UofL’s Trover Campus a national model in drawing physicians to rural practice

UofL’s Trover Campus a national model in drawing physicians to rural practice

William J. Crump, M.D.

Although many rural residents who were previously uninsured now have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a shortage of physicians in many rural communities means it still can be difficult for rural residents to obtain health care.

The University of Louisville School of Medicine has been working to increase the number of physicians in rural communities by training doctors at Trover Campus at Baptist Health Madisonville for 17 years. William J. Crump, M.D., associate dean for the Trover Campus, and his colleagues at UofL have assembled data to demonstrate that their efforts are paying off. The physicians who spent the last two years of medical school at the rural location are much more likely to ultimately practice in a rural setting.

In a study published online last week in The Journal of Rural Health, Crump reveals that 45 percent of the physicians who completed medical school at the rural campus now practice in rural areas, compared with only 7 percent of graduates who remained on the urban campus. The authors examined data for 1,120 physicians who graduated from the UofL School of Medicine between 2001 and 2008, including those who completed training at the traditional urban campus as well as Trover Campus. They used statistical methods to control for the percentage of graduates who had rural upbringing and chose family medicine, factors that previously were shown to predispose a physician to rural practice, and were able to demonstrate the rural campus itself added to the likelihood a physician would choose a rural practice.

“We were able to show that the investment of resources in our campus over the past 17 years has made a real difference for our Commonwealth,” Crump said. “There are almost 20 other such small campuses that have been established recently around the country. It will be another 10 to 15 years before they are able to prove the outcomes that we have, but we are confident that they will find the same thing. Not only will physicians be placed into small towns, but the small towns that host these rural regional campuses will benefit greatly from the financial investment by the parent campus as well as potentially recruiting their graduates to make their own medical care better."

Almost two-thirds of Kentucky’s counties are considered health professional shortage areas, meaning they have far too few primary care physicians. The University of Louisville focused on correcting this shortage by establishing the Trover Campus in Madisonville, Ky., a town of 20,000 that is 150 miles southwest of Louisville in the west Kentucky coal fields. It was believed that training students from small towns in a small town would more likely produce physicians for the small towns, and now this concept has been proven. Trover Campus was only the second in the United States to be placed in such a small town.

November 6, 2015

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.”

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 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

Daughter of UofL faculty member up for Espy Award

Cast your vote online through July 13
Daughter of UofL faculty member up for Espy Award

Oksana Masters on the medal stand at the Sochi Olympics in 2014

For the third year in a row, Oksana Masters is one of four nominees for ESPN’s Female Athlete With A Disability Award. The Louisvillian — daughter of UofL Assistant Professor M. Gay Masters, Ph.D., in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders — is nominated for her prowess in cross-country skiing.

Winners of the annual Espy Awards are selected through online fan balloting conducted from among candidates selected by the ESPY Select Nominating Committee. The public can vote online now until 5 p.m. EDT, July 13, on the ESPN website.

“I'm thrilled to see Oksana recognized for her talent and incredible hard work as an athlete. The ESPY nomination itself is already a win,” Gay Masters said. “We both appreciate your votes and support.”

Born in the Ukraine in 1989, Oksana Masters was brought to the United States by her adoptive mother when she was seven. She was born with several radiation-induced birth defects,including tibial hemimelia (resulting in different leg lengths), missing weight-bearing shinbones in her calves, webbed fingers with no thumbs, and six toes on each foot.

After moving to the United States in 1997, both of Oksana's legs were eventually amputated above the knee —her left leg at age eight and her right leg at age 13 — as they became increasingly painful and unable to support her weight. Oksana also had surgery to modify her innermost fingers on each hand so they could function as thumbs.

Oksana first made a name for herself as she won a bronze medal in rowing with partner Rob Jones at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the first-ever United States medal in trunk and arms mixed double sculls with a final time of 4:05.56. She then transitioned her talents to the snow and won silver and bronze at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in cross-country skiing.

When issues with her back prevented her return to the water for the 2016 Summer Games, Masters decided to give the sport of cycling a try. She has qualified for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Sept. 7-18, in paracycling, her fourth competitive sport.

Espy winners will be announced in the Espy Awards telecast at 8 p.m. EDT, July 13, on ABC-TV hosted by WWE wrestler John Cena. For more information, go to the Espy Awards website.

UofL researcher developing drug to treat emerging encephalitis viruses

NIH dedicates $21 million to prepare antiviral drug for clinical trials
UofL researcher developing drug to treat emerging encephalitis viruses

Donghoon Chung, Ph.D., in the Regional Biocontainment Lab

Donghoon Chung, Ph.D., a virologist at the University of Louisville, is one of three principal investigators with a new center working to advance new drugs for the treatment of equine encephalitis viruses in humans. The project, Center of Excellence for Encephalitic Alphavirus Therapeutics, is funded by a $21 million grant from the National Institutes of Health over five years.

The center, headquartered at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, will develop therapeutic drugs to treat three mosquito-borne alphaviruses that cause serious illness in humans and horses: Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV), Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) and Western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV). Although a vaccine is available for horses, there are no FDA-approved treatments or preventive vaccines for these viruses in humans.

