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UofL Physicians – Family Medicine Cardinal Station accepting new patients at renovated facility

UofL Physicians – Family Medicine Cardinal Station accepting new patients at renovated facility

UofL Physicians – Family Medicine Cardinal Station

January is a great time to start anew and take a health inventory. Luz Fernandez, M.D., medical director of UofL Physicians - Family Medicine Cardinal Station, encourages individuals to make yearly check ups a priority.

“Developing a lasting, trusted relationship with a primary care provider is important, regardless of a person’s age,” Fernandez said.

During an annual visit, a provider asks the patient about health habits, the health of close relatives and overall lifestyle. The information will determine risks of common medical conditions and whether further testing is needed. The check up, says Fernandez, is a good way to screen for and possibly detect medical conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol so they can be treated at an early stage, minimizing risks of serious complications in the future.

A primary health care provider also can partner with patients in setting healthy habits. Fernandez hopes to inspire SMART goals:

  • S: Specific, significant 
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Achievable
  • R: Realistic and Results-oriented 
  • T: Time based and Trackable

“You are much more likely to stick to an exercise plan if you commit to a 30 minute walk or jog three days a week instead of saying ‘I will exercise more,’ ” Fernandez said.

She says it is best to be as specific as possible and to make sure the goal is attainable, adding that accountability is important to success.

“Discuss your plans with a primary care provider, and rely on trusted family and friends for support,” she said. “Technology resources like the app, myfitnesspal can track food intake, exercise and weight loss; seeing a graph of progress may work to keep you motivated.”

New patients accepted at renovated facility

UofL Physicians – Family Medicine Cardinal Station, located at 215 Central Ave., Suite 100, recently updated its facility and is welcoming new patients for check ups and other health related purposes, including acute illness.

With 25 patient rooms, the practice offers a full spectrum of on-site services including:

  • Well care visits, immunizations
  • X-rays
  • Lab work
  • Spirometry
  • EKG
  • Toenail removal
  • Mole removal
  • Birth control placements
  • Vision screenings
  • Cancer screenings

Most insurance plans accepted. Free parking available on the surface lot in front of the office. For an appointment or more information, call 502-588-8720.

Physician leader at UofL School of Medicine’s Madisonville campus honored by Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians

Physician leader at UofL School of Medicine’s Madisonville campus honored by Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians

William J. Crump, M.D.

The Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians (KAFP) has recognized the work of William J. Crump, M.D., associate dean, University of Louisville School of Medicine Trover Campus. The organization recently awarded Crump the Distinguished Service Award, an award given to a family physician who has served in leadership roles with the KAFP and has advanced the specialty of family medicine.

Nominated by William Thornbury, M.D., Crump of Madisonville, Ky., is praised for his leadership and tireless effort promoting evidence-based medicine through the publication of scholarly work. Crump, who served as editor of the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians Journal from 2006-2017, helped transform the journal into a peer-reviewed publication for the scholastic contributions of the Commonwealth’s family medicine community.

“Perhaps the most enjoyable part of my role was getting students, residents and young faculty through their first manuscript effort, from bright idea to published product. They are our future,” Crump said.

Not only has Crump led the academy in his role of bolstering the scholarship for health improvement of Kentuckians, as an educator-physician Crump teaches medical students at the  UofL School of Medicine Trover Campus in Madisonville. Preclinical students have the opportunity to spend two three-week summer sessions at the campus, working with primary care preceptors. Up to 12 students are selected to spend their third and fourth years of training in Madisonville where they help meet health care needs of rural Kentuckians.

 

UofL oncology nurse recognized for compassionate care

Heather Hibbard, B.S.N., R.N., to be honored at luncheon, Feb. 28
UofL oncology nurse recognized for compassionate care

Heather Hibbard BSN, RN

Heather Hibbard, B.S.N., R.N., manager of the medical oncology and infusion center at the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, is being honored for making a difference in the lives of cancer patients. Hibbard is one of seven health-care providers who will be in the spotlight at the Third Annual Commitment to Compassion Luncheon, sponsored by Passport Health Plan, Insider Louisville and the Compassionate Louisville Healthcare Constellation. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Muhammad Ali Center.

Hibbard uses her training as well as her personal experience to make life a little easier for cancer patients. Her father and grandfather were diagnosed with lung cancer within one month of each other, and passed away one month apart in 2013. Although it was a painful time for her, that experience helps her understand how to improve care provided to the patients at the Brown Cancer Center.

Hibbard says she wants to provide the kind of care for patients and families that she would want to receive. To help make things easier, she developed a lab and line room where patients can have their vitals and lab work done before seeing the physician. This reduced patient wait times by two thirds.

“Cancer does not have to be a death sentence, but the patients need top-notch, nurturing and individualized care,” Hibbard said. “My one goal in life is to make a difference in cancer care – to give others hope that we are doing everything we can as an oncology center. I have a great group of people who want better care for their patients and I help them in reaching that goal.”

It is often little things that make a difference for patients.

“You don’t ever hear, ‘thank you for accessing my port,’” Hibbard said. “But you do hear ‘thank you for being gentle with me,’ ‘thank you for listening,’ ‘thank you for calling home health and getting things set up so my life is a little easier.’”

The Commitment to Compassion luncheon, emceed by television health and science reporter Jean West, will include recognition of the compassionate care honorees, a performance by the West Louisville Boys Choir and a panel discussion on “Innovative and compassionate care in West Louisville.” Reservations are available online.

Putting cancer detection, prevention on the road

Brown Cancer Center screening unit meets people where they are
Putting cancer detection, prevention on the road

The same cancer screening services available at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center can be brought to workplaces, churches, schools or other organizations, with just a phone call to schedule.

The cancer center’s Mobile Screening Unit provides prevention and early detection services for breast and other types of cancers. People with private health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid will incur no additional charges for mobile services, and the cancer center will bill providers on behalf of the patients. Some co-pays may apply.

Services provided by the Mobile Screening Unit are furnished by staff at the cancer center and the Kentucky Cancer Program, the statewide cancer prevention and control program mandated by the Kentucky General Assembly.

For more than 25 years, the mobile unit has reached people at their place of business, church, school or community, first focusing on the provision of mammograms for breast cancer and later adding screening services for other types of cancer.

Business and organizational leaders who want to schedule the unit should contact Vera Hobbs at 502-562-4361, extension 4.

 

 

Research shows elite defenders have ‘steely focus’

UofL scientist reveals how football players excel at the mental game
Research shows elite defenders have ‘steely focus’

Brandon Ally, Ph.D.

The millions of viewers watching the Super Bowl on Feb. 4 will no doubt witness exceptional physical abilities of the athletes as they execute precise passes, acrobatic catches and lightning-fast runs. However, research at the University of Louisville into the neurocognitive abilities of these players is revealing specific skills that allow them to excel at the mental game as well.

Brandon Ally, Ph.D., and researchers at the UofL Center for Sports Cognition have demonstrated that elite college and professional football defensive players have a greater ability to show steely focus, shielding their actions against interfering information on the field. Ally, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery, has looked at the speed with which elite defensive players read a play and close on offensive threats.

In research recently accepted in Frontiers in Psychology: Movement Science and Sport Psychology, Ally and his colleagues compared reaction times in NCAA football players with non-athletes. The athletes and non-athletes show similar reaction times to simple stimuli. In an experimental task requiring the subjects to respond in the same direction as a series of five arrows, again there was no difference between NCAA football players and non-athlete controls.

However, when the center arrow is pointed in the opposite direction of the four other arrows (which were all moving in the same direction), the NCAA football players respond to the direction of the center arrow much more quickly than the non-athletes. 

“This means that football players are more proficient at shielding motor response execution speed from the interfering effects of distraction than non-athletes,” Ally said. “On the field, this will translate to the ability to more quickly spot key movements amidst the visual chaos of the offense and respond with decisive action.”

 

Spinal cord injury research: Bonus benefit to activity-based training

UofL researchers report activity-based training improves urinary function after spinal cord injury, investigate effects of epidural stimulation
Spinal cord injury research:  Bonus benefit to activity-based training

Charles Hubscher, Ph.D.

Activity-based training has resulted in unexpected benefits for individuals with severe spinal cord injury (SCI). Researchers in the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC) at the University of Louisville have discovered that the training, designed to help individuals with SCI improve motor function, also leads to improved bladder and bowel function and increased sexual desire.

Research participants receiving activity-based training conducted by KSCIRC at Frazier Rehab Institute initially reported improvements in bladder, bowel and sexual function anecdotally. Charles Hubscher, Ph.D., professor and researcher at KSCIRC, has documented those changes in research published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

For individuals with severe spinal cord injury, bladder and bowel dysfunction are among the most detrimental factors to their quality of life, even more than the loss of independent mobility.

“Patients with spinal cord injury say they are most concerned by the problems associated with bladder function,” Hubscher said. “These issues contribute heavily to a decline in their quality of life and impacts overall health.”

Bladder dysfunction associated with SCI results in numerous health complications, requiring lifelong management and urological care in the form of catheterization, drug and surgical interventions, peripheral electrical stimulation and urethral stents. All of these therapies bring with them serious side effects and none substantially improves the basic functions.

To document changes in bladder, bowel and sexual function resulting from activity-based therapy, Hubscher and his colleagues performed urological testing (urodynamics) and asked research participants with severe spinal cord injury (SCI) to complete surveys about their bladder and other functions. Eight of the participants received activity-based training, which includes locomotor training, stepping on a treadmill with their body weight supported, and stand training in a specially designed frame. Four participants did not receive training.

The active participants’ functions following training were compared with their own condition prior to training and with individuals not receiving training. Following 80 daily sessions of locomotor training with or without stand training, the active individuals were found to store significantly more urine at safer pressures, reported fewer incidents of nighttime voiding and reduced general incontinence, as well as improved bowel functioning and increased sexual desire.

“Today’s published research indicates that activity-based training strengthens the neural circuits that control urogenital and bowel functions,” Hubscher said. “We hope to further validate those findings by determining if the improvements can lead to elimination of related medications and/or long-term reduction in the number of daily catheterizations. In addition, we are evaluating the effects of spinal cord epidural stimulation on those circuitries.”

Susan Harkema, Ph.D., professor and associate director of KSCIRC and an author of the study, said the publication highlights the value of the research collaborations at UofL.

“This work showcases the exceptional environment for research at UofL, with basic scientists working in parallel with clinicians in rehabilitation and neurosurgery,” Harkema said. “There are relatively few researchers addressing bladder, bowel and sexual function both in animals and humans in chronic spinal cord injury. Dr. Hubscher’s work adds a unique and valuable aspect to our research.”

Epidural Stimulation Research

Researchers at KSCIRC are investigating the use of spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES) to facilitate the ability of SCI patients to stand, voluntarily control leg movements, and improve other functions. Spinal cord epidural stimulation involves the delivery of electrical signals to motor neurons in the spine by an implanted device.

In concert with this research, Hubscher is investigating the effects of scES on bladder, bowel and sexual function in SCI patients. Funded by a $3.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Hubscher has begun work to map the lumbosacral spinal cord for multiple aspects of bladder function. This work will identify locations on the spine and device configurations for using scES to improve bladder storage and voiding efficiency.

The funding is through the NIH Common Fund program Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC), which aims to increase the understanding of nerve-organ interactions and neuromodulation to advance treatment of diseases and conditions for which conventional therapies fall short.

Hubscher’s SPARC project has a three-year timeline and includes concurrent investigations in both animals and humans. His team will enlist six human research participants who have received scES devices and have completed the initial epidural stimulation study to assist with the development of device parameters, then test those parameters at home.

For the estimated 1,275,000 people in the United States who live with paralysis from SCI, therapies resulting from this research have the potential to increase their quality of life as well as reduce health-care costs.

#WeAreUofL

About the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville

The Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC), opened in 2001, provides the opportunity for basic scientists, physicians, neurosurgeons and physical therapists to work collaboratively with the common goal of curing paralysis. Through close association with clinical colleagues in the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery, KSCIRC is in a unique position to conduct research designed to ultimately lead to effective treatments for spinal cord injury. This continuum of research has facilitated a “bench-to-bedside” and “bedside-to-bench” approach, where basic science questions are examined from a translational perspective and findings in the clinical setting enlighten or guide future basic scientific studies.

Research supported by NICHHD grant no. R01HD080205, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. KSCIRC Neuroscience Core facilities supported by NIH/NCRR P30 grant no. 8P30GM103507. NIH:  Functional Mapping with Lumbosacral Epidural Stimulation for Restoration of Bladder Function After Spinal Cord Injury, grant no. 1OT2OD024898-01.

Physicians familiar with stresses facing transgender youth better equipped to provide care

LGBT Healthcare Summit sponsored by Humana at UofL to focus on mental health
Physicians familiar with stresses facing transgender youth better equipped to provide care

Christine Brady, Ph.D.

Research shows that transgender youth experience higher rates of depression and are more likely to attempt suicide. Health-care providers are better equipped to care for these young patients and their families if they are familiar with their needs and struggles.

“As a mental health professional specializing in working with transgender and gender non-conforming youth, I am keenly aware of the prejudice, discrimination, rejection and bullying these youth face on a day-to-day basis,” said Christine Brady, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with UofL Physicians’ Bingham Clinic and assistant professor in the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry & Psychology.

“Rejection often comes out of fear, fear of the unknown. If I can reduce the fear of one person and facilitate that person approaching a transgender youth with more acceptance and compassion, I'll consider the summit a huge success.”

Brady will provide insight for health-care providers and the community as part of the LGBT Healthcare Summit at UofL, sponsored by Humana. Her talk, “Transgender and gender creative youth:  Mental health and evidence-based treatments,” will help familiarize participants with common terms and vocabulary used within the transgender community, communicate the prevalence of mental health issues and health disparities among transgender youth, and learn about both effective and potentially harmful mental health treatments across early, middle and late childhood development. Register for Brady’s talk, scheduled for noon at the UofL HSC Auditorium on Feb. 16, at http://www.summit_brady.eventbrite.com.

The LGBT Healthcare Summit also will feature "Substance use disorder treatment responsiveness for LGBT clients" by Brian Hurley, M.D., M.B.A. Hurley is an addiction psychiatrist and medical director for Substance Use Related Care Integration at the Los Angeles County Health Agency and assistant professor of addiction medicine at U.C.L.A. The presentation will include a panel of community members speaking to the challenges and successes around this issue in Louisville, including Jennifer Hancock, president of Volunteers of America Mid-States. Register for Hurley’s 9 a.m. presentation at http://www.summit_hurley.eventbrite.com.

The LGBT Healthcare Summit sponsored by Humana will be held Friday, Feb. 16 at the UofL Health Sciences Center Auditorium, 500 S. Preston St., Louisville, Ky. 40202.

From black hat to white hat: Findings tip assumptions about TAK1 in muscle growth

Research published today reveals molecule’s critical role in maintaining muscle health
From black hat to white hat:  Findings tip assumptions about TAK1 in muscle growth

Control and TAK-1 inactivated tibialis anterior muscle

Among researchers exploring the mechanisms of muscle growth and health, there have been certain conceptions about the role of the signaling protein, transforming growth factor-ß-activated kinase 1 (TAK1). Convention was that TAK1 is detrimental to muscle health since it activates pathways associated with muscle wasting.

“TAK1 is a very important molecule in the body and it is involved in the regulation of almost all cell types. It is implicated in many signaling processes and many physiological roles in the body,” said Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., a professor and distinguished university scholar in the University of Louisville Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology. “But the role of TAK1 in skeletal muscle was not known at all.”

Kumar and Sajedah M. Hindi, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the department, hypothesized that by removing TAK1, they could mitigate the negative effects of two downstream pathways associated with muscle wasting with a single action. They and other members of the research team devised a series of cell culture and animal model experiments to determine if removal of TAK1 would preserve muscle mass and strength.

Their first clue to the significance of TAK1 was that mice genetically modified to remove TAK1 in skeletal muscle all died shortly after birth. Shifting their strategy, the researchers began working with adult mice. They found that in mature mice, instead of increasing muscle mass, reducing TAK1 resulted in severe muscle wasting, along with abnormalities in mitochondria and oxidative stress. These changes are consistent with those witnessed in muscle of individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), type II diabetes, cancer and aging.

“It did the opposite of what we were hoping it would do,” Hindi said. “In other tissues, having too much TAK1 has a bad effect. Knocking it down is actually positive. But in mature skeletal muscle, knocking TAK1 down had a negative effect.”

The research is detailed in TAK1 regulates skeletal muscle mass and mitochondrial function, published today in the journal JCI Insight, authored by Hindi, Kumar, Shizuka Uchida, Ph.D., associate professor and researcher in the UofL Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, Bradford Hill, Ph.D., associate professor and researcher in the UofL Diabetes and Obesity Center, and others at UofL.

This research reveals the essential role of TAK1 for the health of mature skeletal muscle, and adds to work by Kumar, Yuji Ogura, Ph.D., now of Japan, and Hindi, published in 2015 in Nature Communications, revealing that TAK1 is required for adult muscle cell proliferation and survival and for the regeneration of adult skeletal muscle upon injury. That research showed that when TAK1 is reduced, satellite stem cells do not vigorously self-renew and many eventually die. Alternately, when TAK1-regulated signaling is increased, the satellite cells prosper.

Kumar believes this understanding of the essential role of TAK1 in muscle health could lead to the development of therapies to preserve muscle mass in the elderly and in individuals with muscle wasting diseases such as muscular dystrophy, cancer, type II diabetes and ALS.

“This is a very fundamental discovery that people had a misconception about this pathway. This protein is very important for muscle maintenance,” Kumar said. “The next question is whether this is a mechanism for loss of muscle mass in all these conditions. We have approaches now to put this protein back into the body. If we put it back in the muscle or we have some drugs that activate this molecule, can we improve the muscle mass, can we preserve the muscle mass?”

Supporting future professionals

Minority Pre-Health Symposium provides guidance for high school and undergraduate students interested in health professions
Supporting future professionals

Students at the 2018 Minority Pre-Health Symposium

Kyle Castaneda knows the value of mentors and connections for applying to medical school. A University of Louisville senior majoring in biochemistry, he credits the networking and advice he gained at events such as the Minority Pre-Health Symposium with helping him achieve admission to the UofL School of Medicine, where he will enroll this fall.

“I was from a very rural county. I was not prepared when I got to college to become a successful applicant for medical school,” Castaneda said. “I didn’t know a lot about when to shadow, when to volunteer or when to apply to medical school.”

High school and undergraduate students interested in health professions visited the UofL Health Sciences Center (HSC) campus Feb. 10 to learn about career and educational opportunities, tour the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health & Information Sciences, and meet with advisors and potential mentors. Representatives from the four HSC schools were on hand to discuss with students the skills needed to navigate the road to higher education in the health sciences.

Hannah Granholm, a high school sophomore from Louisville, attended the symposium to learn more about becoming a nurse practitioner. “I learned that a nurse practitioner does more than just give people shots and medicine. They do a lot more, and it takes a lot of work to do it,” Granholm said.

Glenda Granholm, Hannah’s mother, encouraged Hannah to attend. “I thought she could get exposure to different fields and could talk to people who know the field. That way she’ll be more comfortable asking questions.”

Vivian Doyle, a second-year UofL medical student, took a group of the students on a tour of the School of Medicine. She said a mentor provides essential support for students aspiring to careers in medicine, dentistry or graduate studies.

“It’s definitely important to find mentors – a physician, a medical student or an upper classman. That way, if you do get nervous or you have your doubts, you can go to your mentor and ask advice,” Doyle said.

Barbara Ekeh, another second year medical student, said the event also provided an opportunity to learn about the lesser-known careers in health-care, such as public health, graduate studies or dentistry.

“There are so many avenues in medicine and some are more visible than others. One student was asking, ‘What is public health?’ I didn’t know what that was until I was in college. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming.” Ekeh said. “This is an avenue where they can meet other students to try and figure out what they are interested in doing.”

The event also allowed the students to connect with advisors and faculty members who could help them along in the process. Ashley O’Neil, a program coordinator in the UofL HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion, helps students determine the best fit and guides them through the application process.

“There are people like me who will help you figure out your path and what it is going to take for you to succeed. I’m here to help in your journey with shadowing, clinical work, understanding the MCAT and its whole process, and the application itself,” O’Neil said.

Alona Pack, M.S.N., M.A., R.N., assistant professor in the UofL School of Nursing, said student organizations also can be important resources for the students.

“We have support systems for minority students here, particularly the Black Student Nurses Association. They provide mentorship and academic support to the students. They also do community outreach and develop leadership skills. It’s a good network for the students.”

The Student National Medical Association, Student National Dental Association, Health and Social Justice Scholars, Black Student Nurses Association, and the UofL Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted the program, attended by 85 high school and undergraduate college students. The event was funded by the UofL Student Government Association Club Programming Committee (CPC) and the UofL Commission of Diversity and Racial Equality (CODRE).

Castaneda said events such as the symposium can help students connect with other programs and student organizations, which he found helpful. Castaneda attended the Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP) prior to college, and joined the Multicultural Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS) once he arrived on campus.

“PEPP particularly got me up to speed and it made me feel a lot more comfortable when I got to college. I just kept doing the programs. They give you more exposure to the field. They let you meet great people and they help you along the process.”

See a photo gallery from the event here.

For more information on mentoring programs, visit the UofL HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion website.

Kentucky Cancer Program teams up with UofL Women's Basketball for 'Play4Kay Pink Out' Thursday

Kentucky Cancer Program teams up with UofL Women's Basketball for 'Play4Kay Pink Out' Thursday

UofL fans will get to see the Horses and Hope pink Mustang and Mobile Screening Unit as the Kentucky Cancer Program teams up with Louisville Women's Basketball this Thursday.

The UofL Women Basketball Cards, ranked fourth in the nation, will offer some health awareness along with the team’s matchup with the University of Virginia, Thursday, Feb. 22, at the KFC Yum! Center. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

The Play4Kay Pink Out honors the late Kay Yow, a former NC State coach who died from cancer. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is celebrating its 10th anniversary of providing funding and support for cancer research.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center will be on hand at the game with giveaways and educational materials on the importance of early screening and detection of breast cancer. Louisville Women’s Basketball also will recognize breast cancer survivors on the court during halftime.

Fans are encouraged to wear pink, and representatives of Tom Drexler Plumbing and Remodeling will accept $5 donations for a breast cancer awareness t-shirt in the main concourse of the KFC Yum! Center. Proceeds will benefit Gilda's Club of Louisville.

Fans also will get to check out the Horses and Hope Mustang and Mobile Screening Unit, vehicles that are projects of Horses and Hope, an organization that brings cancer screening, detection and treatment services to workers in the equine industry in Kentucky.

Breast cancer survivors are eligible to receive one free ticket and a discounted ticket for $3 for all guests. Call the Louisville Cardinals' Ticket office for this offer at 502-852-5151. Other fans can receive discounted tickets for $3 by visiting My Cardinal Account and using promo code PLAY4KAY.

 

 

UofL leading nationwide efforts to improve lifelong care for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities

Partnership between UofL and Special Olympics aims to increase physicians’ comfort in treating adult patients with IDD
UofL leading nationwide efforts to improve lifelong care for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities

SOKY Athlete Ambassador Morgan Turner talks with medical students

At one time, people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) were mostly children. Thanks to medical advances and the deinstitutionalization movement, the number of adults living in the community with IDD has grown dramatically. These individuals require the same health-care services as any adult, but their care may come with added challenges. Most physicians in adult medical specialties have not been trained to work with these patients, and may not be comfortable with the communication challenges or other unique needs they may have.

Priya Chandan, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the UofL School of Medicine and in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, is leading nationwide efforts to help future physicians become more knowledgeable about caring for patients with IDD throughout their lives. Chandan, who has an older brother with Down syndrome, has a personal understanding of the need for physicians who can provide equitable care for people with IDD.

“This patient population is not just a pediatric population. All physicians need to be comfortable serving patients with IDD,” Chandan said.

To achieve that goal, Chandan is leading the National Curriculum Initiative in Developmental Medicine (NCIDM), a partnership between Special Olympics International (SOI) and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) to ensure future physicians receive training to care for individuals with IDD across their lifespan. Over four years, 12 medical school partners will design and implement their own curriculum enhancements. UofL is part of the first cohort for this training, along with Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Colorado. The second cohort includes Ohio State, Case Western Reserve and Georgetown Universities.

Chandan also is working with Amy Holthouser, M.D., senior associate dean of medical education, to develop the educational programs at UofL. One program is an elective rotation for fourth-year students at Lee Specialty Clinic, an interdisciplinary clinic that focuses on caring for people with IDD that is funded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Through working with the patients and staff at Lee Specialty Clinic, the students will become more comfortable treating these patients.

