.
    • Coronary artery disease screenings:Provided Thursday, Aug. 17. This simple blood test is ideal for individuals with a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, heartburn or high cholesterol. This test measures to see if you have blockages in your coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to your heart.
    • Hands-only CPR: Provided Thursday, Aug. 17. This award-winning program trains fair-goers to be lifesavers in the event of cardiac arrest. UofL staff will train participants in hands-only cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) which is pushing fast and hard in the center of chest. For every minute’s delay in starting CPR, a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival decrease by 10 percent. Hands-only CPR helps beat those odds.
    • Stroke risk assessments and blood pressure screening: Provided Tuesday, Aug. 22 and Saturday, Aug. 26. The UofL Hospital Comprehensive Stroke Center was the first certified stroke center in Kentucky. Staff will provide free stroke risk assessment and blood pressure checks to fair-goers.

    Medical residents’ toy drive collects nearly 900 gifts for local kids

    Medical residents’ toy drive collects nearly 900 gifts for local kids

    The UofL House Staff Council collected nearly 900 toys for its Toys for Tots campaign this month. Resident physicians pictured are, clockwise from lower left, Svetlana Famina, M.D., Jason Messinger, M.D., Jamie Morris, M.D. and Paul Parackal, M.B.B.S.

    Nearly 900 toys swamped a Christmas tree in the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center administration building, ready to be delivered to local children who would otherwise go without presents this year.

    For the third year, the UofL School of Medicine House Staff Council, the representative body for resident and fellow physicians, led a weeklong collection for Toys for Tots. Donations were received from individual residents and fellows as well as School of Medicine faculty, staff and students.

    “Unfortunately, there are so many families in Louisville who cannot afford toys for their children,” said Svetlana Famina, M.D., a third-year psychiatry resident. “We work with these families a lot on a daily basis, so we know how much things like this are appreciated by children and their parents.”

    Stock Yards Bank & Trust will provide a luncheon and plaque to the three residency programs that donated the most toys.

    The winning program for the third straight year, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, collected about 430 toys. Aside from gathering donated toys, psychiatry residents raised about $1,000 to buy additional gifts, Famina said.

    The Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health donated the second-most number of toys and the Department of Radiology finished third.

    Jamie Morris, M.D., a radiology resident, said the annual toy drive has become an important way for UofL medical residents to give back to the community, especially children.

    “It’s important to share what we have,” Morris said. “The residency program is a strong coalition and we have a lot to give the Louisville community.”

    Staff members of the Office of Graduate Medical Education sorted and packed the toys in donation boxes, which were picked up by a Toys for Tots volunteer on Dec. 11.

    The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to underprivileged children in the community in which a campaign is conducted.

    UofL will host free showings of Oprah Winfrey film on Thursday

    Movie examines how tissue and genetic material are used in research
    UofL will host free showings of Oprah Winfrey film on Thursday

    This poster from April 2017 advertises "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" that will be shown at UofL on Thursday, Nov. 8.

    The University of Louisville Research Integrity Program will host two free presentations of the Oprah Winfrey movie, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” followed by question-and-answer sessions to discuss the issues raised by the movie.

    The first showing will be at 10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 8, in the basement auditorium of the Donald E. Baxter Biomedical Research Building (Baxter I) at 580 S. Preston St. on the UofL Health Sciences Center campus. The second showing will be at 2 p.m., Thursday, at the Floyd Theater located on the third floor of the UofL Student Activities Center, 2100 S. Floyd St. on the UofL Belknap Campus. Admission is free for both showings.

    In 1951, cancerous cells from Baltimore resident Henrietta Lacks helped lead to breakthroughs that changed medicine. Her case sparked legal and ethical debates concerning the rights of individuals in determining how their tissue and genetic material are used – rights that are still being debated to this day.

    The movie originally aired in April 2017 on HBO and stars Oprah Winfrey as Lacks’ daughter Deborah, who headed her family’s effort to find out exactly how their mother’s cells were used and what rights they had to reap the same financial rewards from the use of the cells as the researchers. Winfrey also was an executive producer of the film, taken from the best-selling book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot.

    Following the HSC showing, Debra Schaller-Demers, director of research outreach and compliance at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and Paula Radmacher, UofL export control administrator, will lead a discussion with audience members on the issues raised by the movie. Following the Belknap campus showing, Schaller-Demers and Radmacher will be joined by UofL faculty members Avery Harman and Faye Jones for the discussion.

    For information, contact Carla Jones, training and outreach coordinator with the Research Integrity Program at UofL, 502-852-2403.