Chung, an associate professor in the Center for Predictive Medicine and Department of Microbiology & Immunology at UofL, said the center’s goal is to refine potent small molecule compounds the researchers previously identified as promising as antiviral drugs for treating the encephalitis viruses, and enable those compounds to move to the next step of research, clinical trials in humans.

“In my previous research I found that these compounds inhibit the viral replication cycle. However, we want to further understand which target molecules are interacting with the compound,” Chung said. He described the mechanism of the compounds the group is investigating as similar to the way the drug nevirapine, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, works in treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

“This project is to develop a new antiviral compound to treat these diseases in humans,” Chung said. “However, we do not limit our applications of this drug to only humans, as it may be possible to adapt it for treating horses as well.”

These equine encephalitis viruses infect humans and horses through the bite of an infected mosquito. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of infection include fever, chills, headache and vomiting. Outbreaks of the Western and Venezuelan viruses are uncommon, and an average of only seven human cases of EEEV have been reported annually in the United States over the past ten years. However, the disease may leave people with permanent neurological symptoms, and approximately 30 percent of people who contract the Eastern equine encephalitis virus will die from the disease.

According to Chung, the potential for the viruses to be used in bioterrorism is perhaps even more worrisome. The CDC recognizes viral encephalitis as a Category B human biothreat, making the development of a treatment important.

Chung’s co-principal investigators in the center are Colleen Jonsson, Ph.D., of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center who directs the center, and Jennifer E. Golden, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy.

“The goal of our new Center of Excellence is to further develop novel therapeutic molecules discovered by our team that are highly potent across all three viruses, moving the optimal ones forward into pre-clinical development,” said Jonsson, formerly director of the UofL Center for Predictive Medicine.

Chung will test the compounds for toxicity against human cells in vitro, deciphering their molecular mechanisms and determining their resistance threshold utilizing the facilities and staff at the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at UofL. He also will test the compounds’ resistance threshold that inevitably develops over time, along with Juw Won Park, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer engineering in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at UofL.

Once their work is completed, the researchers expect the new drugs would be ready to begin clinical trial testing in humans.

Where to seek care when you’re sick or injured

UofL doctors discuss health care options
Where to seek care when you’re sick or injured

Ashley Iles, M.D.

We’ve all been there. Perhaps you have a mild sore throat and cough on Friday but by Saturday afternoon the cough has worsened. Or you wake up in the middle of the night with extreme nausea and a high fever. What is the most appropriate place to receive care in the most timely manner? 

Primary Care Providers

One of the best ways to care for your own health is to establish a primary care provider (PCP), says Ashley Iles M.D., assistant professor in the University of Louisville Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine and a physician with UofL Physicians Centers for Primary Care at Cardinal Station.

“Primary care refers to medical care given by a provider - physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. This is the first point of contact for patients’ non-emergent symptoms, disease management and health concerns. 

“For an acute illness like a sinus infection or earache that comes on suddenly during the week, a primary care provider should be your first point of contact,” she said. 

PCPs also encompass preventative types of care including cancer screening, vaccinations, health maintenance exams and patient education. 

“Think of your PCP facility as your medical home,” Iles said. 

Urgent or Immediate Care

An urgent care or immediate care center, however, may be the best option for after hours for worsening acute illness or injuries like mild sprains. These facilities may have an X-ray machine and the ability to perform some lab tests on-the-spot. 

“Think episodic care for urgent care centers,” Iles said. “If you need non-emergency care at a time when you can’t get to your primary care provider, these are good alternatives.” 

But Iles says patients should understand that urgent care facilities don’t keep track of their medical problems, prescriptions or visits the way a primary care provider would. 

“Be sure to follow-up with your primary care provider if you’ve gone to immediate care so they can update your medical records,” Iles. 

Emergency Care

Emergency rooms should be reserved for life-threatening conditions or injuries that could result in serious complications if not immediately addressed, says Adam Ross, M.D., medical director of UofL’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

National statistics indicate that between 5.5 – 8 percent of ER visits are non-urgent.

“However, as you can imagine, someone may come in with chest pain, concerned about a heart attack, and after a workup in the emergency room (EKG, chest x-ray, blood tests, etc.), it’s determined their pain was from GERD or heartburn” Ross said. “While their diagnosis is not an emergent one, the symptom they presented with certainly is.”  

It is better to be safe than sorry, says Ross.

“Always go to the ER when you feel life or limb are at risk: chest pain, shortness of breath, severe headache, weakness, numbness or speech difficulty, severe cuts, excessive bleeding, broken bones or other symptoms with which you are emergently concerned,” he said.

Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing what seems to be a life-threatening condition. Otherwise, patients can often call their medical insurance company hotlines to speak with an on-call providers that can give advice on what to do. UofL Centers for Primary Care at Cardinal Station can often see patients for acute illnesses or minor injuries the same week. Make an appointment by calling 502-588-8700. An on-call doctor is available to answer urgent medical questions after hours.