In addition, second-year medical students at UofL are participating in small group discussions led by Special Olympics Kentucky (SOKY) athletes in the Athlete Leadership Program. The goal of these discussions is to help the students better understand the needs of IDD patients by hearing their story and having the athletes express their needs.

Morgan Turner, a SOKY Athlete Ambassador who has met with the second-year students, said the most important message he wants to convey to the students is to include him in communication.

“When working with someone with a disability, be patient and ask questions to the patient and the parent. Don’t just talk to the parent,” Turner said.

“Communication is a big part of it,” Chandan said. “While this is a medical education project, we also see this as a way for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be self-advocates. Having them speak directly to medical providers about what it is like to be a patient and what they need from us is powerful.”

Chandan recently received two additional grants to expand her work. The first, an SOI Inclusive Health Innovation Grant, aims to improve education for resident and attending physicians regarding care for people with IDD. Chandan will be working with the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (AAPM&R), leading efforts to educate resident and attending physicians regarding physiatrists’ role in the care of patients with IDD. Darryl Kaelin, M.D., chief, professor and residency director of the UofL Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and president of AAPM&R, also is working on the project.

The second grant is from the Working for Inclusive and Transformative Healthcare (WITH) Foundation to collaborate with the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute to develop a tool to aid with informed consent discussions. The tool will have the look of a graphic novel and will help facilitate conversations between health-care providers, patients with IDD and supporters.

“I went to medical school with the intention of being a physician who serves patients with IDD,” Chandan said. “Along the way, I realized that we have work to do in terms of health education and health-care delivery. My goal with these efforts is to improve care for these patients.”

 

 

 

February 21, 2018

Older adults in rural Ky. to benefit from more behavioral health services

UofL Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging receives nearly $2 million from HRSA
Older adults in rural Ky. to benefit from more behavioral health services

Older adult couple talking with a health care provider

Older adults are often burdened with a variety of health conditions, sometimes coupled with loneliness, anxiety and depression. A strategy to engage primary care practitioners in meeting behavioral health needs of older adults is at the heart of a new federal grant awarded to the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging (ISHOA).

Nearly $2 million in funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will provide stipends each year over a four-year period to 13 master level social work students, five counseling psychology students, and four doctoral level psychiatric nursing students for a total of 88 students. These students will be part of the Rural Geriatric Integrated Behavioral Health (BH) and Primary Care (PC) Training Network and will complete behavioral health practicums in primary care settings throughout Bullitt, Henry, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties. They also commit to seek employment in those areas upon graduation.

“Isolation and transportation are big issues for older adults. Often there are limited behavioral health clinicians in rural areas, and it is the perfect marriage to incorporate behavioral health services within the primary care offices where older adults are already seeking care,” said Anna Faul, Ph.D., executive director of ISHOA and associate dean of academic affairs at the
UofL Kent School of Social Work.

Christian Furman, M.D., the institute’s medical director and a professor of geriatric and palliative medicine, said the combination of multiple health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure and hearing or vision loss can be overwhelming for older adults.

“The mind-body connection is so important,” Furman said. “Physicians can write prescriptions but unless a person understands why they have a disease and receives the proper training on how to be resilient, people can feel helpless in their situation. We see a lot of alcohol and drug-abuse, and now the opioid epidemic.”

As the result of a $2.55 million HRSA grant awarded to the institute in 2015 for the creation of the Kentucky Rural & Underserved Geriatric Interprofessional Program, older adults in rural areas already are seeing the benefits of coordinated care.

Former Henry County resident Lynn Retzlaff, 66, has been living with a degenerative bone disease most of his life, resulting in a number of health complications leading to such factors as poor nutrition, reliance on opioids, isolation and despair.

Through meeting with one of the institute’s community health organizers, Retzlaff was able to get connected with multiple services for older adults, including a nutritionist, a student counselor and transportation services. He also learned new techniques for managing pain.

“I am no longer on opioids,” Retzlaff said. “I now use meditation tapes and have found they help me more than the pain medication. Before, I would cycle between relief and suffering.”

Retzlaff says he now eats more balanced meals and is in an overall better mental state.

“Many older people feel they can’t cope – they feel helpless. Without the help of the institute and community health organizers I would have deteriorated and life would be very gray.”

The newest HRSA grant also aims to bring enhanced training to both students and primary care providers. Utilizing the institute’s already established Interdisciplinary Curriculum for the Care of Older Adults, along with development of a curriculum for the Professional Certificate in Rural Geriatric Interdisciplinary Integrated BH-PC and continuing education courses for health care professionals, the initiative hopes to build capacity for the mind-body approach to care for seniors.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant award,” Faul said. “With this funding, we will improve the health outcomes of vulnerable older adults in our rural counties. We also will dramatically increase the interdisciplinary approach to health care education and service delivery, infuse behavioral health into rural primary care, and provide students with increased employment possibilities.”

Furman, who practices geriatric medicine with UofL Physicians, says both older adults and their care-givers stand to benefit from the grant.

“When you look at a disease like dementia, patients deal with many behavioral disorders like paranoia or agitation, and there can be a lot of anxiety on how to problem-solve around those factors. This grant is important in not only getting behavioral health specialists into rural areas but also in opening up opportunities for physicians and nurse practitioners to coordinate with behavioral specialists to improve patient outcomes from a social support stand-point.”

Watch a video about the institute’s work to benefit older adults in Kentucky.

Delivering depression treatment through technology

Delivering depression treatment through technology

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

Computer-assisted cognitive behavioral therapy effectively treats depression, showing potential to improve access to the treatment and reduce its cost, according to researchers at the University of Louisville and University of Pennsylvania.

Patients experienced a positive and robust response to online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), equaling a traditional in-person CBT treatment course with three times more therapist contact, according to the study, which published in the March issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

While one of the most effective non-pharmacological treatments for depression, traditional in-person CBT poses barriers to those who need treatment.

“Traditional CBT takes a fair amount of time, money and resources, and there aren’t enough cognitive behavioral therapists,” said Jesse Wright, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UofL Depression Center, Gottfried and Gisela Kolb Endowed Chair in Outpatient Psychiatry in the UofL School of Medicine, and an author of the study. “The technology delivers treatment more efficiently and reduces cost by allowing many more people to be treated by the same therapist.”

For the study, more than 150 medication-free patients with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to 16 weeks of either traditional CBT, which entails up to 20 sessions of 50 minutes each, or computer-assisted CBT using the Good Days Ahead program and 12 abbreviated therapy sessions.

The program, which Wright helped develop, consists of nine Internet-based modules that use video, psychoeducation, mood graphs to measure progress and interactive skill-building exercises that help users apply CBT methods in daily life. A dashboard allows clinicians to assess progress and coordinate aspects of treatment.

Both treatment groups experienced significant improvements and similar rates of symptom reduction across the 16 weeks of treatment. Patients with chronic and severe depression benefitted from both treatment courses.

The research was funded by grants totaling more than $2.5 million from the National Institute of Mental Health, the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders and part of the National Institutes of Health.

Authors of the study are Wright, Michael E. Thase, M.D., Tracy D. Eells, Ph.D., M.B.A., Marna S. Barrett, Ph.D., Stephen R. Wisniewski, Ph.D., G.K. Balasubramani, Ph.D., Paul McCrone, Ph.D., and Gregory K. Brown, Ph.D.

Age-Friendly Louisville asks community members to give input for more age-inclusive city

Age-Friendly Louisville asks community members to give input for more age-inclusive city

Older adults involved in a discussion.

Creating solutions for affordable, safe housing as Louisvillians age, along with discussion on improving transportation are elements of conversations at workshops taking place throughout the city this spring.

As a part of Age-Friendly Louisville, the University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging joins AARP, the City of Louisville and the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency to host workshops on what makes the community a better place for people to live, work and play at every stage of life. The events will include small group discussions on housing, mobility, respect and social inclusion, and community support and health services.

Workshop dates are March 7, 14, 21, 28, and April 4, 7, 17 and 24. More information, including times and locations, is available online

Information received from these conversations will help guide an action plan to drive the implementation of age-friendly practices. In October 2016, the City of Louisville became a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, an institutional affiliate of the WHO’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities & Communities®.

KIPDA and UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging also are teaming up to host World Café events this month in Jefferson, Bullitt, Shelby and Trimble counties. These events include discussion about the results of the most recent regional needs assessment and how to work together to ensure support for the area’s aging population. More information is available online

Can increasing green space improve our health?

Learn about research into the effects of foliage on health at Beer with a Scientist Mar. 14
Can increasing green space improve our health?

In neighborhoods with poor air quality and many busy streets, residents have a higher risk of heart disease. Researchers at the University of Louisville are studying air quality, innovative landscape design and human health to determine, scientifically, whether planting more trees and adding greenspaces in a neighborhood could increase the health of its residents.

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center at UofL, will discuss the research, the Green Heart Project, at the next Beer with a Scientist event.

“No one knows whether and to what extent trees and neighborhood greenery affect human health and why,” Bhatnagar said. “This work will tell us how to design a neighborhood that supports human health and whether an increase in the urban greenspaces and vegetation could enhance physical and mental health by decreasing the levels of ambient air pollution.”

The Green Heart Project is a collaboration of UofL, The Nature Conservancy, Hyphae Design Laboratory, the Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil, the U.S. Forest Service and the City of Louisville. The goal of the project is to assess how residential greenness and neighborhood greenspaces affect the health of our communities by decreasing the levels of pollution and promoting physical activity and social cohesion.

The talk begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Mar. 14, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Apr. 18, Deborah Yoder-Himes, Ph.D., will discuss super bacteria, antibiotic resistance and why everything is labeled "anti-bacterial."

Ravenous Race honors friend, benefits Brown Cancer Center

Save the date: Sept. 22 in Bowling Green, Ky.
Ravenous Race honors friend, benefits Brown Cancer Center

When the husband of a friend and co-worker of Morgan Baer died in January, she wanted to both honor his life and help vanquish the killer that took it.

That’s the inspiration behind the Ravenous Race, a 5K race and 1-mile walk scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, in Bowling Green, Ky.

Both events kick off at 6 a.m. with day-of registration followed by packet and bib pick-up. The starter’s gun will fire for both events at 7:30 a.m. The race start and end points are Chaney’s Dairy Barn, 9191 Nashville Rd. in Bowling Green.

Pre-event registration is available on raceroster.com.

Proceeds from the event go to support research carried out by the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center where Baer’s friend Dean Valentini was treated. Diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, internal melanoma, Valentini traveled from his home in Bowling Green to Louisville to obtain the specialized care he needed from staff at the Brown Cancer Center.

Valentini lost his fight when he died Jan. 7, but Baer and Valentini’s wife Deana were inspired to do something to honor Dean who was a dedicated marathon runner himself.

“Deana and I are passionate about the research, particularly in melanoma, going on at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center,” Baer said. “I wanted to do something in Dean’s memory, and this race seemed most appropriate.”

The event name reflects another of Dean’s obsessions: A Baltimore native, he was a lifelong fan of the Baltimore Ravens.

Baer is currently signing up race sponsors in several categories to support the event. For details, phone 270-839-1029 or email morgan.foster@topper.wku.edu.

UofL hosts famed trumpeter Doc Severinsen for benefit concert Apr. 7

Concert and gala to benefit Kentucky Lions Eye Center and UofL Jazz students
UofL hosts famed trumpeter Doc Severinsen for benefit concert Apr. 7

Doc Severinsen

"Heeeeere's Johnny!" That lead-in, followed by a big-band trumpet blast, was the hallmark of late-night television for three decades. “Johnny” was Johnny Carson, the announcer was Ed McMahon and the bandleader was Doc Severinsen. Beginning in 1962, “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson ruled the night airwaves for 30 years.

A Louisville audience will have the chance to hear Severinsen’s iconic big band sound next month. UofL’s Department of Ophthalmology and Jazz Studies Program will present “Jazz-4-Sight” featuring Severinsen performing with the UofL Jazz Ensemble at 8 p.m. April 7 at the School of Music’s Comstock Hall, 105 W. Brandeis Ave. Concert tickets are $50 a person, with all proceeds benefiting the Kentucky Lions Eye Center and UofL jazz students.

Doc Severinsen and His Big Band hit the road in 1992, following the final telecast of Carson’s show, and hasn’t stopped touring since. Audiences enjoy Severinsen’s shows not only because he shared their living rooms for so many years but also because of the Big Band repertoire, which includes Duke Ellington and Count Basie standards, pop, jazz, ballads, big band classics and, of course, “The Tonight Show” theme.

Severinsen, 90, can still play hard and hit all the high notes, a result of his continued commitment to studio practice and the refinement of his craft. The trumpeter also surrounds himself with the best in the business and enjoys sharing the spotlight. 

The public also is invited to a 6 p.m. gala that includes dinner and a silent auction at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis Ave. 

Click http://bit.ly/UofLJazz4Sight to purchase tickets for the concert or gala. For questions or more information, contact the School of Music at 502-852-6907. 

Epidural stimulation shown to normalize blood pressure following spinal cord injury

UofL research supports future study of beneficial effects of stimulation
Epidural stimulation shown to normalize blood pressure following spinal cord injury

Susan Harkema, Ph.D., Glenn Hirsch, M.D.

Patients with severe spinal cord injury (SCI) often experience chronically low blood pressure that negatively affects their health, their quality of life and their ability to engage in rehabilitative therapy.

“People with severe spinal cord injury – especially when it occurs in a higher level in the spine – have problems with blood pressure regulation to the point that it becomes the main factor affecting quality of life for them,” said Glenn Hirsch, M.D., professor of cardiology at the University of Louisville (UofL). “Some cannot even sit up without passing out. They are forced to use medications, compression stockings or abdominal binders to maintain an adequate blood pressure.”

Working with human research participants, Hirsch and researchers at the Kentucky Spinal Cord injury Research Center (KSCIRC) at UofL, have found that spinal cord epidural stimulation can safely and effectively elevate blood pressure in individuals with SCI along with chronic hypotension. The research was reported this month in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (Normalization of Blood Pressure with Spinal Cord Epidural Stimulation After Severe Spinal Cord Injury).

Led by Susan Harkema, Ph.D., associate director of KSCIRC and professor of neurosurgery, the research included four research participants with chronic, motor complete, cervical SCI who suffered from persistent low resting blood pressure. The participants were implanted with an electrode array for epidural stimulation, and individual configurations for stimulation were identified for each participant. During five two-hour sessions, the participants’ blood pressure was elevated to normal ranges. Their blood pressure returned to low levels when stimulation ceased, and was again elevated to normal ranges with stimulation.

Stefanie Putnam was one of the research participants. Following a severe spinal cord injury in 2009, Putnam’s blood pressure was so low she was unable to engage in the simplest of activities without losing consciousness.

“It prevented me from participating in activities, from talking on the phone, from sitting at a table and eating food. I had trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, trouble carrying on a conversation,” Putnam said. “I was passing out periodically – six or more times a day. Then I would have to tilt back in the chair for two hours.”

To help sustain her blood pressure, Putnam took medication, wore an extremely tight corset and drank a large amount of caffeine.

“I would still pass out,” she said.

With epidural stimulation, Putnam said she immediately felt the effects.

“I went from feeling like I was glued to the floor to elevated – as though gravity was not weighing me down. I feel alive!” she said.

Because of the undesirable side effects of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions, Hirsch said epidural stimulation for chronic low blood pressure in SCI could have significant benefits.

“People with severe SCI who have problems with resting hypotension have limited options. This intervention appears to reliably and reproducibly maintain blood pressure,” Hirsch said.

This work builds on previous research at KSCIRC showing benefits of spinal cord epidural stimulation, along with activity-based training, in which individuals with SCI have achieved voluntary movement, standing and stepping, and improved bladder, bowel and sexual function.

Harkema, the publication’s first author, said the blood-pressure research is promising, but must be tested over time and with a larger cohort of study participants.

“We need to see if it will have an impact over months or years,” Harkema said. “It will be very important to determine if these results are sustainable.”

To that end, UofL is screening participants for a six-year study that will further explore the life-enhancing effects of epidural stimulation on people with spinal cord injury (SCI). That study will measure the extent to which epidural stimulation will improve cardiovascular function as well as facilitate the ability to stand and voluntarily control leg movements below the injury level in 36 participants with chronic, complete spinal cord injuries. Individuals interested in being considered for this study can add their information to the university’s Victory Over Paralysis database: victoryoverparalysis.org/participate-in-research.  

The published research is supported by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, University of Louisville Hospital, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Medtronic Plc.

 

 

March 19, 2018

 

Psychiatry residents place 4th in national MindGames competition

Psychiatry residents place 4th in national MindGames competition

Psychiatry resident physicians (from left) Svetlana Famina, Laura Romer and Melissa Sullivan placed fourth in the American Psychiatric Association’s MindGames National Residency Team Competition.

For the first time, resident physicians from the University of Louisville earned a top-10 finish in the American Psychiatric Association’s MindGames National Residency Team Competition.

UofL residents Laura Romer, M.D., Svetlana Famina, M.D., and Melissa Sullivan, M.D., finished fourth out of more than 100 psychiatry programs across the United States that took the hour-long online exam testing knowledge of patient care, medicine and psychiatric history.

The physicians took a no-anxiety, no-expectation approach to the competition, a test similar to the Psychiatry Resident-In-Training Examination (PRITE) that residents take annually, said Romer, a fourth-year resident. They reviewed old PRITE questions, but couldn’t find time in their hectic schedules to prepare as a group.

The strategy worked.

“This is our passion,” Famina said. “All the knowledge we’ve accumulated from daily clinical practice and working with our attending physicians stays with us.”

This was the best finish in the competition of any UofL-sponsored team, said Robert Campbell, M.D., the team's coach and assistant professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the UofL School of Medicine.

“With more than 200 programs in the country, our residents showed themselves to be true scholars in the field of psychiatry,” Campbell said.

Sullivan, a third-year resident, said the team’s finish is a testament to the quality of the residency program.

“We have so many clinical sites that we go to. We see so many different types of patients. We learn from many researchers. UofL has a lot to offer its residents,” Sullivan said.

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

Motor Retraining therapy provides hope for functional movement disorders

Patients find answers through unique, specialized program at UofL Physicians
Motor Retraining therapy provides hope for functional movement disorders

Julia Semple in therapy for functional movement disorders

Julia Semple spent 10 years trying to figure out what was wrong.

“It started with my head sort of twitching back and forth, like when you shake your head ‘no.’ It was completely involuntary,” Semple explained. “It progressed to other areas of my body over time. You know when you relax and you have a little twitch? Imagine that except a hundred times bigger and over and over again so you could never fall asleep. It was horrible.”

The symptoms interfered with Semple’s sleep as well as her work as a massage therapist and dancer. Unable to detect a physical cause for the symptoms, numerous physicians and other health providers in her home state of Delaware told her they likely were caused by stress. Finally, in 2016, a neurologist gave her condition a name:  functional movement disorder.

Internet research led Semple to Kathrin LaFaver, M.D. a neurologist at the University of Louisville and director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Clinic at UofL Physicians. LaFaver developed the Motor Retraining program (MoRe), one of only a few such programs in existence for the treatment of FMD. MoRe was modeled after a program at Mayo Clinic and combines neurological treatment, psychological counseling, and physical and occupational therapy during a week-long inpatient therapy at Frazier Rehab Institute, a part of KentuckyOne Health. The program aims to improve patients’ motor symptoms, help them regain control over abnormal movements and develop better coping skills.

Functional Movement Disorders (FMD) are common conditions involving abnormal movements – jerking, tremor or issues with gait or speech. The problems are due to miscommunications in the central nervous system. Patients often complain of fatigue and difficulties with concentration and thinking.

“Functional disorders are in the borderland between neurology and psychiatry, and there is a lack of treatment programs for the conditions. Diagnostic tests do not reveal a cause for the FMD, so patients experiencing symptoms often are told by neurologists that ‘nothing is wrong,’ and may be referred to a psychiatrist,” LaFaver said.

FMD can be triggered by psychological or physical stress or trauma, or may have no obvious trigger. Although it is not revealed in traditional imaging or other diagnostics, the condition is potentially reversible through multidisciplinary therapy. Patients from 25 states have undergone week-long inpatient therapy for FMD in the MoRe program at UofL. More than 85 percent of patients undergoing the MoRe program have shown improvement in their symptoms after one week of treatment, and 69 percent report the improvement of symptoms was maintained after six months.

Semple experienced significant improvement during her week of intensive therapy tailored to her individual needs and symptoms.

“After a decade of people telling me ‘take a vacation,’ or ‘there is nothing wrong with you,’ the care at UofL and Frazier was the best ever. Everyone – whatever their part was – they really cared,” Semple said.

“All of my life was wrapped up in trying to manage these symptoms. The treatment literally gave me my life back.”

 

International FND Awareness Day, April 13, 2018

FNDHOPE.ORG provides information on functional neurological disorders (including FMD), along with links to resources such as the UofL Physicians MoRe program. Patients, providers and family members are invited to support International FND Awareness Day on April 13 by taking the #LetsTalkFND pledge and share information to increase awareness of the conditions.

To recognize International FND Awareness Day in Louisville, Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., neurologist with UofL Physicians, will host a Lunch & Learn on Friday, April 13, to share some of the latest research on functional movement disorders. The free event is open to patients affected by functional movement disorders and their care partners.

To attend the luncheon, held at Frazier Rehab Institute in the Bill Collins Resource Center, 220 Abraham Flexner Way, call 502-852-7654 or email Alexandra.jacob@louisville.edu by April 11.

 

 

April 9, 2018

The epic battle between superbugs and humans – and our unexpected allies

Hear how we can win the war with drug-resistant bacteria at Beer with a Scientist, April 18
The epic battle between superbugs and humans – and our unexpected allies

Deborah Yoder-Himes, Ph.D.

We have been bombarded with the notion that bacteria are bad for us. You probably also have heard that germs are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics, leaving us vulnerable to diseases that we thought were conquered. As scientists develop ever-more-powerful medications to fight bacterial infections, the bacteria are fighting back, and sometimes seem to be winning.

Will we eventually enter a post-antibiotic era where simple infections can kill us?

Deborah Yoder-Himes, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Louisville, assures us we are not yet doomed, but we do need to have a battle plan.

“If we take steps now to combat the rising rates of antibiotic resistance, develop new antibiotics and secure these medicines for future use, we can win the war against these bugs,” Yoder-Himes said.

How do we do this?

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Yoder-Himes will discuss how most bacteria are actually good for us, how pathogenic bacteria evolve to resist our most potent medications and how science can preserve our ability to fight illness-causing infections.

The talk begins at 8 p.m. on  Wednesday, Apr. 18, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Watch for info on the next Beer with a Scientist, scheduled for May 16.

Is there a doctor on board?

Innovative field training prepares future physicians for emergency situations – and allows them to serve as they learn
Is there a doctor on board?

Matthew Wilson practices a cricothyroidotomy in an airline seat

“Odds are that at some point in your flying career, you will have to respond to an overhead page:  ‘Is there any doctor on board the flight,’” Raymond Orthober, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Louisville, told 35 second- and third-year medical students.

Orthober, the students and additional instructors were aboard a Delta aircraft, engaged in a training event for treating passengers who have medical issues during a commercial flight. Although the aircraft remained at the gate, the space created a realistic environment for learning to provide medical care in the air.

“One day that’s going to be me who can stand up and say, ‘I’m here.’ This is a chance to have a little background in what to do in those scenarios and to get comfortable managing those things in an airplane setting,” said Matthew Wilson, a third-year UofL medical student who took part in the training.

See a video about in-flight emergency training.

In-flight emergencies are just one of the scenarios Wilson and other medical students experience as part of the Disaster Medicine Certificate Series (DMCS), a program at the UofL School of Medicine that prepares them for a wide variety of emergency situations. More than 65 second- and third-year students have participated in DMCS training events, including mass casualty triage and handling hazardous materials, since the extracurricular program began at UofL last fall. Organizers believe it is the only program in the nation that exposes medical students to this type of training on an ongoing basis.

The DMCS grew out of third-year medical student Madison Kommor’s own desire to help in case of an emergency.

“I hope I never have to respond to a disaster situation, but I was tired of sitting in a library waiting for someone to teach me what to do if something happens,” Kommor said.

DMCS is designed to prepare future physicians in every specialty to put their skills to work in case of natural or man-made disasters such as a flood, hurricane or mass shooting.

“A lot of students got excited about it. They want to be useful, but they need to be trained,” said Bethany Hodge, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics at UofL and a faculty advisor for DMCS.

The program’s training sessions, which take place during the students’ free time, familiarize students with emergency response systems and prepare them to provide medical assistance outside of a hospital or clinical environment. During the in-flight emergency training, instructors shared stories of their own experiences with in-flight emergencies, described medical supplies typically found on commercial aircraft, and explained laws and best practices for helping passengers in distress and the use of ground-based medical support. Students then rotated among seven training stations, where they treated simulated in-flight emergencies such as cardiac arrest, drug overdose, turbulence injuries and choking.