    Optimal Aging Institute receives MediStar award

    Optimal Aging Institute receives MediStar award

    Anna Faul accepts Medistar award

    Selected for its excellence in creating innovative methods to reduce health care costs and improve quality of life for older adults, the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at the University of Louisville recently received the MediStar’s Bluegrass Care Navigators Aging Care Award.  

    During a ceremony held October 30 at the Muhammad Ali Center, the institute was lauded for its Flourish Program, an innovative, evidence-based approach to health care grounded in the concepts of social determinants of health and integrated care coordination 

    The program is based on the institute’s Flourish Care Coordination Model, which links clinical and behavioral health care plans with a community care plan. Patients in the program receive detailed assessments, weekly and monthly monitoring, interdisciplinary health care consultation and care planning, coordination of care, community resource planning and support, as well as behavioral and mental health support. 

    In addition to improving health outcomes, the Flourish model hopes to reduce health care costs by leveraging new rules through Medicare Advantage that will pay for non-skilled in-home service providers beginning in 2019.

    The institute was one of seven award winners. UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences faculty member, Sarah Moyer, M.D., also was honored for her work as a co-chair of the Louisville Health Advisory Board. She is director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.


    Robert Friedland, M.D. co-organizer of conference to educate physicians and researchers in the Middle East about Alzheimer’s disease

    Robert Friedland, M.D. co-organizer of conference to educate physicians and researchers in the Middle East about Alzheimer’s disease

    Robert P. Friedland, M.D.

    To educate physicians, researchers, social workers and nurses in the Middle East on current research and treatments for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Robert Friedland, M.D., professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Louisville, has co-organized the Seventh International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in the Middle East (ICAD-ME). The number of individuals with AD and related disorders in the region is rising due to the rapidly aging population and public health systems have not kept pace with recent developments in treatment.

    “There is little awareness of dementia in the region because of prevailing biases about the loss of function in healthy aging,” Friedland said. “People in the Middle East need to know that it is never normal for a person at any age to be demented.”

    Friedland, the Mason and Mary Rudd Endowed Chair in Neurology at UofL and an organizer for the previous six ICAD-ME meetings, will discuss his research into the relationship between gut microbiota and neurodegeneration, and provide information on potential preventative measures to delay the onset of AD. In addition, he hopes to learn about special features and needs of the region’s population.

    The conference will cover topics including the history of Alzheimer’s disease and its basic pathophysiology, pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies, ethical and legal issues, and aging as it is addressed in the Koran and the Bible. The event, sponsored by the United States National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging and Biogen, will take place Feb. 23-25, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Additional organizers are Changiz Geula, Ph.D., professor at Northwestern University, Marwan Sabbagh, M.D., professor at Barrow Neurological Institute of Phoenix, and Abdu Adem, Ph.D., professor at United Arab Emirates University.

    In a welcome statement, the organizers expressed a desire to continue educational events in the Middle East:  “We believe that we need to ensure a continuity of such meetings in the Middle East in order to demonstrate our common aim to conquer Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders as well as our solidarity as scientists and physicians across borders, ethnicity, religion and gender.”



    February 13, 2017

    UofL Hospital emergency nurses take first place in competition

    ‘SIMS WARS’ judges skills
    UofL Hospital emergency nurses take first place in competition

    UofL Hospital emergency nurses, from left, Frankie Parra, Beth Sum, Nate Davison and Bridget Genardi won the SIMS WARS emergency simulation competition at a conference held by the Kentucky State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association in Lexington.

    A team of emergency nurses from University of Louisville Hospital took first place in a state competition of emergency medical skills.

    UofL Hospital beat six other teams from hospitals in the region to take top honors in the “SIM WARS” emergency simulation competition. The competition took place this month at a continuing education conference held by the Kentucky State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association at The Campbell House in Lexington. 

    Each team of four emergency nurses was presented with an emergency scenario in which they had to apply their skills to save a patient. The patient was a life-like mannequin programmed to talk and interact with the team, telling them what was wrong and where he was hurt. The mannequin had a heartbeat and was breathing as a person in distress would.

    The team made an assessment and treated the mannequin in detail, just as they would a real patient that was brought in by EMS. The competition took place in front of a panel that was in the room, judging their skills and timing.

    The team from UofL Hospital included Frankie Parra, Beth Sum, Nate Davison and Bridget Genardi, all BSN. “I have to say I am really proud of these guys,” said Patricia “Trish” Higgins, interim director of emergency services for UofL Hospital. “It meant a lot for them to win.”