About UofL Centers for Primary Care at Cardinal Station

Located at 215 Central Ave. in Louisville, UofL Centers for Primary Care at Cardinal Station offer a full range of primary care services including acute illness visits, annual health maintenance visits, cancer screenings, STI screenings and vaccinations for both children and adults of any age. Additionally, the centers have a wide range of women’s health services including appropriate annual screenings and all types of non-surgical birth control including implantable devices. The office also is home to multiple Sports Medicine specialists who can offer on-site x-rays, acute injury management, chronic conditions management, physical therapy referrals and joint injections. For information and appointments, call 502-588-8700.

McClain to lead UofL health sciences center research efforts

McClain to lead UofL health sciences center research efforts

Craig McClain, M.D.

Craig McClain, M.D., has been named the Associate Vice President for Health Affairs/Research at the University of Louisville. McClain also serves as Distinguished University Scholar, UofL Associate Vice President for Translational Research, Director of the UofL Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Director of Research Affairs, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and Director of Gastroenterology at the Louisville VAMC.

“Dr. McClain brings a wealth of research experience to this position. I am confident that in this new position, which bridges research activities across the university and acts as a liaison between the Offices of the EVPHA and the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation, he will continue to provide outstanding research leadership on behalf of the Health Sciences Center,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs.

McClain is a widely recognized expert in alcohol abuse, nutrition, and cytokine research, as well as hepatic drug metabolism. In 1980, he described the deleterious interactions in the liver between alcohol and acetaminophen, and he was the first to describe dysregulated cytokines in alcoholic hepatitis.

His laboratory currently focuses on nutrition and the gut: liver axis, especially as it relates to alcoholic liver disease. He has published more than 340 peer-reviewed articles and 100 book chapters/reviews, and he has mentored more than 100 medical students, residents, GI fellows, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

He has received multiple awards, such as the American Gastroenterology Association Foundation Research Mentoring Award, the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman award for mentoring,  the Grace A Goldsmith Award in Nutrition, the University of Louisville Distinguished Faculty Award in Research for Basic and Applied Sciences, and teaching awards such as Outstanding Gastroenterology Education at UofL.

McClain also has been prominent nationally, serving as president of the American College of Nutrition. He also has served on several NIH and VA Study Sections. He was the first physician member of the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee (PRAC) and currently serves on the NIAAA National External Advisory Council and on the NIH Council of Councils.

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?”

UofL Stroke Program again receives top designation

University of Louisville Hospital certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center for third time
UofL Stroke Program again receives top designation

Tele-stroke robot with Jignesh Shah, M.D.

Kentucky is in the stroke belt, among the states with the highest incidence of stroke. Luckily, residents of the Louisville and Southern Indiana region who suffer a stroke can receive the highest level of stroke care possible at the University of Louisville Stroke Program. The program provides inpatient services at University of Louisville Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, first certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) in 2012. It was the first designated CSC in Kentucky and remains one of only four in the state.

Recertification as a CSC, the highest designation of care for stroke patients awarded by The Joint Commission, the primary independent accrediting body for health-care systems in the United States, assures patients that the physicians, nurses and other providers at UofL Hospital are fully prepared to quickly assess and treat patients suffering from all types of strokes using the most advanced treatments available. The Joint Commission recertified the UofL program for two years, the maximum time period allowed for certification.

“We are proud to serve the citizens of our region with the highest level of integrated stroke care. We will continue to set the bar in Kentucky and Southern Indiana when it comes to stroke prevention and treatment,” said Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neurology at the UofL School of Medicine and director of the University of Louisville Stroke Program.

Patients are treated by the highly trained and specialized physician faculty members of the UofL School of Medicine, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, cardiologists, emergency medicine providers, neuro-radiologists, vascular surgeons, hospitalists and neuro critical care providers. The multidisciplinary team also includes advance practice nurses, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, case managers and dieticians.

Comprehensive stroke centers such as UofL have the ability to care for patients suffering a stroke, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, and perform procedures that may not be available elsewhere. When a patient arrives in the emergency department at UofL Hospital, examination, laboratory studies, cardiac tests and state-of-the-art imaging studies can be performed within minutes of a patient's arrival.

Highlights of the UofL Stroke Program include:

  • Rapid delivery of clot-busting drug - The UofL Stroke Program achieved the highest award status from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Target: Stroke Elite Plus Honor Roll, in 2016 for prompt IV administration of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). UofL met the standard of administering the drug to more than 75 percent of patients who qualify within 60 minutes of arrival to the hospital, and to more than 50 percent of eligible patients within 45 minutes of arrival.
  • Clot-removal techniques – UofL neurointerventional specialists can rapidly open blocked blood vessels by removing blood clots and quickly restoring neurological function to patients.
  • Aneurysm treatment UofL neurosurgeons and interventional specialists are experts with the latest treatments for brain aneurysms, whether with surgery or minimally invasive endovascular coiling techniques.
  • Tele-stroke consultations – UofL neurologists provide their expertise to hospitals in outlying communities in Kentucky and Southern Indiana in real time via tele-stroke services. Using a 5-foot, 6-inch tall robot, physician specialists in Louisville can interact and converse with a patient, the patient’s family, and on-site physicians and nurses through a live, two-way audio and video feed. The remote connection allows neurologists at UofL to more quickly determine the best treatment protocol for patients in their home hospitals and allow them to be treated with IV t-PA or other treatments quickly when appropriate.
  • Post-stroke support – In addition to inpatient care, the UofL Stroke Program provides stroke survivor and caregiver support to improve patients’ wellbeing as they resume their daily lives.
  • Community education – UofL Stroke Program team members reach out to educate community members about reducing the risk of stroke by monitoring their blood pressure and maintaining healthy habits.