“The disaster medicine training provides the opportunity to get hands-on in real-world settings that we really don’t get elsewhere in medical training,” Wilson said.

In addition to the flight emergency experience, the students have received mass casualty training from the United States Army, instruction in medical countermeasures from the Louisville Metro Department of Health & Wellness, and learned about trauma management in a wilderness setting. Once students have accumulated sufficient training points within a two-year period, they will receive a certificate of program completion.

Although the students will not be licensed physicians for a few more years, they are putting their training to work for the community immediately. Program participants are required to enlist in the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), a national network of volunteers organized for emergency response under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Some of the students have participated with the MRC in response to the Hepatitis A outbreak, assisting the Louisville Department of Health & Wellness with vaccination drives. Other students have joined the Norton Children’s Special Response Team, formed to handle hazardous material decontamination situations at Norton Children’s Hospital.

“I think the real world experience is valuable and you are not just waiting to give back, which is another thing that motivates the students,” Hodge said. “Being able to do something now is really positive.”

The opportunity for immediate application and the ongoing nature of the program, as opposed to a one-time event, give Hodge confidence that the students will retain their involvement in disaster preparedness throughout their careers.

“My hope is that we have people with the mindset for disaster preparedness,” Hodge said. “No matter what type of physician they become, they are able to support the systems that deal with natural and man-made disasters.”

 

 

April 16, 2018

UofL provides quality, lifelong professional education for physicians

CME office receives full reaccreditation with commendation from ACCME
UofL provides quality, lifelong professional education for physicians

Staying up-to-date on the latest developments in medical research and clinical care is part of every physician’s duty to provide the best care for patients.

The quality and integrity of courses offered through the University of Louisville Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development have been affirmed by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). In March, the ACCME awarded the school Accreditation with Commendation for a six-year accreditation period.

“We were thrilled to receive the notice that we have been reaccredited to continue offering lifelong learning programming for our physicians and physicians all over the U.S.,” said Daniel Cogan, Ed.D., assistant dean for CME and professional development at the UofL School of Medicine.

UofL’s CME office offers continuing education for physicians not only in Louisville, but throughout Kentucky and across the United States. The ACCME Commendation recognized the office’s effectiveness in addressing local and community issues such as the medical needs of diverse groups, including LGBTQ patients and other underserved populations.

“Continuing education for physicians in the community contributes to improved health care and a healthier population in Kentucky as well as throughout the region and the world,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “The exceptional services provided by this office are a credit to the leadership and dedication of Dr. Cogan and his staff.”

The office provides programming approved by the American Medical Association, AMA PRA Category 1 credit, for more than 40 major CME courses each year, as well as more than 50 regularly scheduled series programs such as Grand Rounds in UofL departments and divisions. The office provides services for local and regional partners, including Jewish Hospital, the Robley Rex Veterans Administration Medical Center, Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox, and Area Health Education Centers in the western half of Kentucky. They also provide administrative services for third-party CME providers.

“We work with joint providers to offer multi-day courses in many parts of the country and as far away as Hawai’i and the Caribbean,” Cogan said. “We also provide course development services for our partners in India. In 2017, our programs provided CME credit for more than 23,000 practicing physicians, from primary care to the most specialized practitioner, and another 20,000 non-physician health-care providers.”

 

 

April 17, 2018

Walk the Line

UofL School of Medicine creates Medical Mile walking path to promote wellness
Walk the Line

Students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors to facilities within the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center now have a marked one-mile path to foster wellness through walking.

The HSC Medical Mile walking path will be dedicated at a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday, April 24, at 11:30 A.M. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will join UofL School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel, M.D., to open the new path.

The event will be held at the Medical Mile’s starting point, on the sidewalk next to the Health Sciences Center Plaza near Kornhauser Library, 500 S. Preston St.

The Medical Mile follows a 1-mile path from the HSC Plaza north to East Muhammad Ali Boulevard, east to South Hancock Street, south to East Chestnut Street, west to South Floyd Street, north to East Muhammad Ali again, and finishing up by going south on South Preston back to the starting point.

The mile is marked along the way with the Medical Mile graphic image and with one-fourth, one-half and three-quarter mile markers as well.

The creation of the Medical Mile was part of the School of Medicine’s SMART Wellness Task Force and the Being Well Initiative, said Chief of Staff Karan Chavis, and is the product of the work of the committee under the leadership of former co-chair Miranda Sloan and current co-chair Tamara Iacono.

“We know that walking is great physical activity that virtually anyone can do, and with the sidewalks we have surrounding our buildings, we have a ready-made way to create a dedicated walking space for people,” Chavis said. “Through the spring and summer, we are encouraging people to create ‘walking trains,’ picking up people along the way and walking together.”

The path of the HSC Medical Mile is shown on the map below:

$11.2 million federal grant to support microorganism and disease research

$11.2 million federal grant to support microorganism and disease research

Rich Lamont, Ph.D.

It is well-established that the community of organisms inside our bodies perform vital roles in digestion, production of critical metabolites, controlling the immune system and even affecting the brain.

To further understand these associations linking the microbiome - bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and protozoans - with inflammation and disease, the University of Louisville has received an $11.2 million federal grant over five years to establish an interdisciplinary research program.

The grant, awarded through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, establishes a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) and pairs well-funded scientists with junior faculty in the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Engineering. This arrangement facilitates the career development of junior faculty, and aims to advance the study of the interface between microbiome, inflammation and disease development.

“Although the microbiome contributes to many beneficial aspects of our physiology, when these communities are out of balance, or dysbiotic, they are implicated in an array of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, periodontitis, vaginosis, colorectal cancer, and distant sites like rheumatoid arthritis, even neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and autism spectrum,” said Richard Lamont, Ph.D., chair of the School of Dentistry’s Department of Oral Immunology and Infectious Diseases and principal investigator for the grant.

Furthermore, Lamont said, inflammation is a process that provides the mechanism connecting the microbiome and disease.

“The interplay of the pro and anti-inflammatory components of the immune system with microbes often dictates whether a person remains healthy or develops a disease, as well as controls aspects of recovery, chronic infection and the level of tissue destruction,” he said.

Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine is the other primary department participating in the COBRE. Researchers in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering’s bioengineering department will provide expertise as possible new discoveries show potential for new therapeutic technology against disease.

“This program will synergize with, and augment, existing research priorities at UofL centered around microbial community-associated diseases,” said Greg Postel, M.D., interim UofL president. “We are confident that establishing a critical mass of investigators with unique complementary expertise will propel UofL to a position of preeminence in this important field.”

“We are thrilled to add this COBRE multidisciplinary program in research, education and mentoring to facilitate and accelerate the transition of junior faculty to independent extramural funded status, advancing our overall research enterprise,” said T. Gerard Bradley, B.D.S., M.S., Dr.Med.Dent., dean of the School of Dentistry.

The grant will support five junior faculty and their specific research focused on the mouth, GI tract, arthropod (flea) vector environments, vagina and lungs:

  • Juhi Bagaitkar, Ph.D., will study how oxidants change neutrophil, or white blood cell, responses in the mouth. She is focused on inflammatory pathways regulated by Reactive Oxygen Species essential in host responses to oral bacteria. She hopes to provide insights into neutrophil biology, and enhance the understanding of immune pathways related to inflammation of the gums and the interface with microbes.
  • Venkatakrishna Jala, Ph.D., will investigate the beneficial effects of the microbial metabolite, uronlithin A (UroA) and its structural analogue UAS03 in inflammatory bowel disorders. He will examine their impact on both immune responses and maintenance of the epithelial barrier in the gastrointestinal mucosal membrane.
  • Matthew Lawrenz, Ph.D., will study the pathogenic mechanisms of Y. pestis, a bacterium that causes bubonic plague. Humans can become sick after being bitten by a rodent flea. Lawrenz will further investigate several mechanisms, including how Y. pestis evades macrophages, a kind of white blood cell first on the scene of infection. As the project develops, Lawrenz also hopes to explore the relationship of Y.pestis and microbial communities of the flea, which may impact colonization and transmission.
  • Jill Steinbach-Rankins, Ph.D., will investigate a new nanotherapeutic approach to treat bacterial vaginosis (BV), a dysbiotic condition where vaginal microbial communities are disrupted. With expertise in materials science engineering and biomedical engineering, Steinbach-Rankins aims to develop targeted community engineering to restore the balance between the microbiome and host to prevent the manifestation of disease.
  • Jonathan Warawa, Ph.D., will investigate Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp), the bacterium responsible for respiratory melioidosis, an inflammatory disease of the lungs that progresses into a fatal systemic disease involving major organs. This project drills down into innate immune responses contributing either to protection and resolution of diseases or to increased morbidity. Through greater understanding of immune responses, therapeutic intervention is possible.

The COBRE also helps establish a functional microbiomics core research facility at UofL. The facility will provide germ free animal facilities, oxygen-free culture capability, microbiome sequencing and bioinformatics, assessment of inflammatory markers and pathology services. 

Postponed: Ribbon-cutting for Medical Mile walking path at UofL health sciences campus

Due to anticipated inclement weather on Tuesday, April 24, the ribbon-cutting event for the new Medical Mile walking path at the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center campus has been postponed.

The event will be rescheduled for a later date.

Please contact Jill Scoggins at 502-852-7461 or jill.scoggins@louisville.edu if you have any questions.

About the Medical Mile:

The creation of the Medical Mile walking path is part of the School of Medicine’s SMART Wellness Task Force and the Being Well Initiative. The Medical Mile follows a 1-mile path on the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center campus. A map of the path can be found here.The mile is marked along the way with the Medical Mile graphic image and with one-fourth, one-half and three-quarter mile markers.

 

 

Amid opioid crisis, new partnership will enhance autopsy services and training

Justice Cabinet teaming up with UofL and UK to strengthen Medical Examiner’s Office
Amid opioid crisis, new partnership will enhance autopsy services and training

The new partnership will broaden education and training opportunities for students, residents and fellows, says Eyas Hattab, M.D., chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville announced a new partnership today that will strengthen the state Medical Examiner’s Office, a vital step amid the deadly opioid epidemic and a national shortage of forensic doctors.

Under the agreement, the Justice Cabinet will contract with the universities for forensic pathology services, combining resources for both autopsies and medical education. The move is expected to boost salaries for doctors, helping improve recruitment and retention, and it will help the cabinet avoid charging counties a fee for autopsies.

“The opioid crisis has placed tremendous strains on our state, and we must take every opportunity to innovate and find efficiencies,” Secretary Tilley said. “By partnering with universities, we can improve the pay and size of our forensics team while also ensuring that families, coroners and police get the answers they need when tragedy strikes.”

The agreement also will help UK and UofL maximize training opportunities for medical students and residents in pathology.

“Our collaboration with the Justice Cabinet and their Medical Examiner’s Office illustrates the University of Kentucky’s desire to take a comprehensive, ‘all hands on deck’ approach to addressing Kentucky’s opioid crisis,” said Dr. Darrell Jennings, chair of the UK Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. “This opportunity will provide our medical students in Lexington, Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky, along with our residents and fellows, with unparalleled training on the front lines, harnessing the power of compassion and commitment to transform the future.”

“Through this strengthened relationship with the state Medical Examiner’s Office, we will broaden the educational and training opportunities for our students, residents and fellows,” said Dr. Eyas Hattab, chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Sciences at UofL. “Our trainees will have access to the number and variety of cases that are invaluable as they prepare for the next steps in their careers.”

UofL will provide up to six pathologists in state medical examiner offices; UK will provide up to four. The cabinet will pay the universities for any services performed by these doctors on a scale similar to current costs. The cabinet and universities will also collaborate on strategies that could possibly lower the overall cost of the program in the long run.

The Medical Examiner’s Office currently employs nine doctors – six in Louisville, two in Frankfort and one in Madisonville. The partnership is expected to provide a net increase of one forensic pathologist immediately with opportunities to add an additional doctor, possibly within two years, thanks to recruitment assistance from the universities.

All doctors have an opportunity to transition into university positions, and those who do are expected to receive a salary increase depending on the individual contracts between doctors and universities. Added salary will compensate for additional responsibilities such as teaching, researching, writing, consulting or other contributions that doctors are interested in pursuing.

While the exact terms of employment will depend on the individual contracts, the higher pay scale is expected to make Kentucky more effective at hiring and keeping new doctors.
Kentucky, like many other states, has struggled to recruit forensic pathologists in recent years due to a national shortage. Only about 500 forensic doctors are currently practicing across the country. At the same time, overdose deaths have continued to climb over the past decade, driving up demand for autopsies and toxicology tests. More than 1,400 Kentuckians died from an overdose in 2016.

In response, enhancing the Medical Examiners’ Office has remained a high priority under the current administration.

In 2016, the office resumed services in Madisonville (following a two-year hiatus), helping coroners and law enforcement agencies across Western Kentucky reduce travel costs and obtain evidence at a faster pace.

Secretary Tilley said he plans to continue looking for ways to improve the office. For instance, the cabinet is aggressively seeking grant funds to expand capacity, reduce caseloads, expand toxicology analysis and enhance data collection.

“We want to consider every option to enhance services while avoiding fees for counties,” he said. “UK and UofL have been excellent partners in this process, and we look forward to continuing our work with coroners to ensure their needs are met.”

Telepsychiatry program recognized for reducing health care barriers in rural areas

Telepsychiatry program recognized for reducing health care barriers in rural areas

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville School of Medicine has partnered with a community mental health center to bring telepsychiatry to rural residents, most of whom would otherwise have difficulty obtaining care.

The department and The Adanta Group this month received an honorable mention from the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center’s Breaking Barriers through Telehealth awards for bridging gaps to mental health care in rural Kentucky and providing an innovative way to train resident physicians.

The collaboration began in 2015, transplanting the well-established model for teaching residents in a clinical setting to a video teleconferencing platform that connects patients at a rural mental health care facility to UofL psychiatrists. Through the partnership, UofL provides telepsychiatry primarily in Casey and Taylor Counties.

“Telepsychiatry often means the difference between care and no care for some rural patients,” said Robert Caudill, M.D., UofL Physicians – Psychiatry, residency training director and associate professor of the UofL Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “These patients can go long periods of time between appointments because they have to travel far from home for care or available slots are filled. Rural health facilities have a difficult time recruiting and maintaining medical staff.”

UofL has helped maintain Adanta’s staffing level without having to rely on temporary doctors who are typically expensive to employ. In turn, Adanta increased the length of appointments to allow residents time to learn under faculty supervision.

“We provide university-based physicians who are working with the clinics consistently and Adanta didn’t have to hire us at 40 hours a week,” Caudill said. “I could be there for four hours an afternoon in an isolated clinic, and with the click of a mouse, treat patients in a different clinic without having to drive somewhere. The logistics are persuasive.”

Telepsychiatry has other benefits to the patient. Stigma surrounding mental health treatment is reduced because the process of going to appointments is more private. It’s also less intimidating to patients who have experienced trauma to meet with a physician through a video monitor, Caudill said.

As mental health services transition from relying on traditional office visits, UofL psychiatry residency graduates are prepared to integrate technology into their clinical practice.

Timothy Bickel, telehealth director at the UofL School of Medicine, said training resident physicians in telemedicine should expand beyond psychiatry.

“Medical students and residents get attention from prospective employers for being involved in telehealth,” Bickel said. “Students should at least have the opportunity to be exposed to telehealth.”

Urologist Kellen Choi, D.O., delivers specialized expertise at UofL Physicians

Kellen Choi, D.O., has joined UofL Physicians - Urology specializing in pelvic reconstructive surgery, neurourology and voiding dysfunction for both men and women. Choi, who is fellowship trained in reconstructive surgery, also has been named assistant professor, director of female urology, urodynamics and voiding dysfunction in the Department of Urology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
Urologist Kellen Choi, D.O., delivers specialized expertise at UofL Physicians

Kellen Choi, D.O.

In addition to general urology, Choi has special interest in pelvic reconstructive surgery, including vaginal repair of prolapse and robotic surgery for female prolapse conditions. She offers treatments for voiding dysfunction using botox injections to the bladder and sacral neuromodulation.

“I practice a multidisciplinary approach in treating various urinary complaints, and use minimally invasive techniques to achieve maximum results,” Choi said. “I work closely with pelvic floor physical therapists for conservative treatment options. When medication and other more conservative therapies do not achieve desired results, we can consider a bladder pacemaker or other more novel approaches.”

For survivors of prostate and other cancers or severe urinary trauma, Choi performs specialized reconstructive procedures including urethroplasty, in which she uses tissue from inside the patient’s cheek to reconstruct the urethra. She also implants artificial urinary sphincters (AUS) for the treatment of urinary incontinence, male bladder slings and penile prosthesis, and provides other treatments for erectile dysfunction.

“Dr. Choi’s expertise is a great asset for patients throughout Kentuckiana,” said Murali Ankem, M.D., M.B.A., chair of the UofL Department of Urology. “She already has gained the attention and respect of the entire department and patients she has served.”

Choi graduated from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. Following her urology residency at Charleston Area Medical Center in W.Va., she completed a fellowship in female urology, neurology and pelvic floor reconstruction at Metropolitan Urologic Specialists in Minneapolis.

Choi is a member of the American Urology Association, Society of Urodynamics Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction, and American College of Osteopathic Surgeons.

 

 

May 8, 2018

Tickets now available for Best of Louisville; event benefits Brown Cancer Center

Tickets now available for Best of Louisville; event benefits Brown Cancer Center

Tickets are now available for Louisville Magazine’sBest of Louisville® award celebration recognizing people and companies who make Louisville a great city.

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville has been named the “Charity of Choice” of the event, scheduled for 6:30-10 p.m., Thursday, July 12, at the C2 Event Venue, 225 E. Breckinridge St.

Funds raised for the cancer center from the Best of Louisville event will specifically go to the UofL Brown Cancer Center’s M. Krista Loyd Resource Center, a place for patients and families to receive much-needed resources such as transportation and lodging assistance; wigs, scarves and prosthetics; and a variety of therapies, education and support.

Early bird tickets throughout May are $35 per person when using the code ENDCANCER at checkout. Beginning June 1, early bird tickets will be $45 with the code. Regular-price tickets purchased without the code are $50 per person.

Tickets are available at UofLBrownCancerCenter.org by clicking on the “Best of Louisville” link. All sales with the promo code ENDCANCER go directly to the cancer center.

Admission includesfood and drink tastings, cash bar and a complimentary copy of Louisville Magazine's July "Best of Louisville" issue. The magazine created the city’s first reader-voted awards 33 years ago.

Sponsors of the event are UofL Hospital, Korbel California Champagne, DJX 99.7 All the Hits, Four Roses Bourbon and Universal Linen Service/Every Piece Counts.

For information, contact Elea Fox, executive director of advancement for the Brown Cancer Center, 502-852-3380 or elea.fox@louisville.edu.

 

Boland named interim chair of pediatrics at University of Louisville

Boland named interim chair of pediatrics at University of Louisville

Kimberly Boland, M.D.

University of Louisville School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel, M.D., has appointed Kimberly Boland, M.D., to serve as interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics. The appointment is effective July 1, 2018.

Boland has served as assistant dean of resident education and work environment in the Office of Graduate Medical Education at the UofL medical school since August 2016. Additionally, she holds the positions of executive vice chair of pediatrics, associate director of pediatric residency training and professor in the UofL Department of Pediatrics. Board-certified in pediatrics, Boland is a pediatric hospitalist with UofL Physicians – Pediatric Hospital Medicine and Norton Children’s Hospital.

“Kim Boland is an outstanding clinician educator, scholar and leader,” Ganzel said. “She is well positioned to lead the Department of Pediatrics now and into the future.”

In addition to overseeing the pediatric residency program for nine years as program director, Boland oversaw nine pediatric fellowship programs at UofL. She assisted in the creation of the department’s Development and Behavioral Fellowship, Pediatric Child Abuse Fellowship, Pediatric Pulmonary Fellowship, Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship. She also serves the university on the Promotion Appointment and Tenure Committee and the School of Medicine Wellness Committee.

She is a past recipient of the Paul Weber Award, the School of Medicine Master Educator Award and Dean’s Educator Award for Distinguished Teaching along with five clinical teaching awards and seven faculty peer-mentoring awards.

Boland was named a fellow of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program’s 2017-18 class. ELAM is a yearlong fellowship for women faculty in schools of medicine, dentistry and public health and provides training and experiential learning to help expand the national pool of qualified women candidates for executive positions in the academic health sciences.

She also is immediate past chair of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors’ Mid-America Region and a member of its Curriculum Task Force and a past president of both the Kentucky Pediatric Foundation and the Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A Louisville native, Boland earned her undergraduate degree from Notre Dame University and her medical degree from UofL. She completed her residency and chief residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric critical care at St. Louis Children’s Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis.

Boland succeeds Charles Woods, M.D., who has been named pediatrics chair at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and Children’s Hospital at Erlanger after serving at UofL for 12 years. “We thank Dr. Woods for his many years of service and leadership at the School of Medicine and wish him well in his new position,” Ganzel said.

 

 

Existing institute renamed, will look at aspects of environment on health

  Existing institute renamed, will look at aspects of environment on health

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D.

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees today approved a name change of an existing institute that will contribute to expanding the university’s scope in evaluating the influence of the environment on health and wellness 

The Board okayed the changing of the name of the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development (KIESD), created in 1992, to the Envirome Institute. Like KIESD, the institute will support research and applied scholarship, teaching and educational outreach activities, but with greater emphasis on community engagement and health.

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., professor and the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine in the UofL School of Medicine, is tapped to lead the institute, which will have a more focused emphasis on the health effects of the environment, not as separate domains but as an integrated whole. An envirome is the total set of environmental factors, both present and past that affect the state and disease susceptibility of individuals. 

“Over the past decade, new expertise in the area of environmental health research has emerged,” Bhatnagar said. “To fully meet the needs of our state and nation in environmental health, it is critical for UofL to expand the scope of the KIESD and to recruit new leading scholars with broad backgrounds in health sciences, environmental research and community engagement.”

The Board also approved the creation of the Center for Healthy Air, Water, and Soil (CHAWS), a part of the Envirome Institute. CHAWS will support outreach activities to promote collaborations and interactions with the community for information exchange, partnership in scientific studies, dissemination of environmental information to the community and consultation by the community on issues relevant to the environment and health.

 

UofL School of Medicine launches Medical Mile walking path to promote wellness

Mayor, Medical School Dean cut the ribbon on Louisville's newest urban trail
UofL School of Medicine launches Medical Mile walking path to promote wellness

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel, M.D., cut the ribbon to open the Medical Mile at the UofL Health Sciences Center.

Students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors to facilities within the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center now have a marked one-mile path to foster wellness through walking.

The HSC Medical Mile walking path was dedicated at a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday, May 23. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer joined UofL School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel, M.D., to open the new path.

The Medical Mile follows a 1-mile path from the HSC Plaza north to East Muhammad Ali Boulevard, east to South Hancock Street, south to East Chestnut Street, west to South Floyd Street, north to East Muhammad Ali again, and finishing up by going south on South Preston back to the starting point.

The mile is marked along the way with the Medical Mile graphic image and with one-fourth, one-half and three-quarter mile markers as well.

The creation of the Medical Mile was part of the School of Medicine’s SMART Wellness Task Force and the Being Well Initiative, said Chief of Staff Karan Chavis, and is the product of the work of the committee under the leadership of former co-chair Miranda Sloan and current co-chair Tamara Iacono.

“We know that walking is great physical activity that virtually anyone can do, and with the sidewalks we have surrounding our buildings, we have a ready-made way to create a dedicated walking space for people,” Chavis said. “Through the spring and summer, we are encouraging people to create ‘walking trains,’ picking up people along the way and walking together.”

Photos of the ribbon-cutting are available here.

 

 

 

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

Nelleke C. van Wouwe, Ph.D., M.Sc., joins UofL research faculty

Nelleke C. van Wouwe, Ph.D., M.Sc., joins UofL research faculty

Nelleke C. van Wouwe, Ph.D., M.Sc.

Nelleke C. van Wouwe, Ph.D., M.Sc., joined the research faculty at the University of Louisville School of Medicine as assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery on June 1.

At UofL, van Wouwe will be working on research to understand the function of the basal ganglia in patients with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Tourette syndrome and other conditions. The basal ganglia are located at the base of the forebrain and are associated with control of voluntary movements, cognition, emotion and other functions. She will be working with Joseph Neimat, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery, on experiments conducted in the operating room during deep brain stimulation surgeries. Her NIH-funded research will investigate how the basal ganglia affect cognitive functions crucial to navigating daily life situations, such as the ability to stop or change action.