    The Emergency Nurses Association was formed for nurses in emergency health care to pool resources, set standards and improve emergency nursing, and currently has more than 40,000 members in more than 35 countries. Its mission is to advocate for patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing. The association has chapters in each state, and three chapters in Kentucky.

    SIMS WARS was sponsored and judged by Air Evac Lifeteam, an air ambulance company.

    Parra, who is the emergency nurse educator at UofL Hospital responsible for training new nurses, said he had attended the conference last year and wanted to return home this year with a win. Parra has been an emergency nurse for seven years, and at the hospital for nine. 

    “It’s neat to put our name out there and what we do,” Parra said. “We focus our training on what it would be like in real life.”

    He said it takes a special type of person to be an emergency nurse. “You have to be flexible, and handle whatever comes at you,” he said. “It can start as an easy day, but very quickly turn around. It’s all about being ready. You have to be prepared for the worst.”

    While he trains new nurses, he said the rest of the team would have been just fine in the competition without him.

    “They are very talented,” he said.

    Higgins said Parra and the team are part of a younger, up-and-coming generation of emergency nurses.

    “This is how we work every day,” said Higgins, who has worked in emergency medicine for 17 years. “There is a lot of teamwork in the emergency department. I’ve worked in a lot of other emergency departments, and I’ve really noticed the teamwork here. The ER nurses here are a special group.”

    Sum has been an ER nurse for a year after graduating from college. Parra said that speaks to Sum’s talents. 

    “To work at a Level 1 trauma center as a new graduate is quite a challenge and accomplishment,” Parra said. “Those like Beth who do really have what it takes, it’s an elite group of nurses.”

    Sum said she loves her job.

    “You never know what you are going to get. It’s a lot of variety, but you have to be able to handle the stress.

    “It’s a great group of people to work with. Just when you think you’re flooded, there are three people behind you saying, ‘How can I help?’ That’s what makes us different.”

    She and Parra said that in the end, it’s all about the patient. 

    “We have to be prepared - for them,” Parra said. “They are the motivation for the good work we do here.”

    UofL medical student earns top award for financial planning tool for young physicians

    Michael Lovelace recognized by AAFP Foundation for leadership project
    UofL medical student earns top award for financial planning tool for young physicians

    Michael Lovelace, M.B.A., M.S. 4

    A pivotal point for young physicians comes just after medical school as they begin residency. They are earning a paycheck for perhaps the first time, yet also may face significant educational debt and a host of decisions that have the potential to derail their financial situation for years to come. Michael Lovelace, M.B.A., a fourth-year student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has developed an award-winning digital tool to help these young physicians make sound financial decisions.

    Lovelace, who studied finance and business prior to entering medical school, developed the tool as part of the Family Medicine Leads (FML) Emerging Leader Institute, sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation. Lovelace, one of 30 participants selected for the first cohort of the year-long program, participated in the group’s leadership workshop last summer, then worked with a physician mentor to create a project in Personal and Practice Leadership, one of three leadership tracks available to the scholars. The other tracks were Policy and Public Health Leadership and Philanthropic and Mission-Driven Leadership. Judges selected Lovelace’s project as the best project in the Personal and Practice Leadership track.

    Lovelace tapped into hisbusiness experience to create the detailed financial planning and budgeting tool. He explained that although physicians beginning residency may qualify to purchase expensive cars and higher priced homes based on future income potential, it’s dangerous to make these purchase decisions without careful analysis of the whole financial picture – including medical education debt that may exceed $175,000.

    “Often people will buy a car and sign an apartment lease as independent decisions and not consider how much of their monthly income they are committing to those two items. Those are binding agreements, so you can make two relatively straightforward decisions and put yourself in a bind throughout residency,” Lovelace said.

    Lovelace’s budget program uses answers to 35 questions related to the user’s financial obligations to calculate their financial trajectory, including a detailed analysis for multiple student loan repayment options and a retirement savings projection. It then generates a report revealing areas of budget concern (too high or too low) and whether the user is projected to reach a retirement goal. It even provides suggestions of how to correct an underfunded retirement plan.

    As part of the project submission, Lovelace created a video description of the budgeting tool and a poster describing the problem and how the analysis can help individuals avoid common pitfalls.He said his project mentor, Marc Matthews, M.D., a family practitioner with the Mayo Clinic, encouraged him to increase the functionality of each module, adding value for the user, while keeping the project within the original scope.