Even prior to its designation as Kentucky’s first certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in 2012, the UofL Stroke Program achieved the highest recognition with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, receiving the Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Award for the last 11 years. The recognition is awarded for meeting performance guidelines for the treatment and management of stroke patients from hospital admission to discharge.

BE FAST to spot signs of stroke

UofL Stroke Program medical experts advocate the use of the acronym BE FAST to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

Balance – Sudden loss of balance or coordination

Eyes - Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision

Face – Sudden face drooping

Arm – Sudden weakness or numbness of the arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Speech – Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

Time – to call 911 for help. Time saved is brain saved!

BE FAST was developed by Intermountain Healthcare, as an adaptation of the FAST model implemented by the American Stroke Association. Reproduced with permission from Intermountain Healthcare. Copyright 2011, Intermountain Health Care.

April 18, 2017

Science fiction into reality: What can artificial intelligence really do for us – or against us? Beer with a Scientist Mar. 15

UofL computer science professor will discuss safety, security and economic possibilities of artificial intelligence
Science fiction into reality:  What can artificial intelligence really do for us – or against us? Beer with a Scientist  Mar. 15

Roman Yampolskiy, Ph.D.

From TheJetsons to I, Robot, science fiction writers have illustrated both exciting and frightening visions of the impact computers, robots or other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) could have on society and mankind. As technology has become increasingly integrated into our lives, the prospect of living with super-intelligent machines has become not only conceivable, but perhaps inevitable.

Roman Yampolskiy, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering, will share his insights into the current and future reality of artificial intelligence at the next Beer with a Scientist event.

“Many scientists, futurologists and philosophers have predicted that humanity will achieve a technological breakthrough and create Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), machines that can perform any task as well as a human can,” Yampolskiy said. “It has been suggested that AGI may be a positive or negative factor in all domains, including technology and economy. I will attempt to analyze some likely changes caused by arrival of AGI.”

Yampolskiy is interested in AI, AI safety, cybersecurity, digital forensics, pattern recognition and games related to artificial intelligence. He has written a book, “Artificial Superintelligence:  A Futuristic Approach,” that addresses issues related to ensuring this technology remains beneficial to humanity.

 The event begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Mar. 15, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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.

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

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

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook. Upcoming dates:  April 5, May 17, and June 14.

UofL educators honored by Louisville Business First for preparing future physicians to care for LGBTQ patients

Amy Holthouser, M.D., and Stacie Steinbock receive “Best Innovators” award for UofL’s eQuality Project
UofL educators honored by Louisville Business First for preparing future physicians to care for LGBTQ patients

Amy Holthouser, M.D., and Stacie Steinbock

Amy Holthouser, M.D., and Stacie Steinbock were honored by Louisville Business First as “Best Innovators” for their work in educating future physicians regarding the best care for LGBTQ patients at the 2017 Health Care Hero Awards. Holthouser, associate dean for medical education at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and Steinbock, director of the UofL LGBT Center Office at the Health Sciences Center, received the award for their work in launching the eQuality Project, a national pilot program at UofL for developing curriculum for medical students to better meet the health-care needs of LGBTQ patients. The event, held Feb. 23 at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, recognized professionals making a significant impact in the Louisville health-care community.

“We are proud to be recognized by leaders in our business community with this award,” Holthouser said. “By teaching physicians how to take better care of all patients, we believe we make the Commonwealth of Kentucky a healthier environment for businesses to invest in the future.”

The eQuality Project was established at UofL to ensure that individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gender nonconforming or born with differences of sex development (DSD) receive the best possible health care. The UofL School of Medicine is the first in the nation to incorporate competencies published in 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) related to provision of care for LGBT and DSD individuals.

“While this category only allowed up to two people to be named, the success of this project is due to a huge team of people contributing in many different ways,” Steinbock said. “This innovative work is made possible by the compassionate, brave leadership within the School of Medicine.”

Holthouser and Steinbock were among five winners at the 2017 Health Care Heroes program honored for their impact as a manager, provider, innovator or in community outreach. A total of 19 health-care professionals and a specialty health-care facility were finalists for the awards. Finalists for the innovator award from UofL also included Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, and Darryl Kaelin, M.D., chief of the Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., the Raymond Lee Lebby Chair for Parkinson’s Research, was a finalist in the provider category, and the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center through the UofL School of Nursing was a finalist for the community outreach award. Winners were selected by a team consisting of Business First editors and the publisher.

Bolli to receive Schottenstein Prize for cardiovascular research from Ohio State University

Bolli to receive Schottenstein Prize for cardiovascular research from Ohio State University

Roberto Bolli, M.D.