“For example, patients with Parkinson’s disease may find it difficult to stop and control voluntary actions. The ability to stop an action can also depend on whether a positive or negative outcome is expected,” van Wouwe said. “Generally, dopaminergic medication and deep brain stimulation restore the ability to control actions, but some patients develop impulse control disorders. A better understanding of failures in adaptive behavior in neurologic or neuropsychiatric disorders with altered frontal basal-ganglia circuitry could ultimately help tailor treatment to individual needs.”

Since 2012, van Wouwe has been researching cognition and movement disorders at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. She was educated at Leiden University in the Netherlands and conducted research at the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research in Soesterberg before moving to the United States.

Van Wouwe’s research uses cognitive behavioral tasks, neurophysiological measurements, neuropsychological instruments and interventions such as medication withdrawal and deep brain stimulation to identify changes in action control and action-outcome learning resulting from neurodegenerative diseases. She is investigating the role of the subthalamic nucleus in action control and action-valence learning by means of cognitive testing, deep brain stimulation and intraoperative recording studies.

 

 

June 4, 2018

Cancer Education Program shapes future scientists and clinicians

New class of students begin 10 week experience
Cancer Education Program shapes future scientists and clinicians

Sara Mudra

Unraveling  the complexities of cancer continues as the next generation of scientists pick up the baton and blaze new trails of discovery. Influencing students to pursue cancer research careers is at the heart of the University of Louisville’s National Cancer Institute-funded Cancer Education Program, now in its seventh year.

A new class of more than 40 undergraduate and medical students representing 13 institutions including Stanford University and MIT, began the 10-week program in May.

Sarah Mudra completed the program in 2014. Inspired by her experience in Louisville, she’ll start medical school at UofL this summer.

Mudra, who plans to pursue the School of Medicine’s Distinction in Research Track, will conduct research in collaboration with Beth Riley, M.D., F.A.C.P., associate professor of medicine and deputy director of clinical affairs at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Riley was Mudra’s primary mentor in the Cancer Education Program.

“I witnessed the multi-faceted nature of medicine as Dr. Riley balanced relational care with scientific inquiry and ethical decision-making – I became fascinated with the field of oncology,” Mudra said. “Dr. Riley became a steadfast encourager and mentor, prompting me to ask complex research questions and examine new bodies of literature.”

Throughout the 10 weeks, Mudra worked with Riley to analyze data from individuals who were diagnosed with breast cancer through testing on the cancer center’s mammography van. They engaged in conversations about patient care and population-based research, including the utility of mobile mammography for reducing health disparities.

Mudra said it was her participation in the Cancer Education Program that laid the foundation for continued scientific exploration as a post-baccalaureate research fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. During the two-year fellowship, she worked to refine her research techniques and develop a novel protocol for human microbiome analysis.

“It is remarkable how the Cancer Education Program molded my professional and scientific development, serving as my foundation,” Mudra said. “I would advise all students interested in scientific growth to pursue a dedicated period of research in a field of interest. Be inquisitive and curious. Exercise a willingness to learn any aspect of a project, and uphold a tireless work ethic. Above all, demonstrate gratitude for the opportunity to be shaped through a mentor’s guidance.”

The directors of the program, David Hein, Ph.D., Peter K. Knoefel Endowed Chair of Pharmacology and chair of the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, and La Creis Kidd, Ph.D., Our Highest Potential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, outlined the success of UofL’s program in an article published in the Journal of Cancer Education.

Since 2011, 188 students have completed UofL’s program.

 

May 31, 2018

 

Normal eye dominance is not necessary for restoring visual acuity in amblyopia

Research shows eye dominance and visual acuity are independent, governed by separate areas of the brain
Normal eye dominance is not necessary for restoring visual acuity in amblyopia

Aaron W. McGee, Ph.D.

Amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye,” is a visual disorder common in children. The symptoms often are low acuity in the affected or “lazy” eye and impaired depth perception. Researchers have long believed that the impaired vision by one eye is a consequence of exaggerated eye dominance that favors the fellow or “good” eye.

Amblyopia typically is treated by patching the fellow eye to strengthen the affected eye with the goal of restoring normal eye dominance. If correction is not achieved prior to the closing of a “critical period” that ends in early adolescence, visual impairments are more difficult to treat, if not permanent.

Research published today, led by Aaron W. McGee, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Louisville Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, may lead to changes in how amblyopia is treated, particularly in adults. The research shows that eye dominance and visual acuity are controlled by different areas of the brain, and that one can be corrected without correcting the other.

“We unexpectedly discovered that they aren’t related. They’re independent,” McGee said. “It may not be necessary to instill normal eye dominance to correct visual acuity.”

Previously, McGee and fellow researchers identified a gene called ngr1 as essential in closing the critical period. He found that deleting ngr1 in animal models permits the critical period to remain open or to re-open, facilitating recovery of normal eye dominance and visual acuity. However, the relationship between the improved visual acuity and eye dominance was not clear.

Today’s research reports that recovery of eye dominance alone is not sufficient to promote recovery of acuity, and recovery of acuity can occur even if eye dominance remains impaired. McGee and his colleagues found that eye dominance is regulated by the brain’s primary visual cortex, while visual acuity is governed by another area of the brain, the thalamus.

McGee is the senior author on the article, published in Current Biology, (Distinct Circuits for Recovery of Eye Dominance and Acuity in Murine Amblyopia). Co-authors include Céleste-Élise Stephany Ph.D., a graduate student at the University of Southern California at the time of the research and now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Shenfeng Qiu, Ph.D., assistant professor of the University of Arizona, and others.

The researchers applied tools to selectively delete the ngr1 gene in different areas of the brain. When ngr1 was deleted from the primary visual cortex, normal eye dominance was recovered but acuity remained impaired. When ngr1 was deleted from the thalamus, eye dominance was impaired, but visual acuity recovered to normal.

“Genes that are limiting recovery from amblyopia are working in parts of brain circuitry that previously were not recognized to have a role in improving visual acuity,” McGee said. “This could allow researchers to address acuity directly, without having to restore normal eye dominance.”

 

 

June 7, 2018

If you can’t quit, then switch

UofL researcher Brad Rodu, D.D.S., explains how smoke-free alternatives reduce the harm from smoking at Beer with a Scientist
If you can’t quit, then switch

Brad Rodu, D.D.S.

Cigarettes continue to make a killing in Kentucky. That’s because quitting is incredibly hard – even downright impossible – for many smokers.

Brad Rodu, D.D.S., professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, says smokers can reduce health consequences of smoking tobacco by switching to smoke-free alternatives, including dip and chew products, and e-cigarettes.

“These smoke-free tobacco products provide tobacco pleasure and satisfaction. More importantly, decades of research document that smoke-free tobacco is vastly safer than cigarettes,” Rodu said.

For more than 20 years, Rodu has worked to educate smokers and non-smokers on safer alternatives to smoking tobacco, authoring more than 60 tobacco research articles for medical and scientific journals. He has been in the forefront of policy development in this field, and in 2011, he launched Switch and Quit Owensboro, the first-ever community cessation program based on switching to smoke-free alternatives.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Rodu will discuss, “Harm Reduction:  What You Don’t Know About Tobacco and Health.”

The talk begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, June 20, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

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.

#WeAreUofL

 

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**
  • Center for Environmental Engineering**
  • Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center**
  • Center for Land Use and Environmental Responsibility**
  • Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods**
  • Center for Environmental Sciences**

**Invited to join the Envirome Institute.

 

 

June 19, 2018

UofL neurosurgeons find spine surgery patients less likely to be opioid dependent after surgery

UofL neurosurgeons find spine surgery patients less likely to be opioid dependent after surgery

Mayur Sharma, M.D., M.Sc.

Spine surgeons and researchers at the University of Louisville, concerned about potential opioid misuse resulting from pain management related to surgery, have discovered positive news in a study of back surgery patients. The study, conducted by researchers in the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery, concludes that patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis are less likely to be dependent on opioids after than before the surgery.

The national opioid epidemic affects millions of Americans. Overdoses claimed more than 42,000 lives in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from 33,000 in 2015, and Kentucky has the fifth highest rate of overdose deaths of any state, at 33.5 per 100,000 population. Unfortunately, many people who abuse opioids were introduced to the drugs through a physician’s prescription to control pain.

Spine surgery patients deal with an immense amount of pain both before and after surgery. Opioids are used to manage that pain,” said Mayur Sharma, M.D., M.Ch., a resident in the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery who led the study. “Patients have been abusively using opioids for pain resulting in the recently declared national opioid crisis. Our work indicates that surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis is associated with a reduced risk of opioid dependence.”

In the research, published last week in Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, the authors analyzed records for 10,708 patients who had surgery between 2000 and 2012 for degenerative spondylolisthesis, a condition in which one vertebra slips over another one, compressing the nerves in the spinal column, most often occurring in the lower back. The researchers found that 14.85 percent of the patients were opioid dependent within one year prior to the surgery, and 9.9 percent were opioid dependent 3 to 15 months after the surgery. Most of the patients received decompression and fusion surgery for the condition. The authors concluded that overall, opioid dependence was reduced by nearly 5 percent following surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis.

In addition to the reduction in dependency, analysis of the records showed that younger age and prior opioid dependence were associated with a higher risk for post-surgery opioid dependence. This information may guide physicians in predicting which patients are at higher risk for opioid dependence following surgery.

“It is important to note that 10 percent of patients who come for surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis will be opioid dependent after surgery. These patients require special attention. Our paper discusses some of the predictive factors to consider,” Sharma said.

Factors predicting opioid dependence in patients undergoing surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis: analysis from the MarketScan databases,” was coauthored by Sharma, Maxwell Boakye, M.D., chief of spinal neurosurgery, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., assistant professor, and Zaid Aljuboori, M.D., of UofL, and colleagues at University of California, Davis and Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. 

 

June 26, 2018

Program helps Kentuckians take control of health and manage disease

Program helps Kentuckians take control of health and manage disease

Microclinic Facilitators

A new initiative seeks to empower individuals to take control of their own health and positively influence the health of others.

The Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging  at the University of Louisville has launched a health education effort in Kentucky called the Microclinic Program, created by Microclinic International.

The microclinics are designed to empower individuals to lead healthier lives and manage chronic disease. Participants learn how to decipher nutrition labels, cook healthy meals, take part in group fitness activities and reach health goals.    

The institute recently held a facilitator training for community and health care industry workers. They will lead small group microclinics with patients, friends and family at community centers, workplaces, churches, senior seniors, hospitals, health clinics, extension offices and schools. 

The facilitators are members of the Kentucky Coalition for Healthy Communities, a community coalition supported by the institute’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant and other community organizations. The first cohort of trainees includes representatives of UofL, Aetna, Area Agencies on Aging, Care Source and Anthem, along with Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Trimble, and Franklin counties in Kentucky.

The institute plans to offer additional trainings for individuals in counties surrounding Jefferson County and those near the Barren River area.

To schedule a microclinic or facilitator class, and to learn more about the program, contact Mona Huff at 503-845-6849 or rjhuff01@louisville.edu . Learn more about the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at www.OptimalAgingInstitute.org.

 

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

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

SHPEP participant Amanda Fairbairn with an impression of her finger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

July 19, 2018

Northeast Kentucky AHEC receives national recognition

Northeast Kentucky AHEC receives national recognition

Northeast Kentucky AHEC Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About AHEC

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

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

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

Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine announces larger second cohort

School of Medicine faculty learn to lead self, others and the organization
Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine announces larger second cohort

LIAM inaugural cohort members

Sixteen members of the University of Louisville School of Medicine faculty have completed a 10-month training program aimed at developing effective future leaders in academic medicine. Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine (LIAM) was designed to develop innovative thinking skills in early to mid-career faculty who are motivated to be leaders in medical education.

“Leadership is more important than ever as the university prepares to deal with changes in our health-care world. Our leaders need to have the resilience and creativity and the ability to be innovative and problem solve as challenges keep coming,” said Gerard Rabalais, M.D., M.H.A., associate dean of faculty development, who created the program along with Staci Saner, M.Ed., program manager for faculty development.

“We need to deepen our bench here at the university,” said Tracy Eells, Ph.D., M.B.A., vice provost for faculty affairs, at the program’s final event on July 17. “We need to have a deep set of leaders that we can turn to because there are a lot of leadership positions at the university.”

LIAMThe participants attended monthly meetings organized to introduce innovation and design thinking through understanding how to lead oneself, how to lead others and how to lead the organization.

Jeremy Clark, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, most values the connections he made with other participants.

“The single most impactful aspect of LIAM is the relationships I built with each of my peers and with our physician leaders in the School of Medicine.  I now have 15 other young leaders that I can go to and ask for advice and counsel when I am struggling with leadership problems,” Clark said.

Hugh Shoff, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, expected the program to help him acquire tools for becoming a better leader and innovator in medicine. He was surprised by the value of the self-reflection aspect.

“We spent lot of time in the beginning learning to analyze yourself and make sure you as a person are in the right place to become a better leader. I didn’t expect to spend as much time on that, but I am glad we did,” Shoff said.

Eells said self-leadership is a critical aspect of the program’s three-stage approach.

“It has to start with yourself, with emotional intelligence, knowing how to keep your cool when you are in a tense situation since you are serving as a role model to many others around you when you are serving in a leadership capacity,” Eells said.

The self-reflection portion will be expanded for the second LIAM cohort, which will increase from 16 to 24 members.

At the program’s final meeting, teams of four participants presented projects to improve the school or health care in general and presented them to a panel of judges, leaders from the UofL School of Medicine, and members of the 2018-2019 cohort were announced.

2018-19 LIAM second cohort

Pascale Alard, Ph.D.                                Microbiology and Immunology
Thomas Altstadt, M.D.                           Neurosurgery
Laura Bishop, M.D.                                  Medicine
Eric Burton, M.D.                                      Neurology
Camilo Castillo, M.D.                              Neurosurgery
Priya Chandan, M.D., M.P.H.               Neurosurgery
Brittany Chapman, M.D.                        Neurology
Lynzee Cornell, Ph.D.                              Otolaryngology and Communicative Disorders
Russell Farmer, M.D.                              Surgery
Shahab Ghafghazi, M.D.                        Medicine
Josephine Gomes, M.D.                        Family and Geriatric Medicine
Sushil Gupta, M.D.                                   Pediatrics
Ahmed Haddad, M.D., Ph.D.                Urology
Jennifer Hamm, M.D.                             Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health
David Haustein, M.D.                              Neurosurgery
Bridget Hittepole, M.D.                         Medicine
Deborah Kozik, M.D.                               Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Rana Latif, M.D.                                        Anesthesiology
Jennifer Le, M.D.                                      Pediatrics
M. Eli Pendleton, M.D.                          Family and Geriatric Medicine
Melissa Potts, M.D.                                 Radiology
Vikas Singh, M.D.                                     Medicine
Abigail Stocker, M.D.                              Medicine
Christina Terrell, M.D.                            Psychiatry

2017-2018 LIAM class projects

Increasing the Value of Academic Teaching 

Academic teaching is a core mission for UofL School of Medicine faculty that is difficult to quantify in terms of scholarly recognition. The definition and documentation of good teaching is lacking. Our project proposes a structured way of accounting for teaching in an easily accessible system, and ideas for a culture shift towards recognition of teaching excellence as a critical mission for the university.
Team members:  Alexander Ovechkin, M.D., Ph.D., Christine Brady, Ph.D., Elizabeth Cash, Ph.D., Kathrin LaFaver, M.D.

A Better PICC Line

The project focuses on the creation of a PICC line that is tamper-evident for use in patients who have a history of IV drug use and require long-term antibiotic therapy for conditions such as bacterial endocarditis. The hope is that use of this PICC line will allow these patients to transition home for IV antibiotics in lieu of prolonged hospital stays to complete the antibiotics course.
Team members:  Farid Kehdy, M.D., Hugh Shoff, M.D., Laura Workman, M.D., Luz Fernandez, M.D.

Mind the Gap:  Using Generational Strengths to Create Faculty-Student Teaching Partnerships
Many University of Louisville Health Sciences Center faculty struggle to adapt their teaching to include new educational pedagogies due to lack of time, variable prioritization of teaching and difficulty using new technology. We propose the creation of student-faculty partnerships where the faculty – our content experts – can use the technical savvy and availability of students to modify and improve their teaching. We plan to pilot this initiative as part of the Medical Students as Teachers elective for fourth year medical students and measure change in course evaluations, student satisfaction and faculty well-being.
Team members:  Leah Siskind, Ph.D., Sara Multerer, M.D., Sara Petruska, M.D., Tyler Sharpe, M.D.

Financial Empowerment
Leaders in academic medicine are frequently ill prepared to make the financial decisions that are a necessary part of their jobs. There is currently a gap between finance officers at senior levels and leaders at lower levels who lead clinical, research or education teams. Our proposed innovation is to empower leaders across the University of Louisville School of Medicine to make financial decisions by providing local, focused financial training to leaders.
Team members:  Carolyn Roberson, Ph.D., Adrienne Jordan, M.D., Brian Holland, M.D., Jeremy Clark, M.D.

 

July 25, 2018

UofL meeting behavioral health needs in rural Kentucky

UofL meeting behavioral health needs in rural Kentucky

Older adult talks with behavioral health worker

Rural areas in the United States face a shortage of behavioral health practitioners. As CNN recently reported, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that 47-percent of non-metropolitan counties don’t have access to a psychologist. The shortage extends to psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and a cadre of behavioral health resources including shelters, hospitals and community support groups.

The Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at the University of Louisville is working to meet this need in rural Kentucky. This fall, the institute will place 38 students specializing in behavioral health into a dozen rural health care sites across 10 rural and underserved communities.

“Older adults are particularly affected by the lack of behavioral health practitioners,” said Anna Faul, Ph.D., the institute’s executive director. “Isolation and depression are common issues for older adults, with 20-percent of rural older adults diagnosed with depression. Not having access to behavioral health care can severely worsen conditions and lead to physical decline. Furthermore, mobility limitations can make it difficult for older adults to drive long distances to get the care they need.”

Locations where the students will be placed include:

  • Kentucky River Medical Practice (Henry County)
  • Kentucky One Health Primary Care Associates (Shelby County)
  • T.J. Samson Family Medicine Center (covering Barren, Hart, and Metcalfe Counties)
  • Exceptional Senior Living (Oldham County)
  • Multi-purpose Community Action Agency (Bullitt and Shelby Counties)
  • Tri-County Community Action Agency (Oldham and Trimble Counties)

Several practices, while in Jefferson County, serve older adults in rural areas:

  • Family Community Clinic (Jefferson County)
  • University of Louisville AIM Clinic (Jefferson County)
  • University of Louisville Family & Geriatric Practice (Jefferson County)
  • University of Louisville PNES Clinic (Jefferson County)
  • Park DuValle Community Health Center (Jefferson County)
  • Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky (Jefferson County)

A primary goal of this program is to increase the geriatrics behavioral health workforce in rural communities. Both undergraduate and graduate students across multiple disciplines are involved. Many of the masters and doctoral-level students are participating in the institute’s Flourish Behavioral Health Graduate Internship. The internship, funded by a four-year federal grant, is part of the institute’s Flourish Network, a program focused on team-based care coordination for older adults.

 

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

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

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Raymond Loyd

Raymond Loyd and his family provided funding to create the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at UofL's James Graham Brown Cancer Center in honor of his daughter.
Raymond Loyd
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Louisville Bats game on Aug. 11 supports cancer patients at UofL

Louisville Bats game on Aug. 11 supports cancer patients at UofL

The M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center provides support, education and comfort to patients battling cancer.

Louisvillians who love sports and want to support the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center can do both on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018.

They can head on over to Louisville Slugger Field, 401 E. Main St and see the Louisville Bats take on the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of Allentown, Penn., on MARVEL Super Hero Night No. 2. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the game starts at 6:30 p.m.

The event will support the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at the Brown Cancer Center, said Elea Fox, executive director of development for the cancer center. “This is a great opportunity for baseball fans to support the region’s only comprehensive cancer center,” Fox said. “It gives supporters the chance to take take part in a fun evening while giving back to the Brown Cancer Center.”

In addition to fund-raising, representatives from the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center and the Kentucky Cancer Program at UofLwill be at the game providing cancer screenings and educational materials. Located on the first floor of the Brown Cancer Center, 529 S. Jackson St., the center is named for a former patient and her family who generously support the programs and services offered to the patients and to the community.

From coffee to counseling, the resource center provides a peaceful environment for cancer patients to learn, relax and heal emotionally. The goal of the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center is to help connect patients and family members with the services that go beyond medical treatment to achieve the best possible experience.

Educational materials, videos and Internet access to cancer-related websites are offered to patients, and the staff provides information patients need to cope with their condition and its treatment. Patients are connected with support groups and other free services that can help in the healing process.

 

About Louisville Bats’ MARVEL Super Hero Night No. 2

Coming off the success of MARVEL Super Hero Night No. 1 on June 23, the second MARVEL Super Hero Night on Aug. 11 will feature the Hulk with giveaways and promotions. Fans should be on the lookout for character meet-and-greet opportunities, special super hero-themed jerseys worn by the players and additional super hero merchandise, sights and sounds. Plus, the first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive a special edition MARVEL Hulk bobblehead.

An added feature will come the following week: The hero-themed jerseys worn by players will be auctioned off online, also benefitting the resource center.

Raymond Loyd and his family provided funding to create the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at UofL's James Graham Brown Cancer Center in honor of his daughter. A pre-game party with band will open the evening, and Raymond Loyd – whose family donated funding to create the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center – will throw out the first pitch. He will be joined on the field with other members of the Loyd family, including Krista’s children.

Cancer heroes and survivors will be honored throughout the evening, and resource center staff will be on hand with cancer awareness and education materials. An added feature will come the following week: The hero-themed jerseys worn by players will be auctioned off online, also benefitting the resource center. For details and ticket options, go to the Louisville Bats’ MARVEL Super Hero Night website.

 

 

 

Two from Brown Cancer Center to be honored as Cure Champions

Two from Brown Cancer Center to be honored as Cure Champions

Beth Riley, M.D., oncologist and deputy director for clinical affairs, and Liz Wilson, nurse navigator, at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, will be among 10 Cure Champions honored Sept. 22 by the American Cancer Society at the 2018 Hope Gala.

The society annually selects Cure Champions for their contributions to the Louisville community, 2018 Hope Gala Chair Kevin Wardell said. “Our Cure Champions are truly the stars of the evening. They shine a light on the good works going on the community.”

“The Hope Gala not only raises funds for the American Cancer Society’s vital mission; it also elevates the community as a whole,” Jan Walther, American Cancer Society executive director, said. “The Cure Champions remind us all how we can do our part to be activists in the cause.”

The event will be held from 6 to 11:30 p.m. in the Omni Hotel Commonwealth Ballroom, 400 S. Second St. Festivities begin with a VIP Rooftop Cocktail Hour, a celebration of the Cure Champion honorees, a live auction and a live performance from Louisville’s own Linkin’ Bridge.

Tickets are $150 per person, $1,500 for a table of 10 or $2,500 for a table of 10 and recognition as a Bronze Sponsor. To purchase and for more information, go to the 2018 Hope Gala website.

Three neurosurgeons add expertise to UofL

Andaluz, Ding and Sieg will provide specialized surgical care, education and research at UofL School of Medicine and UofL Physicians
Three neurosurgeons add expertise to UofL

Andaluz, Ding and Sieg

Three new surgeons have joined the University of Louisville Department of Neurological Surgery this summer. Each of these physicians brings highly specialized clinical skills that will benefit patients in Louisville and throughout the region through University of Louisville Physicians – Neurosurgery, as well as provide advanced training and conduct research at the UofL School of Medicine. They will perform surgeries at UofL Hospital and Jewish Hospital, a part of Kentucky One Health.

“I am excited to have these three highly skilled neurosurgeons join our already exceptional group in the Department of Neurological Surgery and at UofL Physicians. The added expertise they bring with them will benefit our patients greatly as well as our community here in Louisville,” said Joseph S. Neimat, M.D., chair of the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery.

Norberto Andaluz, M.D., is director of skull base surgery and professor of neurosurgery in the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery. His areas of clinical interest include pituitary tumors, aneurysms, brain tumors, arteriovenous malformations, intracerebral hemorrhage, carotid artery disease, Moyamoya disease, skull base surgery, endoscopic brain surgery and minimally invasive crania and spinal surgery.

Andaluz completed his medical education and residency at the Universidad Nacional de Rosario and at Instituto de Neurología y Neurocirugía, Sanatorio Parque, in Rosario, Argentina. He completed fellowships in neurosurgery at Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center and in cerebrovascular surgery at the University of Cincinnati Department of Neurosurgery.