    Jason Marker, M.D., M.P.A., past president of the AAFP Foundation who chairs the foundation workgroup that launched the FML Emerging Leader Institute, said Lovelace’s project exemplifies the leadership potential of the students and residents participating in the institute.

    “One of our hopes with the FML Emerging Leader Institute was that we would take a group of scholars, many of whom had little formal family medicine leadership training, and accelerate their capacity and motivation toward being physicians with the understanding to practice medicine in the context of social determinants of health, elimination of health disparities and avoiding future physician burnout,” Marker said. “In that latter category, Michael's project is a standout. As Michael is lecturing on this topic, I know he will help a lot of young physicians be successful.”

    Stephen Wheeler, M.D., associate dean for admissions at the UofL School of Medicine and a senior faculty member in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, has mentored Lovelace in family medicine and leadership at UofL.

    I first met Michael during his path toward medicine as a non-traditional applicant. Then, I worked with him during the two-year introduction to clinical cases small group experience. I am ecstatic that he feels called in this direction. He will be an exceptional family doctor,” Wheeler said.

    At last summer’s leadership workshop, Marker led a session on Personal and Practice Leadership with Lovelace and the other FML Emerging Leader Institute participants.

    ”We talked about financial realities of practice and how ill-prepared many medical students and residents are for life beyond residency. The way Michael addressed this topic is excellent. He has made the information accessible for the broadest possible audience,” Marker said, adding that he hopes the project will ultimately be adapted for use by medical schools and residency programs to help physicians avoid financial missteps.

    As the creator of the top project in his track, Lovelace will give an oral presentation of the project at the American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students on July 28 in Kansas City and attend Family Medicine Experience, the annual educational meeting of the AAFP to be held in Orlando in September.


    About theAmerican Academy of Family Physicians Foundation

    The AAFP Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Its mission is to advance the values of family medicine by promoting humanitarian, educational and scientific initiatives that improve the health of all people.


    July 11, 2016

    Special ceremonies mark student entry into health professions

    White Coat ceremonies hold meaning for medical, dental, dental hygiene and doctorate of nursing practice students
    Special ceremonies mark student entry into health professions

    Previous White Coat Ceremony

    Over the next month, 360 students in the health professions will take their first step in establishing the importance of the provider-patient relationship. 

    The Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Dentistry each host a White Coat Ceremony encouraging students to enter into an inner, personal contract, accepting the obligations specific to their practice, as they are cloaked with a white coat. 

    University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi, PhD, is expected to give the keynote address to more than 160 medical students during the School of Medicine Class of 2023 White Coat Ceremony on July 28, 3 p.m., at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. 

    “The ceremony is designed to clarify for students that a physician's responsibility is to take care of patients, care for the patients and practice humanism in medicine,” said Toni Ganzel, MD, MBA, FACS, dean of the School of Medicine. 

    Nearly 50 doctorate of nursing practice students will receive a white coat on Aug. 15 during a ceremony on the UofL Health Sciences Center campus. Presiding will be Sonya Hardin, PhD, MBA, MHA, CCRN, NP-C, FAAN, dean of the UofL School of Nursing. 

    One hundred, twenty dental and 30 dental hygiene students will participate in a White Coat Ceremony Aug. 24 at The Palace Theatre for the UofL School of Dentistry’s event. 

    David C. Johnsen, DDS, MS, dean of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, will give the keynote with UofL School of Dentistry Dean T. Gerard Bradley, BDS, MS, DrMedDent, presiding. Johnsen, a pediatric dentist, will speak on critical thinking in learning and professional environments.



    Mayor’s forum on possible e-cigarette, hookah ban features UofL researchers

    Mayor’s forum on possible e-cigarette, hookah ban features UofL researchers

    UofL researchers Aruni Bhatnagar and Robert Jacobs will participate in a public forum discussing a possible Metro Louisville ban on use of hookahs (shown at left) and e-cigarettes in public places.

    A community educational forum convened by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on the possibility of expanding activities covered by Metro Louisville’s smoke-free ordinance will feature two University of Louisville researchers who study the effects of environmental factors on health.

    The forum will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Department of Public Health and Wellness, 400 E. Gray St. It will address the possible addition of bans on e-cigarette and hookah use in public places. Louisville enacted its smoke-free ordinance in 2008, prohibiting smoking tobacco products in indoor public places and worksites.

     Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine and director of the American Heart Association Tobacco Research and Addiction Center (ATRAC) in the School of Medicine, and Robert Jacobs, professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, will participate in the forum.