Roberto Bolli, M.D., chief of the University of Louisville’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, will receive the 2015 Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Prize in Cardiovascular Sciences from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Center. The Schottenstein Prize is among the largest monetary prizes in the United States dedicated to cardiovascular research.

“We congratulate Roberto for achieving this award. He is such a scientist,” said Thomas Ryan, M.D., director of the Ohio State Heart and Vascular Center. “His work on heart muscle protection and regeneration has greatly increased our understanding of the cellular changes that occur during a heart attack and how to minimize and repair the damage that results.”

The Schottenstein Prize was established in 2008 with a $2 million gift from Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein for an endowed fund for a biennial award. The prize goes to a physician or researcher who is an international leader in cardiovascular medicine, cardiothoracic surgery or molecular or cellular cardiology. Bolli will receive his award during a ceremony on Nov. 4 in Columbus, Ohio. The prize includes an honorarium of $100,000.

“I am deeply honored to be the recipient of this prestigious award. I would like to thank the leadership of the University of Louisville for their steadfast support of my research efforts over the past 20 years and all of the members of our research team for their outstanding work and dedication, which have made this recognition possible. The Schottenstein Prize recognizes all of them,” Bolli said. “This award will further strengthen our resolve to advance the research agenda of the University of Louisville, focusing on pioneering studies of new therapies such as the use of adult stem cells to regenerate heart muscle in patients with heart failure and to improve blood flow in patients with peripheral arterial disease.”

Bolli is the Jewish Hospital Heart & Lung Institute Distinguished Chair in Cardiology and serves as director of UofL’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology, scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute and executive vice chair in the Department of Medicine. He has conducted research on preventing damage caused during heart attacks by studying ischemic preconditioning, the phenomenon in which heart muscle exposed to brief periods of stress becomes resistant to the tissue death that might be caused by a heart attack.

Previous biennial Schottenstein Prize winners include Garret FitzGerald, M.D., the McNeil Professor in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Christine Seidman, M.D., professor in the Departments of Medicine and Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Pascal Goldschmidt, M.D., the senior vice president for medical affairs and dean at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.


October 29, 2015

Surgeons with Jewish Hospital / University of Louisville / University of Louisville Physicians perform first islet cell auto-transplantation procedures in Kentucky

People with a debilitating and painful disease have a new treatment option available to them thanks to the collaborative efforts of Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville and University of Louisville Physicians.

Jewish Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health, and faculty members from the UofL School of Medicine are providing total pancreatectomy with islet cell auto-transplantation for some patients with chronic pancreatitis. Since the start of the year, six patients have undergone the procedure and all have functioning islet cells. The program is funded by an $800,000 grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.

Chronic pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas, can only be cured with complete removal of the pancreas (total pancreatectomy). However, removing the entire pancreas creates diabetes that is extremely difficult to control, with alternating very high and dangerous, life-threatening low blood sugars. Therefore, only a portion of the pancreas typically is removed in an attempt to prevent post-operative diabetes. This treatment does not very effectively treat the episodes of pain that lead to recurrent hospital admissions for patients with chronic pancreatitis.

The total pancreatectomy with auto-transplantation of islet cells from the pancreas is an alternative treatment being performed by a handful of facilities around the world, including Jewish Hospital. This procedure involves complete removal of the pancreas. The patient’s islet cells are isolated in a “cleanroom” facility at the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute (a partnership between UofL and the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence) and then re-implanted into the patient to prevent diabetes.

“Chronic pancreatitis is a disabling disease that results in constant, unremitting pain” said Michael Hughes Jr., M.D., transplant surgeon, Jewish Hospital, and assistant professor of surgery at UofL, and a surgeon with University of Louisville Physicians. “Until now, we have been unable to safely perform these procedures. Islet cell auto-transplant immediately following total pancreatectomy allows us to do this.”

“Complete removal of the pancreas leads to diabetes due to loss of insulin-producing islet cells,” said Balamurugan Appakalai, Ph.D., known as “Dr. Bala,” an associate professor of surgery, director, Clinical Islet Cell Laboratory at UofL and an investigator with the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute. “Islet cell auto-transplantation is a clinical procedure that is performed to prevent diabetes or reduce the severity of diabetes after removal of the pancreas. After pancreatic tissue is removed during surgery, insulin-producing islet cells are immediately separated from the pancreas in a special cleanroom facility. These islet cells are then infused into the patient's liver and the islet cells continue to produce insulin to control blood sugar levels in the body.”

Most patients who have had total pancreatectomy with islet auto-transplantation find a dramatic lessening of abdominal pain, reduction in the use of narcotic pain medicine and improved blood sugar control. Since the process involves the re-implantation of the patient’s own cells, the patient does not have to take immunosuppressive medication to ensure the viability of the treatment.

According to Hughes, in addition to helping patients with chronic pancreatitis, the auto-transplantation of pancreas islet cells has the potential to impact people with type 1 diabetes. The techniques and skills acquired in auto-transplantation may be applied to patients with diabetes in the future.