Dale Ding, M.D., assistant professor in the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery, cares for patients with cerebrovascular disorders, including all causes of hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke, using both neurosurgical and endovascular approaches. He has clinical expertise in surgically treating brain aneurysms, brain and spinal vascular malformations, intracranial and extracranial atherosclerosis, carotid stenosis, acute ischemic stroke, Moyamoya disease and idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

Ding graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine, completed residency at the University of Virginia, and completed fellowships in cerebrovascular and skull base surgery at Auckland City Hospital, New Zealand, and endovascular surgical neuroradiology at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. His research interests include the role of inflammation in stroke, computational modeling of blood flow in cerebrovascular disorders, clinical outcomes of patients with cerebrovascular disease and exploring the roles of new endovascular devices and surgical technologies.

Emily Payne Sieg, M.D., is assistant professor and director of neurotrauma in the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery. She will provide neurosurgical care for traumatic cranial and spinal cord injuries, neurocritical care and advanced neuromonitoring, and minimally invasive and complex spine surgery.

Sieg earned her medical degree at Penn State College of Medicine and completed her residency at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. She also completed fellowships in neurocritical care and complex spine surgery at Penn State. Her research interests include clinical and translational research in neurotrauma and critical care, including spinal cord injury, brain trauma and peripheral nerve injury.

These and other physician faculty members in the UofL School of Medicine provide patient care through the multispecialty group practice, UofL Physicians.

 

 

August 15, 2018

UofL Hospital continues innovation for best stroke care with patient follow-up pilot

UofL Hospital continues innovation for best stroke care with patient follow-up pilot

ULH AHA/ASA Get with the Guidelines Award 2018

The University of Louisville Hospital – Comprehensive Stroke Center is piloting a new effort to provide follow-up care for stroke patients after they leave the hospital. UofL Hospital’s U Care is designed to support continued recovery for patients following their inpatient stay.

“We want to ensure that patients have all they need when they leave the hospital to successfully continue their recovery at home – education, medications and a phone number to call if there are any problems,” said Paula Gisler, administrative director of the UofL Hospital Stroke Center.

U Care was developed in partnership with Lacuna Health, a subsidiary of Kindred Healthcare, to follow up with patients after they leave the hospital. Registered nurses with U Care reach out to patients by phone on a regular schedule to monitor the patients’ recovery progress, check their medications, ensure they have made appropriate follow-up appointments and answer any questions or health concerns that arise. The nurses have access to the patients’ health records and can escalate any concerns to hospital staff or physicians if a patient requires further clarification or intervention. The program pilot, which began in June, will follow 250 stroke patients for 45 days after discharge, whether they went home or to a rehab facility for recovery.

Patients and their families also may call the nurses at U Care if they have questions or concerns related to their stroke. In addition, the program will record levels of patient satisfaction at the rehab centers.

“At UofL Hospital, we continually strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients,” said Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the UofL Hospital Stroke Center and chair of the UofL Department of Neurology. “U Care adds the vital step of thoroughly programmed follow-up with stroke patients to ensure they continue recovery, avoid unnecessary readmission to the hospital and prevent a second stroke.”

Lacuna Health administers U Care for the hospital, and is monitoring its success to make further improvements and to adapt the program to other patient populations.

“We are thrilled to support the University of Louisville Hospital – Comprehensive Stroke Center’s U Care program with our RN-led clinical AfterCare model. Patients and their caregivers need more resources and ongoing support when managing the transition from a hospitalization to another setting or home. We look forward to implementing this model and future programs to help UofL Hospital provide a differentiated patient experience for the communities it serves,” said Brian Holzer, M.D., M.B.A., C.E.O. of Lacuna Health.

U Care is yet another innovation in quality stroke care by the staff at the UofL Hospital, the first hospital designated as a comprehensive stroke center in Kentucky by the Joint Commission. In addition, UofL Hospital once again has been awarded the top level of distinction by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association with the Get With The Guidelines® Target:  Stroke Elite Plus, Gold Plus award. The award recognizes the hospital’s success in providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. Hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures to receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

UofL Hospital has achieved the highest recognitions for stroke care for 12 years.

About stroke

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

When someone is having symptoms of a stroke – slurred speech, sudden leg or arm weakness, facial drooping, loss of balance or visual changes – getting them to the hospital quickly can mean the difference between recovery and permanent disability. One of the best treatments for ischemic stroke is treatment with the clot-busting drug, intravenous tissue plasminogen activator, or IV tPA. If given in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, IV tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. UofL Hospital Stroke Center staff strive to deliver IV tPA to appropriate patients within 45 minutes to one hour from the time they arrive at the hospital.

The UofL Hospital Stroke Center also offers clot removal procedures that can limit or reverse stroke symptoms in patients whose symptoms began up to 24 hours prior to arrival at UofL Hospital. For both clot removal and IV tPA, “time is brain.”  The more quickly a patient can receive either treatment, the better the patient outcome.

 

 

August 23, 2018

Owensboro Health, UofL partner on new family medicine residency program

Owensboro Health, UofL partner on new family medicine residency program

Owensboro Health’s Parrish Medical Building will house a new family medicine residency program, a partnership of Owensboro Health and the University of Louisville.

Owensboro Health and the University of Louisville School of Medicine are partnering to create Owensboro’s first family medicine residency program. The program will be located at Owensboro Health’s Parrish Medical Building and is scheduled to open on July 1, 2020.

“By establishing a family residency program in Owensboro, we hope to improve the health of our region for years to come,” said Greg Strahan, president and CEO of Owensboro Health. “This program gives Owensboro Health a pivotal role in educating the next generation of physicians and will help meet an important need for more primary care in our area.”

The three-year program is expected to open with a class of six resident physicians and admit an additional six physicians each year. Residents will undertake a robust curriculum of classroom studies and clinical rotations, working alongside expert instructors and practicing physicians from a variety of specialties. They also will provide primary care at Owensboro Health’s family medicine location on Parrish Avenue, which means expanded health care access for area patients.

“Part of our vision for this program is that some physicians will want to continue practicing in Western Kentucky after they have completed their residency,” said Steve Johnson, vice president of government and community affairs for Owensboro Health. “For our system to be working toward that vision, with a valuable partner like UofL, is an exciting development for this region.”

The agreement between the two health care systems establishes UofL School of Medicine as the program’s academic sponsor, a key step toward obtaining approval and accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Under the affiliation agreement, UofL will provide a program director and faculty and also lend its expertise to help the program achieve and maintain accreditation.

“UofL has achieved success with its family medicine residency program in Glasgow, Ky., in terms of building relationships in the community and improving primary care,” said Brent Wright, M.D., UofL School of Medicine associate dean for rural health innovation, and vice chair for rural health and professor in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at UofL. “We plan to achieve the same success in Owensboro.”

Rural-based graduate medical education programs are important to physician distribution since physicians tend to practice within a 100-mile radius of where they did their residency training, Wright said.

The establishment of the residency program is also another positive step in the redevelopment of the Parrish Avenue campus, which was home to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital until 2013, when the system opened a new hospital on Owensboro’s east side. Since then, Owensboro Health has remodeled the Parrish campus, keeping or expanding key services including outpatient cancer treatment, family medicine and several specialty clinics.

“The residency program helps fulfill the promise we made to the community: that the Parrish campus would continue to provide access to care, support the regional economy and become an educational facility,” Strahan said. “We are especially grateful for the efforts of State Sen. Joe Bowen, who helped the project gain support in the Kentucky legislature. Now these dreams are becoming reality.”

Good sleep wards off cancer

UofL psychologist explains how disrupting your biological rhythm can lead to cancer at Beer with a Scientist, Sept. 12
Good sleep wards off cancer

Liz Cash, Ph.D.

When did you last travel overseas? Do you remember how long it took for your sleep cycle to return to normal?

That feeling of jet lag signals a disruption to your naturally occurring circadian, or daily, biological rhythms. Circadian rhythms help our bodies know when to eat, when to sleep and when to be active. They also control the life cycle of every cell in the body.

“When our circadian rhythms become disrupted, humans and animals are at greater risk for the rise and spread of cancer,” said Liz Cash, Ph.D., a clinical health psychologist and director of research for the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders at the University of Louisville. She also holds adjunct positions in the Departments of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Family and Geriatric Medicine.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Cash will deliver, “Tick-tock:  How disrupting your body clock and sleep cycle gives rise to cancer … and what you can do about it.” Her talk will include evidence of how circadian disruption contributes to cancer incidence and progression, as well as some simple, effective strategies to maintain or regain good circadian rhythms. 

The talk begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. At these events, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. 

Louisville donor provides $500K gift to UofL for type 1 diabetes research

William Marvin Petty, M.D., Research Fund will support next step for promising research to improve pancreatic islet cell transplantation success
Louisville donor provides $500K gift to UofL for type 1 diabetes research

William Marvin Petty, M.D.

JoAnn Joule’s father, William Marvin Petty, M.D., suffered from diabetes for many years. A 1952 graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Petty served as Jefferson County Coroner from 1962 to 1974 and was a family physician in Fern Creek for 43 years.

Joule’s son lives with type 1 diabetes.

To honor her late father and help improve the lives of those with type 1 diabetes, Joule has given $500,000 to the University of Louisville Foundation to establish the William Marvin Petty, M.D., Research Fund. The fund is designated to support type 1 diabetes research at the UofL School of Medicine.

“I saw the toll diabetes took on my dad, and now my son is faced with the same disease,” Joule said. “I was not happy that medical research has not come up with anything new in the 40 years my son has been suffering. I am putting my assets behind the UofL research team.” 

That research team includes Haval Shirwan, Ph.D., and Esma Yolcu, Ph.D., of the UofL Department of Microbiology and Immunology, who are working to develop techniques to prevent and treat type 1 diabetes with particular focus on transplantation of islet cells.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the pancreas does not produces enough insulin, a hormone required to convert glucose to energy in the body. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes, and standard treatment involves regular injections of insulin, which is far from keeping blood sugar in balance.

Insulin is produced in the pancreas by a type of cells called islet cells. Individuals with type 1 diabetes have too few or altogether lack the type of islet cells that produce insulin to keep glucose at the proper level. In recent years, physicians have developed a treatment in which they transplant the needed islet cells into a patient. However, the patient’s immune system often rejects the transplanted islet cells over time, attacking and killing them. To keep the transplanted cells alive, patients must take immunosuppression medications, which have a number of undesirable side effects.

At UofL, Shirwan and Yolcu have pioneered a process to create a manufactured protein known as Fas ligand (FasL), to protect the islet cells from destruction by the patient’s immune system. This process, patented by the UofL Office of Technology Transfer, is called ProtExTM technology. ProtEx is used to create FasL, which is then applied to islet cells to protect them from destruction by the immune system once they are transplanted into the patient.

Preclinical research has shown that FasL is highly effective in protecting islet cells in small animal models. However, additional testing is necessary before the therapy can be used in humans.

“Ms. Joule’s contribution will enable us to achieve an important milestone for further development of the technology towards clinical translation by performing efficacy and safety studies. We are very grateful for that support,” Shirwan said.

Greg Postel, M.D., executive vice president for health affairs at UofL, said the university is grateful for the contribution to research by and in honor of members of the Louisville community.

“We are extremely pleased that Ms. Joule has elected to support this very promising research at the University of Louisville,” Postel said “We believe her donation will allow this research to improve the lives of type 1 diabetic patients sooner rather than later.”

 

September 10, 2018

Epidural stimulation leads to improved regulation of blood pressure in spinal-cord-injured people

Research from UofL published in JAMA Neurology shows recovery of cardiovascular function in spinal-cord-injured people sustained following epidural stimulation training
Epidural stimulation leads to improved regulation of blood pressure in spinal-cord-injured people

Stefanie Putnam and Glenn A. Hirsch, M.D.

For the first time since 2009, Stefanie Putnam is able to prepare – and eat – meals for herself, put the vest on her service dog, Kaz, and drive herself to activities with her horse without losing consciousness or gasping for breath.

“My whole life has opened up for me again!” Putnam said.

A C4 spinal cord injury in 2009 left Putnam paralyzed from the neck down and suffering from chronic low blood pressure. She relied on medication and tight corsets to maintain her blood pressure, but she still passed out five or six times a day.

Her new lease on life is the result of spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES) she received as a participant in research at the University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord injury Research Center (KSCIRC) to aid recovery for individuals with spinal cord injury. Research published today in JAMA Neurology describes the improvements Putnam and three other research participants experienced in blood pressure and heart rate regulation during and after scES. All four participants had chronic, complete cervical spinal cord injury, persistent low resting blood pressure and blood pressure decrease when sitting up prior to receiving scES.

[Video story on Youtube]

“From a quality of life perspective, orthostatic hypotension, or low blood pressure when sitting up, is truly life limiting,” said Glenn A. Hirsch, M.D., a cardiologist with the UofL School of Medicine and co-author of the study.

Spinal cord epidural stimulation uses an implanted electrode array to deliver electrical signals to the lumbar spine. For this study, research participants received stimulation using specific configurations selected to target cardiovascular function, monitoring blood pressure and cardiovascular function throughout, for an average of 89 daily, two-hour sessions. Earlier research showed the benefits of scES in controlling cardiovascular function during stimulation, but this data reveals participants’ blood pressure and heart rate remained stabilized between sessions, showing an enduring effect.

“What was most surprising was that only having it on for a few hours a day, we were noticing participants having normal blood pressure through longer periods of each day,” Hirsch said. “We are noticing it now across the research participants who had that problem, that there is a prolonged stabilizing effect even after the stimulator is turned off.”

Since receiving scES for her cardiovascular symptoms, Putnam said she enjoys increased independence and alertness, and she no longer needs medication to increase her blood pressure.

“I am an active member in my own life instead of merely existing. I am really living! I can prepare and cook my own meals. I can feed myself and carry on a conversation. Without the disruption of passing out or gasping for breaths in the middle of a task or having to stop and be back in my chair for two hours at a time, I can accomplish so much more. Now I can live my best life with energy to focus on my future.” Putnam said.

Research at UofL using scES, led by Susan Harkema, Ph.D., associate director of KSCIRC and professor of neurosurgery at UofL, began with the goal of restoring motor function. However, researchers and participants soon noticed stimulation led to improvements in cardiovascular and autonomic systems as well.

“In our motor system studies, we observed that we could actually regulate blood pressure without activating the motor system. That launched us into another area of research,” Harkema said. “Many people don’t realize that walking in many cases is not really the aspect that makes their daily lives most difficult because they have cardiovascular dysfunction and problems with respiratory, bowel, bladder, and sexual function. All of those things are disrupted so every day is incredibly difficult for people with spinal cord injury.”

In ongoing research to explore further the life-enhancing effects of epidural stimulation, the UofL researchers are conducting a six-year study with 36 participants with chronic, complete spinal cord injuries.

To learn more about supporting and participating in spinal cord injury research at UofL, visit the university’s Victory Over Paralysis website:  victoryoverparalysis.org

Today’s published research, “Epidural Spinal Cord Stimulation Training and Sustained Recovery of Cardiovascular Function in Individuals with Chronic Cervical Spinal Cord Injury,” was supported by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, University of Louisville Hospital, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Medtronic Plc.

 

September 17, 2018

Optimal aging institute creates new index to measure quality of life for older adults

Optimal aging institute creates new index to measure quality of life for older adults

Anna Faul, Ph.D.

A new assessment tool developed by the University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging aims to measure functionality and quality of life for older adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCC).

The Flourish Index is a set of evidence-based, quality of care indicators across six determinants of health: biological, psychological, health behaviors, health services, environmental and social. Some specific factors include preventive care, medication management, process of care measures, promotion of health behaviors, transportation, isolation, income challenges and food access.

The index resulted from the institute’s research associated with the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP).

Executive Director of the institute, Anna Faul, Ph.D., said the need for a broader assessment tool was clear.

“The majority of other indicators are disease and setting-specific and don’t fully account for the functional and quality of life factors affecting older adults with MCC,” she said. “Other scales and measures often do not capture a patient’s life satisfaction but focus solely on medical improvement.”

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded UofL’s institute with grant funding to lead the two-day training Sept. 20 – 21 for other GWEP programs at the University of Iowa, Rush University, University of Utah and Indiana University.

The workshop will focus on the customization of the Flourish Index - specifically, how to align it with the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, how the index can be used to facilitate primary care transformation and how it can be implemented by the health care workforce in collaboration with community-based services. Central to the conversation will be the index’s role in demonstrating the sustainability of comprehensive care coordination.

“We are honored by the recognition from HRSA to teach other GWEP programs about our Flourish Index,” Faul said. “The GWEP programs attending the workshop are united in our interest to develop new measures that fully capture the holistic health and well-being of patients. Being selected to host this workshop demonstrates that people are recognizing the exciting and transformative potential of our Flourish Index,” she said.

This workshop is part of the institute’s annual effort to celebrate Optimal Aging Month. Learn more about events happening in September.

 

GEMS: Ushering homegrown talent into medicine for 30 years

Guaranteed Entrance to Medical School (GEMS) smooths the path for talented Kentucky students into a medical career
GEMS:  Ushering homegrown talent into medicine for 30 years

Sunshine Smoot, M.D.

When she was in 8th grade, Breathitt County native Sunshine Smoot decided she wanted to be a pediatrician. As a Governor’s Scholar after her junior year in high school, she happened to overhear one of the instructors talking with another student about GEMS, a program that provides gifted high school students with Guaranteed Entrance to Medical School (GEMS) at the University of Louisville even before they start college.

“I remember her explaining what a one-of-a-kind program GEMS was, how those selected had unique opportunities in undergrad that others would not have until much later in their medical careers and how the GEMS were a close-knit group seen around campus together,” Smoot said. “Overhearing that one conversation affected my whole life.”

For 30 years, GEMS has provided mentoring and support for nearly 300 academically talented youth from across Kentucky interested in becoming physicians by providing a clear path to complete college and enter medical school. Each academic year, about 10 students are admitted to the program as freshmen entering UofL.

Established in 1988, GEMS paves the way for the students selected for the program as they enter UofL as undergraduates knowing they will have automatic admission to the UofL School of Medicine as long as they maintain certain academic standards. In addition, GEMS students have the opportunity to shadow practicing physicians and faculty, participate in seminars, serve the Louisville community and build relationships with other students who have the goal of becoming a physician.

The students retain their automatic admission to the UofL School of Medicine as long as they have maintained a 3.4 cumulative and science grade point average in undergraduate work, scored at or above the national mean on each section of the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), and participated fully in program activities.

Kevin Trice, M.D., M.B.A., now a director of sleep medicine at Baptist Hospital in Madisonville, Ky., said GEMS gave him the confidence and freedom to pursue medicine.

“It completely changed my trajectory. I was interested in medicine, but planned to pursue engineering since it was easier and I had a better chance,” Trice said. “Once I was accepted, it relieved me of the anxiety and stress common in undergraduate pre-med students.”

James Frazier, M.D., was a member of the 1990 GEMS class and graduated from the UofL School of Medicine in 1998. Now the vice president of medical affairs at Norton Healthcare, Frazier said the GEMS program was life changing.

“I owe everything to GEMS. They took a chance on me right out of high school. It took a lot of pressure off that I saw my future classmates going through,” Frazier said. “You would see those who were trying to get in, how stressed they were about MCAT and maintaining their GPA. It definitely gave me an advantage not having to worry about maintaining perfect grades.”

Frazier said the freedom from stress allowed him to broaden his undergraduate education.

“Because of that reduced stress, I got to take more well-rounded classes – history, economics, finance – than if I had to maintain a 4.0 GPA. It helped me when I started private practice to have a little knowledge about the business world and how to run practice,” Frazier said.

Scott Sullivan, M.D., a member of the 1989 GEMS class and 1996 alumnus of the UofL School of Medicine, credits the program with providing resources he needed to enter medicine.

“I doubt I would be in medicine without the program. Living in a rural area and never having much exposure to medicine, I lacked mentors and direction. The program provided both, which proved to be invaluable,” said Sullivan, who is from Ballardsville, Ky.

Now an ob/gyn and specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, Sullivan is a professor at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.

“Having access to dedicated and experienced mentors at the age of 18 was incredibly helpful,” Sullivan said. “They got me on the right track very quickly. They gave mentorship not only about how to become a physician, but how to be interested in public health, education and community involvement.”

Another advantage for students who have participated in the program is the relationships they built with colleagues and mentors that enrich their college and medical school experience, including physicians, researchers and faculty in the School of Medicine.

“The most valuable part is the people you meet and you are with for four years in undergrad and medical school. For those eight years you are extremely tight. I am still in close contact with all the people in GEMS with fair regularity,” Frazier said. “We have a 20th reunion coming up and I am looking forward to seeing them. Having that network of people here in town is invaluable.”

“The program was very forward thinking at the time as a way to keep Kentucky physicians in the state, and I believe they have done a pretty good job,” Frazier said. “It was a very progressive thing for UofL to have done 30 years ago, and I’m happy the school has supported it for so long.”

Smoot was admitted to the GEMS program in 1997 and graduated from UofL School of Medicine in 2006. She now is a pediatrician at Juniper Health in Campton, Ky.

“I often wonder if I had not happened to overhear a chance conversation, being from Eastern Ky., would I have gone to UofL for my undergraduate years, and then on to UofL medical school?” Smoot said. “Looking back now, I can’t imagine a different past, and I certainly would regret missing out on the friendships I made at UofL 20 years ago that still mean the world to me.”

 

GEMS BY THE NUMBERS

Number of students participating in GEMS 1988-2018:     290

Number of GEMS students who have graduated from UofL School of Medicine:   148

Number of GEMS students currently enrolled in UofL School of Medicine:  27

Number of GEMS students enrolled or graduated from another school of medicine:  19

Number of GEMS students currently enrolled in UofL as undergraduates:  39

Number of GEMS students who were Kentucky Derby Festival princesses:  5 (1 Queen)

Number of Kentucky counties represented by GEMS students:  49

Number of GEMS students who have completed or are enrolled in MD/PhD programs:  6

 

 

September 20, 2018

Technology, along with therapy, helps individuals with chronic spinal cord injuries voluntarily take steps

New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine documents the effectiveness of epidural stimulation with locomotor training following chronic, complete spinal cord injury in restoring brain-to-spine connectivity, long thought to be impossible
Technology, along with therapy, helps individuals with chronic spinal cord injuries voluntarily take steps

Kelly Thomas, Claudia Angeli, Ph.D., Jeff Marquis and Susan Harkema, Ph.D.

Of four research participants living with traumatic, motor complete spinal cord injury, two are able to walk over ground with epidural stimulation following epidural stimulation paired with daily locomotor training. In addition, all four participants achieved independent standing and trunk stability when using the stimulation and maintaining their mental focus. The study was conducted at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville (UofL) and was published online early, and will appear in the Sept. 27 issue of New England Journal of Medicine. The study was funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, University of Louisville Hospital and Medtronic plc.

See video story

This ground-breaking progress is the newest development in a string of outcomes at UofL, all pointing to the potential of technology in improving quality of life – and even recovery – following spinal cord injury. This latest study builds on initial research published in The Lancet in 2011 that documented the success of the first epidural stimulation participant, Rob Summers, who recovered a number of motor functions as a result of the intervention. Three years later, a study published in the medical journal Brain discussed how epidural stimulation of the spinal cord allowed Summers and three other young men who had been paralyzed for years to move their legs. Later research from UofL demonstrated this technology improved blood pressure regulation.

“This research demonstrates that some brain-to-spine connectivity may be restored years after a spinal cord injury as these participants living with motor complete paralysis were able to walk, stand, regain trunk mobility and recover a number of motor functions without physical assistance when using the epidural stimulator and maintaining focus to take steps,” said author Susan Harkema, Ph.D., professor and associate director of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville. “We must expand this research – hopefully, with improved stimulator technology – to more participants to realize the full potential of the progress we’re seeing in the lab, as the potential this provides for the 1.2 million people living with paralysis from a spinal cord injury is tremendous.”

Progress for Individuals Living with Paralysis

The American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) was used to classify the spinal cord injuries of each of the four participants. When the four participants joined the study, they were at least 2.5 years post injury. They were unable to stand, walk or voluntarily move their legs. Eight to nine weeks prior to the implantation of an epidural stimulator, they started daily locomotor training – manual facilitation of stepping on a treadmill – five days per week for two hours each day. Although there were no changes to their locomotor abilities prior to the implant, following the epidural stimulation participants were able to step when the stimulator was on and the individual intended to walk. Participants 3 and 4 were able to achieve walking over ground – in addition to on a treadmill – with assistive devices, such as a walker and horizontal poles for balance while the stimulator was on.