    Bhatnagar won a grant of $20 million from the NIH and FDA in 2013 to establish the ATRAC. It conducts multidisciplinary research to help inform the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products as they are regulated by the FDA. In 2014, he chaired a 10-member panel of fellow national experts that developed the American Heart Association’s first-ever policy statement on e-cigarettes, citing the paucity of research that has been conducted on the effects of e-cigarettes on health and the need for continued rigorous research.

     Jacobs researches the health effects associated with indoor air and exposures to organic dust in agricultural and industrial environments, inhalation toxicology and international environmental and occupational health practices. He has published research on the health effects associated with specific components of inhaled organic dust and on the development of methods for exposure assessment of specific biological airborne contaminants in both the work and non-work environments.

    Also on the panel will be Paul Kiser, Ph.D., assistant professor at Bellarmine University; Carol Riker, M.S.N., R.N., associate professor emeritus, University of Kentucky; and Monica Mundy, M.P.H., community advisor, Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy.

    More than 500 communities across the country, including 13 in Kentucky, already include e-cigarettes or hookah use in their smoke-free laws. Many local businesses, health care facilities and educational institutions in Louisville also include e-cigarettes or hookah in their own wellness policies.

    For additional information, visit the Mayor’s website.




    What salamanders can teach us about baseball

    UofL researcher shows how amphibians use prediction to compensate for sensorimotor delays to connect with moving prey
    What salamanders can teach us about baseball

    Salamander catching a fly

    If a baseball player waits until he sees the ball arrive in front of him to swing his bat, he will miss miserably. By the time the batter sees the ball’s position, plans his swing and moves the bat, the ball will be firmly in the catcher’s mitt.

    This time lag is known as sensorimotor delay. University of Louisville researcher Bart Borghuis, Ph.D., has increased our understanding of how people and animals deal with this delay in day-to-day interactions by analyzing the hunting skills of salamanders. His article, The Role of Motion Extrapolation in Amphibian Prey Capture,” is published in today’s issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

    A skilled baseball player compensates for sensorimotor delay by predicting when the ball will cross the plate and starting his swing in time to meet it. Borghuis’ research reveals the salamander also predicts the future location of its prey as it catches moving fruit flies by projecting its long, sticky tongue.

    The sensorimotor delay is caused by the time it takes for the visual image to be processed by the retina, time to plan the motor action and time to activate the motion. When a salamander hopes to catch a moving fly, in the time it takes to make the strike – about 230 milliseconds – the fly will have moved from the location it was in when the salamander launched its attack. If the salamander sends its tongue to the location where it sees the fly, by the time the tongue gets there, the fly will be gone. Despite this delay, salamanders are efficient hunters, catching their prey more than 90 percent of the time in Borghuis’ experiments.

    Why are salamanders so effective in their attacks?

    Borghuis, assistant professor in the Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology at UofL, and Anthony Leonardo, Ph.D., of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, used high speed videography to capture 270 instances of salamanders striking at flies. Through analysis of the videos, Borghuis developed an algorithm that predicted where the salamander’s tongue would strike based on the fly’s path.

    The algorithm mimics the salamanders’ process using extrapolation to anticipate the prey’s position in the future based on its bearing and velocity. The salamanders’ tongue strikes were consistent with the algorithm, and were consistently successful – unless the fly changed course between the time the salamander initiated the attack and the time of the actual strike.

    In successful strikes, the salamander caught the fly by sending its tongue tip to the position where the fly was when the tongue arrived. When the salamanders missed, the salamander’s tongue struck the location where the fly would have been had it continued on the same path it had been following. However, in these cases, the fly had changed direction after the salamander launched its attack.

    “The misses confirmed the model,” Borghuis said. “This is the first demonstration that the salamanders were making a prediction.”

    The tongue struck where the fly never had been, yet would have been had the fly continued its previous course of motion. Thus the salamander was predicting where the fly would be at the time the tongue reached it based on the fly’s direction and speed.

    “This information adds to a small set of clear examples of how vertebrates – including humans – use prediction for dealing with delays in motor processing,” Borghuis said. “Now that we know how the salamander does this, we can further investigate the neuromechanisms that make this happen.”


    The videos above show the researchers’ trajectory duplicating the salamander’s prediction of the location of the fly at the point of impact with the tongue. In the first video, the salamander successfully predicts the path and catches the fly. In the second video, the fly alters its direction after the salamander launches its strike, so the tongue misses the fly, hitting instead the location where the fly would have been had it not changed its course. The final video is a 4000 fps video showing a salamander striking a fruit fly. In real time, this motion would take about 1/5 of a second or 180 milliseconds.

    November 18, 2015