The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence grant has funded the creation of the islet cell auto-transplant program at Jewish Hospital. The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence provides financial assistance to not-for-profit organizations offering programs focused on Jewish culture/identity, health, human services and education.

“We are grateful to the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence for its support of Jewish Hospital’s islet cell auto-transplantation program,” said Joe Gilene, president, Jewish Hospital and downtown market leader. “We are among a select group of medical centers in the world undertaking this work that will benefit our patients and help us to become a regional leader in the treatment of pancreatitis.”

“Pioneering the latest treatments in diseases and conditions is one of the primary goals of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Louisville. “We know that chronic pancreatitis results in more than 122,000 outpatient visits and more than 56,000 hospitalizations per year nationwide. As the only health care provider in the Commonwealth offering islet auto-transplantation, we can drastically reduce the pain and suffering experienced by Kentuckians with chronic pancreatitis.”

Referring physicians or patients with chronic pancreatitis can learn more about the procedure by calling 502-407-3220.


About KentuckyOne Health

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

About the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center

The University of Louisville Health Sciences Center is the city’s only academic health center. Approximately 1,000 faculty members are involved in education, research and clinical care. The UofL HSC is home to more than 650 medical and dental residents, 3,000 students pursuing degrees in health-related fields within the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences, as well as 14 interdisciplinary centers and institutes. Approximately $140 million in extramural funding enables researchers to uncover the causes of disease and better ways to prevent, treat and cure those diseases. Patients are seen at the Ambulatory Care Building, The James Graham Brown Cancer Center, the UofL Physicians Outpatient Center, Norton Children’s Hospital and University of Louisville Hospital.

About University of Louisville Physicians

University of Louisville Physiciansisthe largest multispecialty physician practice in the Louisville region, with nearly 600 primary care and specialty physicians in more than 78 specialties and subspecialties. Our doctors are the professors and researchers of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, teaching tomorrow’s physicians and leading research into medical advancements. For more information, visit

Sept. 30, 2015

Susan Galandiuk, M.D., named editor-in-chief of prestigious scientific journal

UofL professor of surgery will lead "Diseases of the Colon & Rectum" and move the journal to Louisville
Susan Galandiuk, M.D., named editor-in-chief of prestigious scientific journal

Susan Galandiuk, M.D.

Susan Galandiuk, M.D., professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Louisville, has been named editor-in-chief of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, the scientific journal of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS).

Galandiuk, director of the Price Institute of Surgical Research at UofL and program director for the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery, will replace editor-in-chief Robert Madoff, effective January 1, 2017. She will serve a five-year term with a five-year renewal option.

“It is particularly appropriate that Dr. Galandiuk has been appointed as editor-in-chief of the world’s premier journal in the specialty of colorectal surgery – Diseases of the Colon & Rectum – since her predecessor at the University of Louisville, Dr. Joseph McDowell Mathews, founded this specialty in the United States over a century ago. It is a great honor and we are very proud of Dr. Galandiuk’s achievements,” said Kelly McMasters, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the UofL Department of Surgery.

Diseases of the Colon & Rectum ranks in the top 14 percent of all peer-reviewed surgery journals. It is mailed to the 3,300 members of ASCRS and also is available online. Editors-in-chief must show a record of significant scholarly achievement, editorial skills and an understanding of the international community of scholars and practitioners.

Galandiuk has published 150 peer-reviewed articles, 47 book chapters and three books (two at press). Previously, she was associate editor and section editor of Digestive Surgery and has served on editorial boards of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Annals of Surgery, British Journal of Surgery and others. Galandiuk has served in numerous leadership, review and advisory positions at the local, state, national and international levels, as well as for the United States Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health. She is an alumna of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program (ELAM), and is recognized among America’s Top Doctors, America’s Top Cancer Doctors and America’s Most Compassionate Doctors.

In preparation for assuming the duties as editor of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, Galandiuk is serving as co-editor of the journal. Once she assumes her role as editor, the publication’s editorial office will move from Minnesota to Louisville.


May 31, 2016

Four with ties to UofL named MOSAIC Award winners

Jewish Family & Career Services annual honor recognizes immigrant success

Two current University of Louisville faculty members, the daughter of a faculty member and a former faculty member are among the 2016 recipients of an annual award that honors the contributions made by immigrants to the Louisville community.

The MOSAIC Awards, presented by Jewish Family & Cultural Services, will be presented Thursday, May 26, at the Marriott Louisville Downtown Hotel, 280 W. Jefferson St. The event kicks off at 5 p.m. with a reception showcasing local entrepreneurial talent followed by dinner and presentation of the awards.

The “MOSAIC” name represents “Multicultural Opportunities for Success & Achievement In our Community,” and the annual awards dinner is a fundraising event to benefit JFCS. Every year since 2006, JFCS has honored new or first-generation immigrants and refugees who are making a significant contribution in their professions and in the community.