“Being a participant in this study truly changed my life, as it has provided me with a hope that I didn’t think was possible after my car accident,” said Kelly Thomas, a 23-year-old from Florida, also referred to as Participant 4. “The first day I took steps on my own was an emotional milestone in my recovery that I’ll never forget as one minute I was walking with the trainer’s assistance and, while they stopped, I continued walking on my own. It’s amazing what the human body can accomplish with help from research and technology.”

Jeff Marquis, a 35-year-old Wisconsin native who now lives in Louisville, was the first participant in this study to attain bilateral steps. “The first steps after my mountain biking accident were such a surprise, and I am thrilled to have progressed by continuing to take more steps each day. In addition, my endurance has improved, as I’ve regained strength and the independence to do things I used to take for granted like cooking and cleaning,” said Marquis, who is participant 3 in New England Journal of Medicine study. “My main priority is to be a participant in this research and further the findings, as what the University of Louisville team does each day is instrumental for the millions of individuals living with paralysis from a spinal cord injury.”

“While more clinical research must be done with larger cohorts, these findings confirm that the spinal cord has the capacity to recover the ability to walk with the right combination of epidural stimulation, daily training and the intent to step independently with each footstep,” said Claudia Angeli, Ph.D., senior researcher, Human Locomotor Research Center at Frazier Rehab Institute, and assistant professor, University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center.

Advancements for Spinal Cord Injury Community

This research is based on two distinct treatments:  epidural stimulation of the spinal cord and locomotor training. Epidural stimulation is the application of continuous electrical current at varying frequencies and intensities to specific locations on the lumbosacral spinal cord. This location corresponds to the dense neural networks that largely control movement of the hips, knees, ankles and toes. Locomotor training aims to ultimately retrain the spinal cord to “remember” the pattern of walking by repetitively practicing standing and stepping. In a locomotor training therapy session, the participant’s body weight is supported in a harness while specially trained staff move his or her legs to simulate walking while on a treadmill.

“We are seeing increasing interest in the use of neuromodulation procedures and technologies such as epidural stimulation in the treatment of spinal cord injury and restoration of locomotor, cardiovascular and urodynamic functions,” said Maxwell Boakye, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., chief of spinal neurosurgery at the University of Louisville and clinical director of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center. “Epidural stimulation is likely to become a standard treatment with several improvements in design of the device to target more specific neurological circuits.”  

For more information on epidural stimulation research, visit Victoryoverparalysis.org.

 

September 24, 2018

Professor Emeritus among honorees of optimal aging awards

Professor Emeritus among honorees of optimal aging awards

2018 Gold Standard Award winners

At age 96, Seymour “Sy” Slavin is still active speaking to groups in the community. A professor emeritus of the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work, Slavin recently was recognized as one of 15 awardees of the 2018 Gold Standard Awards for Optimal Aging.

Now in its seventh year, UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging hosted the awards this month, honoring Slavin in the educator category.

After teaching more than 30 years, Slavin went on to create and serve as the first director of the Kentucky Labor Institute. He lectures on topics ranging from Einstein’s views on the relationship of science and religion to the role of the administrative state in a democracy.

The Gold Standard awards honor individuals age 85 and older who lead flourishing lives, said Anna Faul, Ph.D., executive director of the institute.

“We do not have to be free of aging-related challenges to age optimally. It is our ability to flourish and live our best lives every day in the face of these challenges. This year’s outstanding cohort of awardees and nominees are true inspirations,” she said.

Fifteen awardees along with 58 other nominees were recognized at a luncheon on Sept. 7 sponsored by Hosparus Health. The event corresponds with Optimal Aging Month – an effort dedicated to promoting the positive view that aging is an opportunity, not a disease.

“The award winners demonstrate that while aging optimally looks different for every person, we can all strive to continue living our best lives at every stage,” said Christian Furman, M.D., medical director of the institute.

“Hosparus Health applauds the institute for recognizing that aging is a part of life. As an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life, we are honored to be a part of this event,” said Phil Marshall, president and CEO of Hosparus Health.

The complete list of 2018 category award winners include:

  • Elmer Lucille Allen, Category: Outstanding Individual, Age: 86
  • Mary Atherton, Category: Years of Wisdom, Age: 100
  • Elizabeth Bealmear, Category: Years of Wisdom, Age: 91
  • Les Brooks, Category: Never too Late, Age: 86
  • Thomas Cork, Sr., Category: Outstanding Individual, Age: 92
  • Don & Patsy Hall, Category: Outstanding Couple, Age: 87 & 87
  • Father Simon Herbers, Category: Compassion, Age: 97
  • Beatrice Huff, Category: Kentucky, Age: 89
  • Margot Kling, Category: Social Justice, Age: 92
  • Margaret Martel, Category: Years of Wisdom, Age: 106
  • Emma Patria Pedroso Iglesias, Category: New Beginnings, Age: 85
  • Dorothy Roehrig, Category: Years of Wisdom, Age: 100
  • William T. Shumake, Category: Leadership, Age: 92
  • Dr. Seymour Slavin, Category: Educator, Age: 96

Special Olympics gold medalist receives clinical care at UofL

Special Olympics gold medalist receives clinical care at UofL

Dionte Foster, left, trains at the UofL Bass-Rudd Tennis Center on his new prosthetic leg.

For the first time in years, Dionte Foster played tennis on two legs.

The Special Olympics gold medalist traveled to Louisville last week from his native St. Kitts in the Caribbean to receive pro bono clinical care from University of Louisville Physicians and a sports prosthesis from Louisville Prosthetics that would retail for about $61,000.

While training for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, Foster was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, which required his left leg to be amputated above the knee.

“It was devastating because tennis is my world. It almost felt like it was the end of life,” Foster said. “But, I became determined to not give up. I’ve been living life to the fullest ever since and trying to be strong for me and my mom.”

Foster, 24, not only lost his leg, but the cancer had spread to his lungs, requiring surgery and chemotherapy, which he received in New York because adequate treatment was not available in the Caribbean.

He continued to play tennis, albeit with great difficulty, on one leg. Special Olympics officials started raising money to get Foster a prosthetic leg and news of the effort reached Matt Holder, MD, MBA, chief executive officer of the Lee Specialty Clinic in Louisville, who also serves as the global medical adviser for Special Olympics.

Seeking help, Holder contacted Priya Chandan, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in UofL’s Department of Neurological Surgery and a Special Olympics Kentucky board member. Through the UofL connection, Matthew Adamkin, MD, UofL Physicians-Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, was tapped to provide care at no cost to Foster. Adamkin prescribed the prosthetic and worked closely with licensed prosthetist and pedorthotist Wayne Luckett of Louisville Prosthetics to ensure it would meet Foster’s needs. Luckett obtained specialized components for the prosthetic through donations from Freedom Innovations, Martin-Martin Bionics, Endolite North America and American Prosthetics.

Foster must learn to trust his prosthetic, placing more weight on it in order to improve his movement.

“It’s hard work to wear a prosthetic,” Luckett said. “It requires 100-percent more energy to move compared to able-bodied people. He’s already an athlete and in good shape, but we’re going to get him in better shape so he can return to the tennis courts and be competitive again.”

Also during his time in Louisville, Foster underwent a CT scan of his chest with support from the Mary Jane Gift Quality of Life Fund through the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The fund was established by Tommy and Alex Gift to honor their mother after she lost her life to cancer.

Foster received good news; his CT scan showed no evidence of cancer. Megan Nelson, MD, UofL-Physicians-Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, who specializes in cancer rehabilitation, helped organize the CT scan and arranged for Foster to meet with a sarcoma support group.

After a couple days of physical therapy, Foster trained on the tennis court with Rex Ecarma, UofL men’s tennis head coach, and Jeff Bourns, an amputee and Adapted Touring tennis player who holds a Top 5 World Rank (Category A) on the TAP World Tour.

The effort by multiple organizations to improve Foster’s mobility and help him return to competitive tennis was extraordinary, Adamkin said.

“I’ve never been a part of anything like this,” Adamkin said. “Dionte’s strides have been remarkable. With every day, he will get more confident and secure with the prosthesis.”
Foster said he is determined to make his story an example that inspires others to overcome adversity.

“It’s a game changer,” Foster said of receiving his new leg. “This has been an honor and I’m really thankful. It’s amazing to know I have a leg to go back home with and put my crutches aside.”

Where was this water before it was in my beer?

New location and time for Beer with a Scientist! Oct. 17
Where was this water before it was in my beer?

Robert Bates

Kentucky has an abundant supply of water – sometimes too much. So it may seem like we need not worry about our water use as much as people living in drier areas such as California or Arizona.

That is not necessarily the case.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Robert Bates, a water expert and nearly 30-year employee at Louisville Metro Sewer District, will explain that, while it is plentiful here in Kentucky, water still is a precious commodity and recycling it makes sense. He will discuss water recycling in the United States, the “Louisville water cycle” and how some local organizations are recycling water to make beer.

Now an operations specialist with GRW, an engineering consulting firm based in Lexington, Bates was in operations management for more than 10 years at MSD’s Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center, the largest wastewater treatment facility in Kentucky. He also is a past president of the Water Environment Association of Kentucky/Tennessee (WEAKT) and has co-authored several peer-reviewed scientific publications on wastewater.

“There is no new water, so the more we can do to protect this most vital resource, the better,” Bates said. “Plus, no water, no beer!”

His talk begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Ln., Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

Enjoy this popular event, organized by Louisville Underground Science, at its earlier time and new location. Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers continue to encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. At these events, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Researchers earn federal funding to explore impact of environment on diabetes, obesity

Researchers earn federal funding to explore impact of environment on diabetes, obesity

UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D.

A team of researchers at the University of Louisville has garnered $16.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to explore several angles related to how different aspects of our environment contribute to the development or health impacts of diabetes and obesity.

“More than 90 million adults in the United States are obese and more than 30 million adults suffer from diabetes. Our faculty, staff and students work every day to understand the causes and impacts of both so that we can develop the next generation of preventions, cures and treatments,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D. “This group of dynamic researchers now is looking at how our environment, in the broadest sense of the word, plays a role. This understanding has the potential to change not just people in Louisville, but literally the world. This is some of what makes UofL a great place to learn, work and invest.”

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., director of the UofL Diabetes and Obesity Center and the recently created Envirome Institute, which houses the Diabetes and Obesity Center, earned a competitive renewal grant that provides funding for essential core programs for all researchers in the center. Additionally, the center grant helps set the director of the research with an emphasis on metabolic and inflammatory mechanisms leading to diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance; stem cell biology; and environmental determinants of cardiometabolic disease. This marks the second successful five-year renewal that Bhatnagar has earned.

Petra Haberzettl, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, and Bradford Hill, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, received funding to examine the effects of air pollution on stem cell health.

Jason Hellman, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, received funding to explore how exercise can reduce inflammation. His previous work has shown previously uncovered new mechanisms of sustained inflammation in atherosclerotic lesions in diet-induced obesity.

Matt Nystoriak, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, is examining how the heart talks to blood vessels to increase blood flow during exercise.

Timothy O’Toole, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, received support to study how the molecule carnosine can be activated in protecting humans against airborne particulate matter.

 

Tackling opioid misuse among older adults

Tackling opioid misuse among older adults

Joe D’Ambrosio instructs a group of students

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Newest institute named in honor of Christina Lee Brown

Newest institute named in honor of Christina Lee Brown

Christina Lee Brown (third from the right)

In recognition of her support, the University of Louisville will rename its most recently created institute to The Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute. The UofL Board of Trustees voted on the name change today.

“I cannot think of a better way to honor Christie for her tremendous generosity that has allowed the institute to become a reality and to get off to such a strong start,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi.

In May, Brown committed $5 million in support of the institute, which takes a holistic approach to researching how the human-environment interrelationship impacts peoples’ lives. In addition to building on the pioneering work of Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., that established the field of environmental cardiology, UofL will incorporate community engagement and citizen science to introduce a singular, new approach to the study of health. Bhatnagar is the institute’s director, as well as the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine.

The Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute develops new infrastructure for transdisciplinary knowledge, bridging academic research with community engagement it transforms the city of Louisville into an urban laboratory and establishes the university as a repository of knowledge about the envirome. The Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute offers global leadership in developing new models of living by making decisions through the lens of health.

University of Louisville Joins Prestigious International Group Advising the United Nations on Sustainability

UofL also to be founding member for US network.
University of Louisville Joins Prestigious International Group Advising the United Nations on Sustainability

UofL President Neeli Bendapudi

What does the University of Louisville have in common with the Columbia University in New York, Princeton University and Oxford University in the United Kingdom? All are members of the United National Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

“Inclusion in this international effort recognizes our efforts over the decades to impact our world in a meaningful way when it comes to sustainability,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi today in announcing UofL’s membership at the Louisville Sustainability Symposium, which UofL is hosting for the first time.

“From the Conn Center looking for renewable energy sources and our university-wide efforts to reduce our carbon footprint to our recent creation of the Envirome Institute that focuses on health sustainability, we have a long history of trying to leave a better planet.”

UofL joins just 684 universities and research centers throughout the world that advise the United National on sustainable development.

Additionally, UofL will be a founding member of the U.S. Solutions Network later this year.

“The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network is honored to welcome the University of Louisville to the global network,” said Columbia University Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, advisor to the Secretary General of the UN and Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. “The SDSN looks forward to working closely with the Envirome Institute and city and community leaders to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Our efforts together will help to advance wellbeing in Louisville and around the world.”

The national and regional networks support the localization of the 17 goals set out by the UN and agreed to by 193 nations in 2015. Local networks will promote long-term pathways for sustainable development, promote high-quality education and research collaboration for sustainable development, and support governments in understanding and addressing the challenges of sustainable development.

Through these efforts, the networks are working to create a future in which poverty has been eradicated, the planet is protected and people are ensured the ability to enjoy peace and prosperity.

“We feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to be a founding member of this nation’s grass-roots effort,” Bendapudi said. “All of us at the university in collaboration with our community partners look forward to spearheading efforts to better understand how our environment, in the broadest sense of the word, impacts us as individuals.”

Led by Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine, the UofL Envirome Institute takes a holistic approach to researching how the human-environment interrelationship impacts peoples’ lives. In addition to building on Bhatnagar’s pioneering work establishing the field of environmental cardiology, UofL will incorporate community engagement and citizen science to introduce a singular, new approach to the study of health.

“Our researchers, staff and students will explore new concepts associated with examining 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,” Bendapudi said.

Increasing access to psych therapies is focus of UofL lecture

Talk kicks off Depression Center’s 12th annual conference
Increasing access to psych therapies is focus of UofL lecture

David M. Clark, Ph.D.

The need to make psychological therapies widely available is the focus of the “Building Hope” public lecture on Thursday, Nov. 1.

David M. Clark, Ph.D., professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford in England and director of the Oxford Centre of Anxiety Disorders & Trauma, will present “Thrive: How Psychological Therapies Transform Lives and Save Money.” The event is part of the “Building Hope” public lecture series sponsored by the University of Louisville Depression Center and will be held at 6 p.m. at the Clifton Center, 2117 Payne St.

“Effective psychological treatments are available for most mental health problems, but the public rarely benefits. This can be changed,” Clark said. “The clinical and economic arguments for increasing access to psychological therapies are overwhelming.”

The lecture kicks off the Depression Center’s 12th annual conference at the Clifton Center on Friday, Nov. 2, that will focus on translating science into clinical practice for depression and anxiety disorders.

Conference sessions are geared toward psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurse practitioners, primary care physicians and other mental health clinicians. Focusing on some of the most promising developments in biological psychiatry and psychotherapy, participants will learn about advanced methods for challenging clinical problems.

Keynote speakers include Clark, Mark A. Frye, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Mayo Clinic and director of the Mayo Clinic Depression Center, and Laura Wright McCray, M.D., associate professor and residency program director of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Vermont.

Continuing education credits are available for attendees.

Attendance is free for UofL physicians, nurses, faculty members, students, residents and fellows. Registration for other health care professionals costs $100. For more information, call 502-588-4886 or visit the website.

The conference is supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Centerstone Kentucky, Norton Healthcare and Passport Health Plan.

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

 

 

October 25, 2018

Global satellite mini-conference on air pollution and health scheduled for Oct. 30-31 at University Club

UofL Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute provides free access to World Health Organization event
Global satellite mini-conference on air pollution and health scheduled for Oct. 30-31 at University Club

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants such as the Mill Creek Plant in Louisville can have a significant impact on health. (Photo: The Nature Conservancy)

The Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute and its Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil at the University of Louisville will host a satellite mini-conference of the World Health Organization’s Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 30-31. The conference will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

“We are pleased to be an official satellite mini-conference host site of the World Health Organization’s first global conference on air pollution and health,” said Ted Smith, Ph.D., Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil Director. “This conference is a prime opportunity for Kentuckiana citizens who are interested in the impact air pollution has on health and well-being to share ideas and learn from experts around the globe as well as those in our own community.”

The mini conference will include video streams from the plenary session of the main conference in Geneva with an opportunity for discussions in Louisville to be shared with the main conference each day.

Tuesday’s session will open with remarks from Smith. A session will follow that examines the scientific evidence that exists showing the impact air pollution has on health with a discussion to follow mediated by Daniel Conklin, Ph.D., UofL professor of medicine.

Wednesday’s session will cover engaging the health sector as a leader of change in public policy, and communication, advocacy and partnerships to develop opportunities and remove barriers for promoting clean air policy.

Admission is free but reservations are required to receive a box lunch. To register, go to the online registration form here. For additional information, contact Lauren Anderson at lauren.anderson@louisville.edu.

The event is organized in collaboration with the United National Environment Programme, World Meteorological Organization, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Economic Commission for Europe and The World Bank.

American Heart Association, universities awarded $17.98 million to continue research to provide evidence for tobacco regulation

UofL, other universities, to conduct research studies for the next five years

Building upon the success of the past five years, the American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to building longer, healthier lives, in partnership with the University of Louisville, has received a nearly $18 million, five-year renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Tobacco Products to continue support for the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center.

Under the direction of Rose Marie Robertson, M.D., the association’s deputy chief science and medical officer, and Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine at UofL, the Center examines the short- and long-term cardiovascular effects of tobacco products and the overall toxicity of tobacco products and their constituents.

The AHA Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center received $20 million in its initial funding in 2013 through this same interagency partnership between the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration as the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products began its investment in the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS). The AHA Center is a multi-institutional network focused on creating a broad scientific base to inform the FDA’s regulation of tobacco product manufacturing, distribution and marketing.

The renewal grant awards were based on the scientific and technical merit of the applicant organizations. The AHA Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center’s quality of research and productivity in its first five years created a strong foundation for future research and led to the renewed funding.

“We are honored to continue to be a part of this important national movement to protect the public health from the tragic consequences of tobacco product use that takes the lives of more than 480,000 Americans each year,” Robertson said. “In light of the fast-paced shifts in the landscape of new tobacco products, an accelerating trend of the use of these products by our nation’s children and an emerging generation of dual or poly-tobacco product users, the need for a better understanding of the health effects of these novel products has become even more imperative.”

During the past five years, more than 50 investigators from 12 institutions throughout the nation have collaborated on 82 publications from the center that examined topics such as the reasons behind the growing prevalence of adults and young adults who are vaping, the toxicity of flavoring chemicals used in e-cigarettes and the preliminary indicators of the growing use of poly-use, or the practice of using multiple tobacco products at the same time.

To date, researchers have found the use of tobacco products such as traditional cigarettes, hookahs, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes and e-hookahs leads to a decrease in immune cells and prevents repair of damaged endothelial cells, increasing the risk of contracting secondary infections. Additionally, use of electronic hookahs can increase the risk of blood clots.

“Dr. Bhatnagar and his colleagues continue to demonstrate their leadership in the field of environmental cardiology, which obviously includes the use of tobacco,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D. “This renewal demonstrates the significance of the research being conducted and the potential impact it has on anyone who uses tobacco or similar products.  

“Hopefully it will impact those who are considering using tobacco both by providing information regarding health effects that can be used in health risk warnings, and also by providing FDA data regarding the toxicity of individual constituents within tobacco-derived aerosols.”

Research at the nine institutions –Boston University, Johns Hopkins University,  New York University, University of Louisville, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Wake Forest University, Stanford University, University of Iowa and National Jewish Hospital – participating in the AHA Center over the next five years will focus on understanding the toxic potential of combustible and newer forms of tobacco products, identifying the biological markers of cardiovascular injury caused by components of tobacco products and assessing the risk of heart disease for different racial and ethnic groups of people from the use of newer tobacco products.

“Identifying the biomarkers of cardiovascular injury caused by tobacco use can lead to improved standards for testing of novel tobacco products and lead to policies regulating the level of harmful chemicals present in tobacco products, thus aiming to reduce the overall burden of cardiovascular injury in the general population,” Bhatnagar said.

The researchers hope to identify specific substances from tobacco products and in their smoke or aerosols that contribute to heart disease. This includes flavoring chemicals used in electronic nicotine delivery systems such as  e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, JUUL and others, along with chemical solvents used in such products.

The center also has responsibility for training the next generation of tobacco regulatory scientists who will continue research into tobacco and its health effects. To this end, 23 people have been trained as fellows in tobacco regulatory science and 11 fellowship projects have been funded over the first 5 years. The center has also funded 12 short-term projects to study emerging topics of interest to tobacco regulation.

The renewed center has been designed to retain this flexibility to respond to FDA’s research needs in a shifting landscape of tobacco use through rapid-response research funding and independent fellowship grants that can enhance the center’s research database alongside its flagship projects.

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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 heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

 

 

A special Halloween treat for NICU families

A special Halloween treat for NICU families

Family delivers Halloween baskets to NICU

Last year, Jaclyn Maria and her husband were leaving University of Louisville Hospital with a brand new bundle of life, Luca. Taking home their baby boy the day before Halloween was a special time for the family, after a challenging journey awaiting his arrival.

Jaclyn had been on bed rest at the hospital for 10 weeks after going into labor at 22 weeks. She delivered Luca on Oct. 1, 2017, at 32 weeks, and he stayed in the NICU for a month.

Jaclyn says she had a unique experience at the Center for Women and Infants at UofL Hospital. She worked with a music therapist to write songs for her baby and visited with a therapy dog to ease her anxiety.

“I had a daily a routine, and the weeks passed quickly,” she said.

“The staff did so much to spoil us and make the season of Halloween with our son special despite being in the NICU,” Jacyln said. “Thanks to the staff, we have fond memories of what could have been a very difficult time for our family.”

She received a Halloween card with Luca’s footprint, and a group of volunteers who knit costumes for the NICU babies made him a sock monkey outfit with his name and birthdate.

“It was a gift you don’t expect that means so much, and we treasure that,” she said.

As a way to pay it forward, Jaclyn launched a fund-raiser this year to fill enough Halloween baskets for every family in the NICU. Filled with candy and care items like tissues and lotion, she delivered the baskets in time to make it a special Halloween for those in a similar circumstance.

“We can’t believe it has been a year – they did so much for us while we were here and we are glad to bring cheer to others,” Jaclyn said.

UofL ophthalmology residents certified earlier in training for advanced laser eye surgery

UofL residents earn certification usually achieved later in training thanks to public-private partnership
UofL ophthalmology residents certified earlier in training for advanced laser eye surgery

Residents Sidharth Puri, M.D., and Mohammad Ali Sadiq M.D.

Ophthalmology residents are learning to perform advanced eye surgeries earlier in their training at the University of Louisville thanks to a unique partnership with Suburban Excimer Laser Center and training on laser equipment from J&J Vision, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

“This is a novel public-private venture that provides a unique opportunity to combine the resources of a Fortune 500 company, the UofL ophthalmology program and a private laser center staffed with highly experienced clinicians,” said Richard Eiferman, M.D., clinical professor of ophthalmology with the University of Louisville School of Medicine, who oversees the training.  

The UofL Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences is one of only three programs in the United States in which the residents are trained for LASIK and PRK procedures during residency. The physicians in the laser center train the residents in performing the procedures, while representatives of Johnson & Johnson instruct them in the use of J&J Vision Surgical equipment for these procedures.

The program’s success promptly led to expanding it to include ophthalmology residents from the University of Kentucky Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences as well. Eight residents from UofL and six residents from UK are participating in the elective program.

The final stage of the training takes place at Suburban Excimer Laser Center, in which the residents perform surgeries under the direction of Eiferman, a clinical professor in the UofL School of Medicine, Frank Burns, M.D., and Mark Cassol, M.D., a lecturer in the UofL School of Medicine.

Earlier this year, two senior residents from UofL were the first medical residents in the United States to complete all of the required training and become FDA certified to perform the laser surgery prior to completing their three-year residency program. The certification typically is achieved by physicians engaged in specialized cornea fellowships following ophthalmology residency.

Only two other eye programs in the United States, Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia and the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, have similar programs.