This year’s honorees are Dr. Emma Birks and Dr. Riaan van Zyl, both current University of Louisville faculty; Oksana Masters, the daughter of UofL faculty member Dr. Gay Masters; former faculty member Thangam “Sam” Rangaswamy;  and Dr. Manuel Grimaldi,

“JFCS was founded to assist newcomers to Louisville, and this event honors its original mission,” Judy Freundlich Tiell, JFCS executive director, said. “To date, the event has recognized 52 international Americans who make our community a richer and more interesting city, creating a mosaic of many colors and perspectives.”

Tickets to the event are $125 per person, and table sponsorships begin at $1,500. For reservations, contact Beverly Bromley, JFCS director of development, at 502-452-6341, ext. 223, or

About the honorees
Emma Birks, M.D., Ph.D., is from Great Britain and is a professor of medicine and director of the Heart Failure, Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support program in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Louisville. She practices with University of Louisville Physicians-Cardiovascular Medicine and is affiliated with Jewish Hospital, a part of Kentucky OneHealth.

Birks developed a myocardial recovery program and the burgeoning Ventricular Assist Devices and Transplant programs in Louisville. She currently teaches cardiology fellows and residents and started a heart failure fellowship program.

Birks works closely with cardiothoracic surgery and biomedical engineering and is involved in translational research studies. Her research focuses on inducing myocardial recovery and on the underling molecular mechanisms in recovery with the goal of reversing heart failure.

Originally from South Africa, Riaan van Zyl, Ph.D., is professor and associate dean for research in the Kent School of Social Work at UofL. His leadership and involvement in progressive social matters led to solutions that work, such as the first alcohol safety program in South Africa’s criminal justice system and programs for those with epilepsy.

He founded the South African Association of Mediators, facilitated the national aging policy for the National Department of Welfare and united all of South Africa’s schools of social work in a transformation process that developed high educational standards, and helped to reform the prison systems.

Van Zyl continues work in the area of prevention of HIV/AIDS in Africa. After joining the UofL faculty in 2000, he set about creating a new environment for research, building relationships with the community and creating a collaborative environment where faculty work with each other to solve community problems. He also has positioned the school to be one of the fastest growing in the country in terms of federal research dollars.

Oksana Masters from Ukraine was born with several radiation-induced birth defects. She was abandoned and lived in orphanages until she was seven. She endured surgeries, amputations, hunger and physical abuse, something no child should have to endure; yet she survived. She was adopted by M. Gay Masters, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor in the UofL Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders and practices with UofL Physicians-Speech-Language Pathology

Oksana Masters and her partner, Rob Jones, earned a bronze medal in trunk & arms rowing at the 2012 Paralympics. This was the first medal for the USA in this category. She was then named US Rowing Female Athlete of the Year in 2012, first time ever for a para-rower.

In 2014, after one full season on sit-skis, Oksana earned silver and bronze medals in Nordic Cross Country at the 2014 Paralympics. In 2015, during her next season on snow, she earned cross country World Championship medals and was World Cup Leader. She also earned a bronze medal at the Paracycling World Championships in 2015 as well as numerous medals in World Cup competitions in cross country, biathlon and handcycling. She is currently working to qualify for her third Paralympic.

Thangam “Sam” Rangaswamy, Ph.D., is from India and is the president and principal engineer of Rangaswany & Associates Inc., which he founded. He has taught concrete courses at the UofL Speed School of Engineering.

He is the founder of the Structural Engineering Association of Kentucky and served as its president, director and secretary. He has also served as Kentucky Minority Business Development Council treasurer, secretary and board member.

Rangaswany was given the U.S. Small Business Administration Person of the Year Award in 1985. He is a registered engineer in nine states and has received many national structural engineering and concrete masonry design awards.

He is currently serving on the Parking Authority of River City Board (PARC) and the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure. Rangaswamy was a founding trustee involved in the building and opening of the Hindu Temple of Kentucky and organized the India Community Foundation of Louisville.

The only honoree not associated with UofL, Manuel Grimaldi, M.D., came from Spain to the United States in order to be certified in internal medicine (1976) and medical oncology (1977). He joined the practice of Drs. Beard, Fuller and Dobbs currently known as CBC in 1977.

He has won numerous accolades, including the American Cancer Society Physician of the Year Award in 2010 and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Award. Upon retirement, he became a volunteer through the Greater Louisville Medical Society, donating his time, knowledge and service in medical missionary trips to Nicaragua and Belize.

Grimaldi has traveled to Nicaragua numerous times with Hand to Hand Ministries, visiting hospitals and clinics where he provided families, women and children with routine health care that would otherwise be unavailable to them. He raised funds to build homes in Belize and also served as a medical missionary for homebound families living with HIV.



Life experience fortifies incoming medical students

UofL School of Medicine welcomes class of 2021 in White Coat Ceremony, July 30
Life experience fortifies incoming medical students

Shayna Hale and her children

Shayna Hale set her sights on becoming a doctor at age 15, when her father passed away suddenly. However, life threw some obstacles in her path.

Working to support herself, the first-generation graduate didn’t start college until she was 20. Being a single mother to three children added challenges – but also motivation.

“I was uneducated in the resources available to me, and I underestimated my ability to manage studies and work simultaneously,” Hale said. “After succeeding for a year as a single mom working full time, I gained the confidence to pursue my goal once again. I realized that if I kept waiting for the right time, that time would never come. I decided the best thing for me to do for myself and my family was apply for medical school.”