Sidharth Puri, M.D., chief ophthalmology resident at UofL, said access to this training gives UofL residency graduates a significant advantage.

“This is a big strength for our program. It gives residents top notch exposure to the newest surgical techniques available,” Puri said.

To assist these residents in their training, the program is offering more affordable eye surgery to UofL faculty, staff, students and alumni. Resident procedures, staffed by Richard Eiferman, M.D., Frank Burns, M.D., and Mark Cassol, M.D., range from $495-$795 per eye for custom LASIK. For an appointment, call 502-588-0550.

 

November 1, 2018

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.

 

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.

 

New York Times bestselling author, University of Chicago researcher to discuss cancer immunotherapy treatment

New York Times bestselling author, University of Chicago researcher to discuss cancer immunotherapy treatment

The University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center and School of Medicine will present a free seminar open to the public on immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. The event will be held in rooms 101-102 of the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building, 505 S. Hancock St.

Charles Graeber, New York Times bestselling author of “The Good Nurse,” and Thomas Gajewski, M.D., Ph.D., a cancer researcher at the University of Chicago, will discuss Graeber’s new book, “The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer.” The book examines the ways in which cancer proliferates by avoiding the immune system, and the important new cancer immunotherapies that are beginning to unleash the immune system to fight – and beat –  the disease. 

Following the discussion, a question-and-answer session will be held.

Lunch will be provided at the seminar at no cost but seating is limited. For details, contact Diane Konzen at the Brown Cancer Center, diane.konzen@louisville.edu.

At 6 p.m. on the same date, the Kentucky Author Forum will present Graeber and Gajewski at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, 501 S. Main St. Several admission packages are available. Details can be found on the Kentucky Author Forum website found here.

 

 

UofL cancer researcher gains NIH funding to study Alzheimer’s disease

Levi Beverly, Ph.D., will use additional $385K to expand study of ubiquilins in neurodegeneration
UofL cancer researcher gains NIH funding to study Alzheimer’s disease

Levi Beverly, Ph.D.

Levi Beverly, Ph.D., believes he can use his cancer research to help in the quest to understand a cause and find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and the National Institute on Aging is providing funding to allow him to investigate further.

To generate new ideas in Alzheimer’s disease research, the National Institute on Aging, one of the National Institutes of Health, has offered researchers in other fields already funded by the NIH additional money to explore links between their current field of research and Alzheimer’s disease. Beverly, a UofL cancer researcher, has received one of the first round of these $385,000 awards.

“They are hoping to spark some new directions, uncovering potential new areas for research,” said Beverly, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Louisville. “This will get more people involved in the work and develop some preliminary seed data.”

Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases affect more than 5 million people in the United States. As the population ages, this number is increasing.

Beverly’s primary research grant from the National Cancer Institute is to study ubiquilin proteins in cancer. Ubiquilin proteins are critical adapters that appear to be central to signaling pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease as well as cancer.

“The protein ubiquilin is lost in both cancer and Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases,” Beverly said. “What we hope to discover is how this protein, which is associated with aberrant cell growth in cancer, also is associated with aberrant cell death in neurodegenerative diseases.”

Beverly plans to use the new funding to determine whether and how ubiquilin regulates contradictory signaling pathways in neuronal cells and epithelial cells, and how the loss of ubiquilin affects multiple types of tissues.

Robert Friedland, M.D., professor of neurology at UofL who has conducted research in Alzheimer’s disease for more than three decades, is collaborating with Beverly on the project.  

“We have known for many years that protein folding patterns are critical to neuronal damage in Alzheimer's,” Friedland said. “The work Dr. Beverly has done with ubiquilin has uncovered pathways that may be involved in key mechanisms of both Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. We anticipate that the interaction of researchers in cancer and neurodegeneration will help advance both fields.”

With combined annual national expenditures of approximately $300 billion for cancer and Alzheimer’s diseases in the United States, these conditions represent two of the largest burdens on the health-care system. Beverly believes the laboratory research conducted in this project will facilitate the development of therapeutic interventions for these diseases.

“Only by understanding the basic molecular, biochemical and genetic causes of these diseases will we be able to make significant progress in treating these patients,” Beverly said.

 

 

 

November 15, 2018

Can evaporated drops of bourbon be used to identify counterfeits?

Learn about whiskey webs at Beer with a Scientist, Dec. 5
Can evaporated drops of bourbon be used to identify counterfeits?

Stuart J. Williams, Ph.D.

Every snowflake has a unique crystal shape. Every human possesses unique fingerprints.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Stuart J. Williams, Ph.D., will explain that every brand of bourbon has a unique signature as well. Like fingerprints, these patterns, called whiskey webs, can be used to verify a bourbon’s authenticity.

“We have discovered that if you evaporate a small, diluted drop of bourbon on a surface, it leaves behind a pattern unique to bourbon,” Williams said. “Moreover, each pattern is unique to a specific brand of bourbon. We are using these findings to detect counterfeit bourbons, as well as to investigate fundamental mechanisms of self-assembly and to introduce colloid science to bourbon enthusiasts.”

Williams, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Louisville, researches fluid dynamics with an emphasis on flow visualization, microfluidics and colloid science. Colloids are a combination of tiny particles of one substance that are suspended in a liquid, solid or gas, but do not join with that substance.

Bourbon enthusiasts – and anyone else – can learn more about colloid science and see images of the unique and beautiful whiskey webs at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Ln., Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer or other items is not required but is encouraged. (Bourbon is not available.)

Organizers encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. At these events, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

 

November 27, 2018

Researchers fill gaps in horse reference genome to guide new approaches in fighting disease

Researchers fill gaps in horse reference genome to guide new approaches in fighting disease

By re-analyzing DNA from a thoroughbred named Twilight, pictured here on a farm at Cornell University, scientists corrected thousands of errors in the original horse reference genome.

Research led by scientists at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky has produced a more complete picture of the domestic horse reference genome, a map researchers will use to determine the role inherited genes and other regions of DNA play in many horse diseases and traits important in equine science and management.

By re-analyzing DNA from a thoroughbred named Twilight, the basis for the original horse reference genome, scientists generated a more than ten-fold increase in data and types of data to correct thousands of errors in the original sequence that was released in 2009. Since then, there have been dramatic improvements in nucleotide sequencing technology and the computational hardware and algorithms used to analyze data. It is now easier and less expensive to build a reference genome.

The new equine reference genome, known as EquCab3.0, was published today in Communications Biology, representing the work of 21 co-authors from 14 universities and academic centers around the world. The horse reference genome is publicly availablethrough the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Genome sequencing allows researchers to read and decipher genetic information found in DNA and is especially important in mapping disease genes – discovering diseases a horse might be genetically predisposed to developing.

Data gathered from future genetic and genomic studies of horses will use the new reference as a basis, which also has implications for tackling serious diseases in humans, said principal investigator Ted Kalbfleisch, Ph.D., of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the UofL School of Medicine.

“Because we can sequence a horse and map it to the reference genome, we can know what genes might be affected by a mutation and come up with a hypothesis for what went wrong,” Kalbfleisch said. “Looking beyond the horse, we all want to cure cancer and other diseases that affect humans. Being able to accurately generate reference genomes gives us the tool that we need to map an individual’s genomic content. Having a high-quality reference genome makes it possible for us to know where an individual has a mutation and personalize therapies that will be right for an individual and the specific disease they have.”

Senior author James MacLeod, V.M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center added, “Increased accuracy of the horse reference genome achieved through this work will greatly facilitate additional research in many aspects of equine science.  Medical advances for horses as a patient population, both in terms of sensitive diagnostic tests and emergent areas of precision medicine, are addressing critical issues for the health and wellbeing of these wonderful animals.”  

Financial support for the research was provided by the Morris Animal Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture and several additional grants to the laboratories of individual co-authors. 

UofL resident physicians provide physicals and health screenings for Special Olympics athletes

Partnership with JCPS serves athletes and individuals with intellectual disabilities
UofL resident physicians provide physicals and health screenings for Special Olympics athletes

UofL PM&R medical residents and faculty at MedFest

More than 300 Special Olympics athletes and students from Jefferson and Bullitt Counties received free athletic physicals and health screening exams at University of Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium on Oct. 17. University of Louisville physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) resident and faculty physicians provided the service as part of MedFest, an event organized by Special Olympics of Kentucky (SOKY) in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools.

MedFest, part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Initiative, is an annual event providing free pre-participation physicals for SOKY athletes and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the community age 8 through adult. The physicals are required for the athletes to compete in Special Olympics activities or unified track or bowling through the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.  Optional dental, vision and hearing screenings also are offered to the students and athletes.

<<CLICK TO WATCH A VIDEO OF THE EVENT

“It’s so important for our athletes to receive the medical screenings that they need. We know that through MedFest screenings, underlying conditions a lot of times are determined,” said Kim Satterwhite, senior director of field and athlete services for SOKY.

Priya Chandan, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the UofL Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who serves as clinical director for the event, said participation in MedFest is not only a service to the community, but also a learning opportunity for the providers.

“Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience health disparities, partly because many physicians in the community are not trained to provide care for them,” Chandan said. “It’s important for our trainees – medical residents and students, nurse practitioner and nursing students, and other providers – to have this opportunity to interact with this population.”

Maria Janakos, M.D., a resident physician in physical medicine and rehabilitation, was one of 10 UofL physicians who volunteered to provide pre-participation physical exams at this year’s event.

“The athletes are amazing individuals who have tremendous motivation and determination to succeed,” Janakos said. “It is rewarding to have the opportunity to interact with them. One of the individuals I met loves to play basketball. He told me his favorite athlete was LeBron James.”

MedFest has been held every year since 2005. The location alternates between Louisville and Lexington, however UofL PM&R physicians and trainees provide the screenings every year.

Dallas Derringer, one of the athletes at the event to obtain a physical for bowling, basketball and softball, expressed gratitude for the service:  “This physical is going to help me be ready!”

 

 

Nov. 20, 2018

Breast center organization reaccredits Brown Cancer Center

Breast center organization reaccredits Brown Cancer Center

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center has been granted a three-year/full reaccreditation designation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. 

Accreditation by the NAPBC is granted only to those centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of quality breast care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance. The Brown Cancer Center first received NAPBC accreditation in 2009.

To earn accreditation, the center must demonstrate compliance with standards established by the NAPBC for treating women who are diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease. The standards include proficiency in the areas of center leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education and quality improvement. 

“A breast center that achieves NAPBC accreditation has demonstrated a firm commitment to offer its patients every significant advantage in their battle against breast disease,” said Nicolas Ajkay, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, UofL Division of Surgical Oncology, who directs the breast cancer program as a surgical oncology specialist with UofL Physicians.

“I am extremely proud of this accomplishment. The breast program at the Brown Cancer Center was the first in Kentucky and remains the longest running NAPBC accredited breast program in our region,” said Beth Riley, M.D., deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and a breast cancer specialist. “This continued commitment to excellence and quality care is evident among our dedicated team of specialists.  Several areas of the program were also nominated for ‘Best Practice’ highlights on a national level which speaks to the high level of care we are able to provide.”

The NAPBC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to the improvement of the quality of care and monitoring of outcomes of patients with diseases of the breast. This mission is pursued through standard-setting, scientific validation and patient and professional education.  Its board membership includes professionals from 20 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of breast care. 

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 232,000 patients are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the United States annually. In addition, hundreds of thousands of women who deal with benign breast disease require medical evaluation for treatment options.

Receiving care at a NAPBC-accredited center ensures that a patient has access to:

  • Comprehensive care, including a full range of the latest treatment services
  • A multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best treatment options
  • Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options
  • And, most importantly, quality breast care close to home.

For more information about the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, visit the organization’s web site at www.accreditedbreastcenters.org.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

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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 http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

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 heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

UofL medical residents donate 870 Christmas presents to Louisville kids

UofL medical residents donate 870 Christmas presents to Louisville kids

The UofL House Staff Council collected 870 gifts during its Toys for Tots campaign this month. Resident physicians pictured are (from left) Jamie Morris, M.D., Jared Winston, M.D., and Taro Muso, M.D.

Medical residents and fellows at the University of Louisville have donated 870 new toys to local children for Christmas.

For the fourth consecutive year, the UofL School of Medicine House Staff Council, the representative body for resident and fellow physicians, led a weeklong collection for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Donations were received from individual residents and fellows and School of Medicine faculty, staff and students.

The Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes them as Christmas presents to economically disadvantaged children in the community in which a campaign is conducted.

“This is our community,” said Jared Winston, M.D., a UofL internal medicine resident from St. Louis. “Louisville is hosting a lot of residents who aren’t from this area. It’s a way to say ‘thank you’ to our community.”

There was some healthy competition among School of Medicine departments over donating the most toys. Stock Yards Bank & Trust is providing a luncheon and plaque to the three residency programs that donated the most toys.

The winning program for the fourth straight year, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, collected 370 toys. The Department of Radiology donated the second-most number of toys with 139, and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health finished third by contributing 102 gifts.

“The residents love helping out with the toy drive,” said Jamie Morris, M.D., a UofL radiology resident. “The House Staff Council is very big into community outreach and this is such a fun way to do it. We have multiple people in our department who love going shopping for Toys for Tots.”

Metabolite produced by gut microbiota from pomegranates reduces inflammatory bowel disease

UofL researchers share understanding of how Urolithin A and its synthetic reduce inflammation and improve gut barrier
Metabolite produced by gut microbiota from pomegranates reduces inflammatory bowel disease

Illustration showing tightening of gut barrier cells and reduced inflammation due to UroA

Scientists at UofL have shown that a microbial metabolite, Urolithin A, derived from a compound found in berries and pomegranates, can reduce and protect against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Millions of people worldwide suffer from IBD in the form of either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, and few effective long-term treatments are available.

The researchers at UofL have determined that Urolithin A (UroA) and its synthetic counterpart, UAS03, mitigate IBD by increasing proteins that tighten epithelial cell junctions in the gut and reducing gut inflammation in animal models. Tight junctions in the gut barrier prevent inappropriate microorganisms and toxins from leaking out, causing inflammation characteristic of IBD. Preclinical research published today in Nature Communications shows the mechanism by which UroA and UAS03 not only reduce inflammation and restore gut barrier integrity, but also protect against colitis.

“The general belief thus far in the field is that urolithins exert beneficial effects through their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative properties. We have for the first time discovered that their mode of function also includes repairing the gut barrier dysfunction and maintaining barrier integrity,” said Rajbir Singh, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at UofL and the paper’s first author.

Venkatakrishna Rao Jala, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at UofL, led the research, conducted by Singh and other collaborators at UofL, the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) in Bangalore, India, the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. Jala, Singh and other researchers at UofL have been investigating how metabolites produced by the human microbiota – bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit the human body – affect many areas of health. By understanding the effects of specific metabolites, they hope to use them directly as therapeutic agents in treating disease.

It has been reported that the microbe Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum INIA P815 strain in the gut has the ability to generate UroA from ellagic acid (EA), a compound found in berries and pomegranates. Variations in UroA levels, despite consumption of foods containing EA, may be the result of varied populations of bacteria responsible for the production of UroAfrom one individual to another, and some individuals may not have the bacteria at all. While encouraging natural levels of UroA in the gut by consuming the appropriate foods and protecting populations of beneficial bacteria should have positive health effects, the researchers believe the use of the more stable synthetic UAS03 may prove to be therapeutically effective in cases of acute colitis. Further experiments and clinical testing are needed to test these beliefs.

“Microbes in our gut have evolved to generate beneficial microbial metabolites in the vicinity of the gut barrier,” Jala said. “However, this requires that we protect and harbor the appropriate gut microbiota and consume a healthy diet. This study shows that direct consumption of UroA or its analog can compensate for a lack of the specific bacteria responsible for production of UroA and continuous consumption of pomegranates and berries.”

Haribabu Bodduluri, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at UofL and an author of the article, said another key finding of the research is that UroA and UAS03 show both therapeutic and protective effects. Administration of UroA/UAS03 after the development of colitis reverses the condition and administration prior to development of colitis prevents it from occurring.

This research was facilitated by funding from the National Cancer Institute to Jala and the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE), established at UofL in 2018 with funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.


The article, “Enhancement of the gut barrier integrity by a microbial metabolite through the Nrf2 pathway,” is available on the web site, Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07859-7). This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, U of L, Rounsavall Foundation, The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Research Enhancement Grant and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The Department of Biotechnology and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), India, also supported the work.

Several authors hold a patent application related to this technology.

Jan. 9, 2019

A life in the clouds: The science of extreme weather

UofL weather researcher will discuss cloud physics and climate change at Beer with a Scientist, Jan. 23
A life in the clouds:  The science of extreme weather

A rotating thunderstorm, called a supercell, in northwestern Minnesota. Photo by Naylor

With spring just around the corner, Louisville area residents will expect not only April showers and May flowers, but spring tornadoes. These destructive storms are fairly common in the greater Louisville area, which may lead weather buffs to wonder:  What causes tornadoes and what makes them more or less destructive?

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Jason Naylor, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Louisville, will discuss the formation of tornadoes and share data that indicate there may be pockets in and around Louisville that are more prone to severe weather. Naylor studies severe weather events with the goal of identifying factors that affect their intensity, duration and frequency.

“The number of tornadoes in the United States in 2018 was far below normal. This may have been an anomaly or it may be related to climate change,” Naylor said. “There are factors related to climate change that may impact the frequency and spatial distribution of U.S. tornadoes and other severe weather events.”

He also will discuss how humans may be affecting severe weather on a smaller, more local scale. His current research is investigating how severe weather patterns may be altered by the presence of large cities.

Naylor’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Lane, Louisville, 40222. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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

Organizers encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. At these events, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Upcoming Beer with a Scientist dates:  Feb. 13, March 13, April 17, May 15.


Jan. 17, 2019

‘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.)
    (TBD)

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

    YouthBuild (800 S. Preston St.)
    (TBD)


    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 www.smoketownvoice.com/heart-of-a-champion. 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. 

    Is your home a potential pet poison pit? Veterinary pathologist on common pet toxins at Beer with a Scientist, Feb. 13

    Is your home a potential pet poison pit? Veterinary pathologist on common pet toxins at Beer with a Scientist, Feb. 13

    Kate Baker, D.V.M., M.S. and Roo

    A number of potentially life-threatening toxins found in many households can seriously harm your furry best friend. Even things humans safely ingest every day can be fatal to pets.

    At the next Beer with a Scientist, Kate Baker, D.V.M., M.S., a veterinary clinical pathologist with Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Veterinary Hospital, will explain why some seemingly harmless substances actually are very dangerous for our animals. She also will address what veterinarians do to save pets when they ingest a toxin.

    "Many of us share our homes with pets, and sometimes, they eat things they shouldn’t. While some of these things may be harmless, others can seriously harm pets, even things people consume every day with no issues, from common medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen, to foods we eat every day like onions and grapes,” Baker said.

    Baker’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Lane, Louisville, 40222. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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

    Organizers encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

    UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. At these events, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

    Upcoming Beer with a Scientist dates:  March 13, April 17, May 15.

     

     

    February 7, 2019

    Advice and support available for Parkinson’s disease patients, families and caregivers

    Advice and support available for Parkinson’s disease patients, families and caregivers

    J. Eric Ahlskog, M.D., Ph.D.

    Individuals living with Parkinson’s disease, along with their families and caregivers, will have the opportunity to hear from a popular author and expert on the treatment of Parkinson’s, J. Eric Ahlskog, M.D., Ph.D., at the annual Bill Collins Symposium for Parkinson’s Disease. The annual symposium also will include care insights for patients, families and caregivers by the providers of UofL Physicians – Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders clinic.

    The half-day event is Saturday, March 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the conference center of the Rudd Heart and Lung Building, 201 Abraham Flexner Way, next to Jewish Hospital. There is no charge to attend.

    Ahlskog, professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, is the author of “The New Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Book,” a popular guide for people with Parkinson’s disease and their families. He will give the keynote talk for the symposium, “Debunking Ten Myths that May Sabotage Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.”

    In addition, Karen Robinson, Ph.D., F.A.A.N., of the UofL School of Nursing, will discuss the importance of support for caregivers, and Robert Friedland, M.D., professor and researcher in the Department of Neurology at UofL, will explain the impact of the microbiome in Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Finally, a panel discussion will include providers from the UofL Physicians – Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders clinic.

    “We have organized this opportunity to allow patients and their families to meet one another and to learn about the best ways to manage the journey of Parkinson’s disease,” said Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., director of the UofL Physicians – Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders clinic and the Raymond Lee Lebby Chair in Parkinson’s Disease Research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. “This year, they will have a unique chance to hear from Dr. Ahlskog, a renowned expert in Parkinson’s care. We also will introduce a caregivers’ support group, which will begin in March.”

    Parkinson’s disease caregiver support group

    Caring for a partner or family member with Parkinson's disease has many rewards, but also has been associated with physical, mental, social and financial stressors. Beginning in March, the UofL Physicians – Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders clinic will offer a monthly caregiver support group led by Kelly Bickett, a registered nurse in the movement clinic with special expertise in the care of Parkinson's disease. To facilitate attendance at support group meetings, respite care will be made available on an as-needed basis through a professional health-care agency for up to four hours. 

    The group will begin Friday, March 29, and meet the fourth Friday of each month from 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. Register for the support group by calling 502-582-7654.

    Bill Collins Symposium for Parkinson’s Disease agenda

    • Keynote: “Debunking Ten Myths that May Sabotage Treatment,” by J. Eric Ahlskog, M.D., Ph.D.
    • Active Break:  Dance for Health – David X. Thurmond, professional dancer, choreographer and teacher.
    • Microbiome in Parkinson’s disease and dementia - Robert P. Friedland, M.D., UofL Department of Neurology and the Mason C. and Mary D. Rudd Endowed Chair in Neurology.
    • Supporting caregivers of those with Parkinson’s disease – Karen Robinson, Ph.D., F.A.A.N., UofL School of Nursing.
    • Panel discussion with Ahlskog and Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., along with Victoria Holiday, M.D., UofL Department of Neurology and Laura Dixon, D.N.P. A.P.R.N., UofL Physicians – Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.

    There is no charge to attend the symposium, but please register by Feb. 25 by calling 502-582-7654 or via email to UofLPhysiciansMovement@ulp.org. Please include your name, the number of guests attending and a telephone number.

     

     

    February 7, 2019

    New York LGBT care coordination director selected as UofL Health Sciences Center LGBT Center director

    New York LGBT care coordination director selected as UofL Health Sciences Center LGBT Center director

    Bláz Bush of New York will join UofL Feb. 25 as the director of the LGBT Center at the Health Sciences Center.

    A professional with almost a decade in caring for patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-binary and those born with differences in sex development has been selected to lead the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center.

    Bláz Bush of New York will join UofL Feb. 25. He brings a skill set particularly attuned to the needs of the LGBT community at the HSC, said Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs Mordean Taylor-Archer.

    “Bláz combines a wealth of experience in LGBT health care with a collaborative, inclusive leadership style,” Taylor-Archer said. “These qualities make him perfectly positioned to take the HSC LGBT Center to the next level of success in serving our students, faculty, staff, community and ultimately patients.”

    Bush comes to UofL after serving as the director of care coordination of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, one of the largest LGBT community health centers in the world, serving 18,000 patients annually.

    At Callen-Lorde, Bush oversaw 40 case managers, patient navigators and prevention and outreach counselors. He also led the health center in a number of initiatives, including improving community HIV viral-suppression rates and developing interventions to address social determinants of health.

    Bush also served on the Health and Human Services HIV Planning Council of New York’s Integration of Care subcommittee, working with city leaders to develop HIV/AIDS programs focused on transgender and non-binary gender health disparities, housing, opioid-use reduction, food and nutrition and care coordination programs.

    Prior to Callen-Lorde, Bush was with the New York Blood Center’s Infectious Diseases Research Program. He earned a master’s degree with a focus in community counseling from the University of Oklahoma.

    UofL is a leader in the field of educating medical students in the needs of LGBT patients, serving as the pilot program for the Association of American Medical Colleges recommendations to embed training in the care of these patients throughout the medical school curriculum. UofL’s project, eQuality, won the 2016-2017 Innovation in Medical Education Award from the Southern Group on Educational Affairs.

    “The work being done at the University of Louisville to educate future generations of health care providers in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and gender non-binary health care needs is essential, lifesaving and radical,” Bush said. “Having worked at an LGBT health center, I understand the vital importance of adequate training and the desperate need for sensitive, quality health care to be widespread and accessible for all communities, especially for communities of color.

    “The University of Louisville is already the leader in creating an LGBT-inclusive campus and is an innovator in creating LGBT educational programs. I am humbled and excited for this opportunity to help lead the Health Sciences Center forward and continue its progressive leadership in educating the caregivers of tomorrow.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Immune stimulant molecule shown to prevent cancer

    UofL researchers discover that an immune checkpoint stimulator, SA-4-1BBL, as a single agent prevents against multiple types of cancer
    Immune stimulant molecule shown to prevent cancer

    Confocal microscope image shows SA-4-1BBL (green) bound to its receptor on an immune cell (red)

    A research team at UofL has discovered that an immune checkpoint molecule they developed for cancer immunotherapy also protects against future development of multiple types of cancer when administered by itself.

    The recombinant protein molecule SA-4-1BBL has been used to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of cancer vaccines with success in pre-clinical animal models. It accomplishes this by boosting the effectiveness of CD8+ T cells, adaptive immune cells trained to target the tumor for destruction. Surprisingly, when the researchers treated normal healthy mice with SA-4-1BBL alone, the mice were protected when the researchers later exposed them to different types of tumor cells.

    “The novelty we are reporting is the ability of this molecule to generate an immune response that patrols the body for the presence of rare tumor cells and to eliminate cancer before it takes hold in the body,” said Haval Shirwan, Ph.D., professor in the UofL Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the UofL Institute for Cellular Therapeutics. “Generally, the immune system will need to be exposed to the tumor, recognize the tumor as dangerous, and then generate an adaptive and tumor-specific response to eliminate the tumor that it recognizes. Thus, our new finding is very surprising because the immune system has not seen a tumor, so the response is not to the presence of a tumor.”

    The researchers have determined that the molecule generates a tumor immune surveillance system through activation of what are known as CD4+ T cells and innate NK cells, thereby protecting the mice against various cancer types they have never had. This function is an indication of the molecule’s effectiveness in cancer immunoprevention.

    In the research, published today in Cancer Research, mice that had never had cancer were treated with SA-4-1BBL alone, then challenged with cervical and lung cancer tumor cells at various time intervals. The mice showed significant protection against tumor development, with the greatest protection when challenged two weeks after treatment with SA-4-1BBL. The cancer immunoprevention effect generated by SA-4-1BBL lasted more than eight weeks.

    “Just giving SA-4-1BBL alone prevents the formation of tumors in animal models,” Shirwan said. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that an immune checkpoint stimulator, known for its function for adaptive immunity, as a single agent can activate an immune system surveillance mechanism for protection against various tumor types.”

    Additional testing showed that CD8+ T cells were not required for the protection, but when CD4+ T and NK cells were eliminated in the mice, protection failed, indicating these two cell types were necessary to achieve the effect. The lack of necessity for CD8+ T cells indicates the process is not one of conventional acquired immunity.

    Although the research, which was conducted in collaboration with FasCure Therapeutics, LLC, tested the mice for cervical and lung cancers, the protective function of SA-4-1BBL works without context of specific tumor antigens, giving it the potential to be effective in preventing any number of tumor types.

    “We are very excited about the cancer immunoprevention possibilities of this molecule. Its effectiveness is not tumor specific, and as a natural ligand, it does not cause toxicity, as is found with 4-1BB agonist antibodies. Plus, the fear of autoimmunity is highly minimized, as evident from our data, because it is activating the innate immune cells,” said Esma Yolcu, Ph.D., associate professor at UofL and co-author of the study.

    Immune checkpoint stimulators and inhibitors are major regulators of the immune system and work in a similar fashion to the “brake” and “gas” pedals in a vehicle. Cancer evades the immune system by various means, including immune checkpoint inhibitors, which apply the brake on the immune response against a tumor. Stimulators, on the other hand, serve the accelerator function, improving immune responses against cancer.

    Drugs to block the action of immune checkpoint inhibitors already have shown therapeutic efficacy for several cancer types in the clinic and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to Shirwan, the focus now is on immune checkpoint stimulators.

    “Several antibody molecules are in clinical testing for cancer immunotherapy as immune checkpoint stimulators. However, nothing so far is approved by the FDA that gives a positive signal to the T cells,” Shirwan said. “The immune checkpoint inhibitors take the foot off the brake, so to speak. This ligand, as an immune checkpoint stimulator, puts the gas on the immune system to destroy the tumor.

    “Another big surprise is that an antibody to the same receptor targeted by SA-4-1BBL did not protect against tumors, demonstrating unique and desired features of SA-4-1BBL for caner immunoprevention.”

    Shirwan and Yolcu plan to conduct further tests for SA-4-1BBL in cancer immunoprevention.

    “Although the notion of cancer immunoprevention is an attractive one, the design of clinical trials presents a challenge with respect to the target population,” Shirwan said. “However, with advances in cancer screening technologies and genetic tools to identify high-risk individuals, we ultimately are hoping to have the opportunity to test the SA-4-1BBL molecule for immunoprevention in individuals who are predisposed to certain cancers, as well as in the presence of precancerous lesions.”

    To encourage and accelerate research in cancer prevention, the National Institutes of Health have created a network for research into immunoprevention, outlining possible methods for testing promising preventive substances and provided opportunities for associated funding. The Immuno-Oncology Translational Network is designed to create a fertile environment for research and to facilitate cancer immunoprevention research projects focusing on people who are genetically predisposed to certain cancers, those who have been diagnosed with pre-malignant lesions or polyps, and individuals exposed to cancer-causing substances, such as smokers and asbestos workers.

     

     

    Feb. 15, 2019

    Callen to receive Lifetime Career Educator Award

    Callen to receive Lifetime Career Educator Award

    Jeffrey P. Callen, M.D.

    Jeffrey P. Callen, M.D., professor of dermatology in the Department of Medicine, will receive the Lifetime Career Educator Award from the Dermatology Foundation on March 2 in Washington, D.C. The Dermatology Foundation supports research and education in dermatology and provides funding for young professionals as they begin research careers. Since 1999, the foundation has selected one dermatologist for this award annually. Callen’s award will be presented by Ruth Ann Vleugels, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. Callen was Vleugals’ mentor in a program of the American Academy of Dermatology that pairs senior academicians with junior faculty.

    ‘Game changing’ new minimally invasive treatment for brain aneurysms available at UofL Hospital

    First WEB device procedures in Kentucky successfully performed by UofL neurosurgeon Robert James, M.D.
    ‘Game changing’ new minimally invasive treatment for brain aneurysms available at UofL Hospital

    WEB® Aneurysm Embolization System. MicroVention

    After learning she had a family history of brain aneurysms, Mary Steinhilber went in for testing to see whether she also had an aneurysm.

    Doctors found she had not one, but three. Robert James, M.D., a neurosurgeon at UofL Physicians – Neurosurgery, treated two of her aneurysms with minimally invasive stents, but the location of the third, at a juncture of arteries, was not conducive to stent treatment.

    In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the WEB® Aneurysm Embolization System for treating this type of aneurysm, and on Feb. 13, Steinhilber was one of the first three patients in Kentucky to be treated with the device at UofL Hospital.

    An aneurysm is an enlarged, weakened area of an artery that results in a bulging or ballooned area in the artery. Untreated, an aneurysm in the brain may rupture, causing severe disability, cognitive loss or death. The WEB system, James said, provides a new, minimally invasive option for treating wide-necked bifurcation aneurysms, which occur at the juncture of two arteries. In the procedure, a mesh basket is placed inside the aneurysm, allowing blood to bypass the opening, which seals itself off over time, creating a permanent cure.

    “If we can fix the aneurysm before it bursts and cure it, then the threat of this aneurysm bursting and the patient dying from it essentially goes away,” James said. “The WEB device is a game changer for the minimally invasive treatment of aneurysms.”

    Steinhilber is grateful to have more advanced options for treating her condition. Two of her sisters were treated for aneurysms in the past. One required re-treatment and another was unable to be treated for one aneurysm due to its location. A third sister died suddenly from what may have been a ruptured aneurysm.

    “Seeing the history of my sisters, I feel very good about what the UofL doctors are doing here,” Steinhilber said. “It’s wonderful to see the progress made in treating aneurysms.”

    As many as 6 million people in the United States are estimated to have an unruptured brain aneurysm. Coils and stents have provided minimally invasive options for some types of aneurysms, but James explained those options have limitations in their use, and may have negative features.

    The WEB (an acronym for Woven Endo-Bridge) device is approved for treating wide-neck bifurcation aneurysms, which may account for 35 percent of all brain aneurysms. James completed the first three procedures in Kentucky with the device since it received FDA pre-market approval on Jan. 7. He had previous experience in performing the procedure, having participated in the device’s clinical trials.

    During the WEB system procedure, a small catheter is threaded from the groin area through the patient’s artery to the aneurysm site. Using fluoroscopy imaging, the surgeon deploys the WEB device into the “sack” of the aneurysm, where its flexible mesh conforms to the aneurysm walls, minimizing blood flow inside the aneurysm. In most cases, over time, the body seals off or occludes the neck of the aneurysm, essentially curing it.

    In clinical testing, the WEB system was shown to be highly effective and safer than other options. In addition, the minimally invasive nature of the procedure means most patients, including Steinhilber, are able to go home the next day.

    In addition to unruptured aneurysms, the WEB system may be used in some cases in which the aneurysm has already ruptured, providing more desirable options for treatment.

    “This device also gives us the ability to use flow diversion in already ruptured aneurysms to prevent them from re-rupturing, which we have never been able to do before,” James said.

    The WEB system, marketed by MicroVention, Inc., a U.S.-based subsidiary of Terumo and a global neurovascular company, has been used safely in more than 6,000 cases outside the United States as well as clinical studies here and abroad.

     

     

    Feb. 19, 2019

    UofL researchers and doctors recognized as Health Care Heroes

    UofL researchers and doctors recognized as Health Care Heroes

    Walter Sobczyk, M.D., Susan Harkema, Ph.D., Erle Austin III, M.D., Christian Davis Furman, M.D.

    Four UofL faculty were honored as Health Care Heroes this week during an awards presentation by Louisville Business First.

    They are:

    • Innovator winner - Susan Harkema, Ph.D., professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, UofL School of Medicine; associate scientific director, Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center; director of research, Frazier Rehab Institute 

    Harkema was honored for her research and ongoing commitment to the study of human locomotion. She has dedicated her career to the exploration of technology and development of therapies that will allow individuals with spinal cord injury to recover.

    • ·       Innovator finalist - Walter Sobczyk, M.D., pediatric cardiologist, University of Louisville, UofL Physicians – Pediatric Cardiology, Norton Children’s Hospital; associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, UofL School of Medicine

    A finalist in the innovator category, one of Sobczyk’s career highlights was the pioneering work of his pediatric cardiology group to use computer technology to transmit cardiac ultrasounds remotely from small community hospitals throughout the state of Kentucky. This important advancement helped provide high-level care to underserved areas of the state.

    • Provider Winner -Erle Austin III, M.D., cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, University of Louisville, UofL Physicians - Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery; professor and vice-chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, UofL School of Medicine

    As winner of the provider category, Austin has spent his career as a physician-educator and surgeon treating adults and children in need of congenital heart repairs. The ability to positively impact a person’s health quickly, along with the challenge of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery made the specialty particularly appealing to him.

    • Provider Finalist – Christian Davis Furman, M.D., geriatrician, UofL Physicians - Geriatrics; professor of geriatric & palliative medicine; interim chief, Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine and Medical Education, UofL School of Medicine; Margaret Dorward Smock Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine; medical director, UofL Trager Institute

    Furman was recognized as a finalist in the provider category for her work in the field of geriatrics. She still makes home visits and in her Q&A with Business First says the most rewarding part of her job is bringing together patients and families to discuss goals of care and advance care planning.

    Read more about the Healthcare Hero finalists and winners on the Business First website.

    Exemplars of compassion in health care

    UofL faculty, UofL Hospital staff honored with Commitment to Compassion Award
    Exemplars of compassion in health care

    Commitment to Compassion Award winners

    Recognized as individuals who improve the lives of others, two UofL faculty and two UofL Hospital staff are honored with the Commitment to Compassion Award.

    Presented by the Partnership for a Compassionate Louisville, the award is given to health care professionals who inspire others to be more compassionate.

    Matt Adamkin, M.D., and assistant professor in the Division Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, UofL School of Medicine, is among this year’s winners for his work with Special Olympics athletes. Adamkin is a physical medicine and rehab physician in the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery and UofL Physicians – Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

    His volunteer work with Special Olympics Kentucky includes providing no cost physicals to the special athletes who often suffer from intellectual or developmental difficulties.

    Amanda Corzine, M.S.N., R.N., S.A.N.E.-A., and Vicki Yazel, B.S.N., R.N., S.A.N.E.-A., are receiving a joint award for their work at UofL Hospital’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Services, a program that has helped hundreds of sexual assault and domestic violence victims in the Louisville area.

    Corzine, coordinator of SAFE Services, was instrumental in implementing an evidence-based domestic violence screening tool in the UofL Hospital Emergency Department that connects victims to immediate advocacy services. She has expanded the office to provide 24-hour availability and new services, including domestic violence forensic exams, the first in Kentucky. Yazel, assistant coordinator of SAFE Services, has strengthened the hospital’s relationships with law enforcement agencies and is improving human trafficking screening in the emergency department.

    The fourth UofL recipient is Joseph D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.,Director of Health Innovation and Sustainability at the UofL Trager Institute. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a professor at the UofL School of Medicine. He also teaches couples and family therapy courses for students at the Kent School of Social Work.

    D’Ambrosio also is developing a Compassionate Cities Index – a validated measurement of a city’s compassion. The index will be a reliable and accurate tool for measuring the prevalence of compassion in cities.

    These honorees will receive an award during the 4th Annual Commitment to Compassion Luncheon at the Muhammad Ali Center on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The event is hosted by Passport Health Plan, Insider Louisville and the Compassionate Louisville Healthcare Constellation. Read more on the Insider Louisville website.

     

    UofL researchers escalate efforts against multi-drug resistant bacteria with FDA contract

    Center for Predictive Medicine earns FDA contract to develop model for testing antibiotics
    UofL researchers escalate efforts against multi-drug resistant bacteria with FDA contract

    Regional Biocontainment Laboratory on University of Louisville ShelbyHurst Campus

    Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest infectious disease threats in the 21st Century. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that drug-resistant infections are responsible for 23,000 deaths in the United States each year. Among the three most concerning antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) is Psuedomonas aeruginosa.

    Researchers at the University of Louisville Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CPM) are working at the forefront in combating these pathogens. The CPM has been testing the effectiveness of new drugs against P. aeruginosa under a contract with the National Institutes of Health since 2013, and a new contract from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will expand the center’s work in testing new drugs against this pathogen. Under the new two-year, $933,606 contract, CPM will develop a validated model for screening antimicrobial drugs against P. aeruginosa.

    “This model likely will play an important role in drug development pipelines leading to identification of new antimicrobial drugs,” said Matthew Lawrenz, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology who is leading the research. “Researchers at UofL and from around the world will use the model to screen new antimicrobials against multi-drug resistant bacteria prior to clinical trials.”

    Forest Arnold, D.O., hospital epidemiologist for UofL Hospital and associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the UofL School of Medicine, said multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria and XDR bacteria, those with resistance to all existing antibiotics, are evolving faster than the drugs to kill them.

    “The germs get smarter as we make new drugs. If we are going to stay on top of them, we need new antibiotics, especially new classes of antibiotics -- those with a new mechanism of action that the germ hasn’t seen before,” Arnold said.

    Infections with MDR bacteria are particularly threatening for patients with weakened immune systems, those who have had multiple rounds of treatment with antibiotics, and in patients using devices such as ventilators and blood catheters. Since these bacteria are now resistant to many of the antibiotic drugs used to treat them, they can lead to severe infections and death.

    “If you have an infection with a bacterium we don’t have an antibiotic to treat, it could kill you,” Arnold said.

    P. aeruginosa is common in the environment and in otherwise healthy people, it may cause relatively minor infections of the ear, skin or eye. However, in people with weakened immune systems or in hospital settings, P. aeruginosa can cause serious, life-threatening infections of the blood, lungs, digestive tract or tissue. Infected wounds will have a green pus or discharge and a fruity smell.

    The validated animal model, to be developed by UofL researchers with collaborators at the University of Kentucky and the University of Wisconsin, will be used to test new compounds developed by drug companies and research labs around the world against P. aeruginosa. This model will allow testing against multiple strains of pseudomonas and will give more detailed information about the effectiveness of the drugs being tested.

    “The previous methods we used for testing the drugs provided basic information about a compound’s effectiveness. This new model will allow us to test anything from older classes of antibiotics to brand new classes and will provide information on dosing and scheduling. In addition, we will be able to test different strategies, such as immunomodulation – targeting the host to better respond to the infection as opposed to directly killing the bacteria,” Lawrenz said.

    The CPM’s new contract with the FDA will take advantage of the sophisticated resources at the Regional Biocontainment Lab, located on the UofL ShelbyHurst Campus, which provide the environment necessary for this work.

    “This new contract from the Food and Drug Administration supports the development of a model for understanding how bacteria build resistance to current commercially available antibiotics, which in turn, will lead to the discovery of new drugs or methods to combat a variety of infectious diseases,” said Robert Keynton, Ph.D., interim executive vice president for research and innovation at UofL. “The UofL Center for Predictive Medicine and the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory represents a significant investment in infrastructure, faculty and staff by the university in the field of emerging infectious diseases, which is one of our research and training strategic priorities."

     

     

    March 4, 2019

    What do old bones tell us about the health of ancient humans? Beer with a Scientist March 13

    What do old bones tell us about the health of ancient humans? Beer with a Scientist March 13

    Fabian Crespo, Ph.D., at Stonehenge

    A person’s immune system is affected by a large number of biological, social and environmental influences, many of which change throughout his or her lifetime. This makes it difficult to research certain aspects of immune health by studying living people.

    At the next Beer with a Scientist, Fabian Crespo, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Louisville, will explain how bioarchaeologists are studying the skeletons of ancient humans to learn about health and disease.

    “By studying different skeletal markers where inflammation is involved, bioarchaeologists can reconstruct immune competence in human skeletal samples. These osteoimmunological findings can help us understand the relationship between immune and bone cells,” Crespo said. “However, to better understand what these findings reveal about human health in the past requires discussion among immunologists, bioarchaeologists and historians.”

    Crespo’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Lane, Louisville, 40222. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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

    Organizers encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

    UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. At these events, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

    Upcoming Beer with a Scientist dates:  April 17, May 15.



    March 6, 2019

    Kentucky has highest antibiotic prescribing rate in U.S.; campaign aims to curb overuse

    Kentucky has highest antibiotic prescribing rate in U.S.; campaign aims to curb overuse

    A new public health campaign is highlighting the need for education and awareness on antibiotic overuse in Kentucky, the state with the highest rate of antibiotic use in the United States.

    Although antibiotics are important life-saving drugs that treat bacterial infections – including strep throat and urinary tract infections – their overuse can lead to drug resistance, which occurs when antibiotics no longer cure infections that they should treat, said Bethany Wattles, Pharm.D., clinical pharmacist in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

    Kentucky Antibiotic Awareness (KAA), a statewide campaign to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use, is led by health professional researchers at the UofL Department of Pediatrics Antimicrobial Stewardship Program with collaboration and financial support from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department of Medicaid Services. The campaign provides education and resources to Kentucky health care providers and the public.

    “If we continue to overuse antibiotics, even minor infections will become untreatable. This is a serious public health threat,” Wattles said. “To combat the spread of antibiotic resistance, we must use antibiotics only when necessary.”

    Examining antibiotic prescriptions for Kentucky children on Medicaid, researchers found that the rate of antibiotic use has been especially high in Eastern Kentucky. In some areas, children are receiving three-times more antibiotic prescriptions than the national average, Wattles said.

    Antibiotics are most frequently used for upper respiratory infections, many of which are caused by viruses that antibiotics do not kill.

    The majority of antibiotic prescribing is done in outpatient settings, which include medical offices, urgent care facilities, retail clinics and emergency departments. An estimated 30 to 50 percent of this antibiotic use is considered inappropriate, Wattles said.

    When antibiotics are prescribed, it is important to take them as instructed; do not share the medicine with others or save for later use.

    To learn more, visit the KAA website and follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Health care providers are also encouraged to join the KAA Listserv for newsletter updates, or email KYAntibx@louisville.edu with questions and suggestions.

    Disclaimer: This project was supported by the following: Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services: Department for Medicaid Services under the State University Partnership contract titled “Improving Care Quality for Children Receiving Kentucky Medicaid”, Norton Children’s Hospital, and the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics; School of Public Health and Information Sciences. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Medicaid Services.

    The perfect match - medical students prep for their next phase of medical training

    The perfect match - medical students prep for their next phase of medical training

    Ethan Tomlinson and Ian Bastian

    Fourth-year medical students now begin the process of planning where they will live and other logistics associated with a move to a new place. Most of the nearly 150 Class of 2019 students recently learned where they’ll complete the next three to seven years of residency training.

    Each year, medical students throughout the United States receive their written match notices precisely at noon on the third Friday of March – Match Day. UofL medical students experienced a 97-percent match rate, with 42 percent going into primary care.

    The National Resident Matching Program provides a uniform process for matching medical school applicants with residency programs based on the preferences of both. A matching algorithm uses those preferences to match individuals into positions.

    Ethan Tomlinson already knew what was in his envelope because of a separate military match program, but he was excited to join his classmates in the Match Day celebration on Friday.

    “The true beauty of my medical school experience is the friendships; those relationships and memories are what made the tough times better and the journey worthwhile,” he said.

    Tomlinson, who also earned two undergraduate degrees at UofL, will continue his medical training in Internal Medicine as a captain in the U. S. Air Force at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

    A native of Louisville, Tomlinson has a family history of military service, including his grandfather who served in the Marines and an uncle who was a fighter pilot in the Air Force.

    Although Tomlinson had no military experience prior to medical school, he was accepted into the Health Professions Scholarship Program, where students agree to serve as a military physician in exchange for a full tuition scholarship and monthly stipend. He then joined the Air Force, and went on to complete Commissioned Officer Training and a course in Aerospace Medicine.

    Ian Bastian of Madisonville, Ky., also completed medical school through the Health Professions Scholarship Program.

    “I have enjoyed my medical school rotations at military treatment facilities,” said Bastian, a second lieutenant in the Army. “Treating soldiers and their families is a rewarding experience, and I look forward to continuing it during residency.”

    Bastian will go to Madigan Army Medical Center located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord just south of Tacoma, Wash., for neurology residency training.

    “My first encounter with a patient in the neurology clinic at the end of my first year was perhaps the most memorable aspect of medical school,” Bastian said. “Prior to that patient evaluation, I had not considered neurology as a career choice - it was that experience that led me into the neurology specialty.”

    Both Tomlinson and Bastian say they are excited about the next step in their educational journeys.

     “I don’t know where my future might take me, but I hope to return to Louisville one day because I love my city. It will always be my first home,” Tomlinson said.

    Watch the video from Match Day 2019

    Internationally renowned genomicist to give public talk on application of big data to human health

    Internationally renowned genomicist to give public talk on application of big data to human health

    Michael Snyder, Ph.D.

    Michael Snyder, a pioneer in the use of big data in biomedical research, will give a free public lecture at the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center on Monday, March 25.

    Snyder’s talk, “Big Data and Health,” will take place at noon in room 101-102 at the Kosair Charities Clinical & Translational Research Building, 505 S. Hancock St. Snyder will focus on how information in large databases, or big data, can be used to develop improved and more individualized approaches to predicting, diagnosing and treating common diseases. 

    The lecture is sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the UofL School of Medicine. For more information, contact Janice Ellwanger at 502-852-5217 or David Samuelson at 502-852-7797.

    Snyder, Ph.D., is an international leader in the fields of functional genomics and proteomics and is the director of the Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine at Stanford University, where he is the Stanford W. Ascherman Professor and Chair of Genetics.

    He wrote “Genomics & Personalized Medicine: What Everyone Needs to Know,” a book that explores the prospects and realities of genomics and personalized medicine for consumers. He was a key participant in the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project, which identified functional elements in the human genome.

    Snyder’s research group was the first to perform a large-scale functional genomics project in any organism. Genomics is a branch of molecular biology that focuses on the structure, function, evolution and mapping of genomes in an organism’s complete set of DNA.

    The Snyder Lab has made several groundbreaking findings, including the discovery that much more of the human genome is either transcribed or contains regulatory elements than previously known, and that a high diversity of binding of transcription factors – gene products that participate in regulating what genes are active – occurs between and within species.

    Snyder also has combined different advanced “omics” technologies to perform the first longitudinal Integrative Personal Omics Profile (iPOP) of an individual and used the information to assess disease risk and monitor disease states for personalized medicine. He co-founded several biotechnology companies, including Protometrix (now part of Life Technologies), Affomix (now part of Illumina), Excelix, Personalis and Q Bio.

    Snyder received his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology and postdoctoral training at Stanford University.