Evan Meiman took a detour on his road to a career in medicine to spend time helping people in need. After graduating from college in 2015, he joined AmeriCorps VISTA, serving at the Rhode Island Free Clinic in Providence as a volunteer coordinator for a full service medical home for uninsured patients.Evan Meiman

“When you work for a not-for-profit you wear many hats. I was in charge of the volunteer staff – doctors, interpreters, medical recorders, assistants, nurses,” Meiman said. “I coordinated medical recorders, Spanish interpreters and the medical assistants. It was close to 300 people.”

After a year with AmeriCorps, Meiman worked enrolling patients for clinical trials and research studies at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where he learned valuable lessons about working with people in stressful situations.

“Some would laugh at you and kick you out. Others would sit and talk with you all day long. It was great interacting with people seeing a different side of medicine,” he said. “The two years I was out in the communities with sick and healthy people confirmed it’s exactly what I want to do. It showed me that people aren’t just cells that process sugars, they are human beings that have stories and lives.”

This Sunday, Meiman, Hale and 159 other students will be welcomed as first-year students in the University of Louisville School of Medicine at the school’s White Coat Ceremony.

UofL School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony
Sunday, July 30, 3-5 p.m.
Crowne Plaza
830 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY 40209

In the ceremony, members of the class of 2021 receive a white coat, a gift of the Greater Louisville Medical Society, and a stethoscope, provided by an alumnus of the school through Stethoscopes for Students. The future physicians then recite the Declaration of Geneva, promising to serve humanity and honor the traditions of the medical profession.

“It’s one thing to say you want to go to medical school, but to be given the tools to do it, I am honored. And it is exciting to be on the brink of it,” Meiman said.

Becoming a physician is a long process. Four years of medical school are followed by three or more years of residency training in a medical specialty. Meiman and Hale both have experience in planning for the long run. In his spare time, Meiman is a marathon runner.

“What I like about marathons is it’s so much more about what you put into it before the race. And it’s a great meditation and stress reliever.”

Hale hopes to have a positive impact on as many lives as possible.

“While we all hope to change the world, I will be fulfilled in the ability to change individual lives for the better, giving families more time together and providing a better quality of life.”



Nashville star Chuck Wicks will attend The Julep Ball May 2

Nashville star Chuck Wicks will attend The Julep Ball May 2

The singer-songwriter of 2007’s country hit “Stealing Cinderella” and the currently-rising-up-the-charts “Us Again,” Chuck Wicks, will walk the red carpet at The Julep Ball.

The premier Derby Eve Party with a Purpose, The Julep Ball is held annually on the evening before the Kentucky Derby and supports the work of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville. The event on May 2 at the KFC Yum! Center kicks off with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner and a live auction at 8 p.m.

An Official Event of the 140th Kentucky Derby®, The Julep Ball provides a celebrity-studded night to remember with a multi-course seated dinner, a knock-your-socks-off auction, multiple open specialty bars, complimentary valet parking, and dancing until the wee hours of Derby morning. Tickets for the full evening of entertainment are sold out but a limited number of dance-only tickets at $100 per person are still available. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website,

About Chuck Wicks:

On his new single that is rising the charts, “Us Again,” Chuck Wicks is clearly in the zone. The story of a couple who long to return to a time when loving each other was easy, the song also marks the return to the country charts for the Delaware farm boy.

“It’s a unique love song,” says Wicks, who co-wrote the hit with Andy Dodd and Tiffany Vartanyan. “It’s one of those things we all go through. When you first meet that someone who is really special, the first three to four months are flawless. Every day is a honeymoon. But as time goes on and life starts to happen, you can forget what it’s like and lose that spark.”

Now signed to Blaster Records, Wicks, who moonlights as a morning personality on NASH-FM’s popular America’s Morning Show (“I love speaking the language of country music and this gives me the chance to do that every day,” he says), has discovered his own creative fire.

After the breakout success of his 2007 debut single “Stealing Cinderella,” which hit the Top 5 on the Billboard country chart and marked the biggest single for any new country artist in 2007, the pristine-voiced singer actively took a step back and committed himself to songwriting. Freshly inspired, he’s readying his latest album, the follow-up to 2008’s Starting Now, which peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard country albums chart.

“I’m a lot more comfortable with who I am,” he says. “I feel like I’ve figured out who I am as a songwriter, as a singer, as an artist. I know where my pocket is.”

The upcoming album, co-produced by Chuck, will include all of the tracks from his EP Rough, a recent collection of songs that showcased Chuck’s lived-in sound.

“From Starting Now to today, I’ve grown so much as a writer and a performer,” says Wicks, who has performed in every state in the continental United States. “Releasing your first single on a major label is a lot to navigate, especially if you’ve never done it. I got thrown out on a huge tour with Brad Paisley and went from playing conference rooms with two guitar players to playing Denver, Colorado, my first big show in an arena.

“Grow up, have a family and work 9 to 5: That’s what most everybody sees in their future,” Wicks says. “I feel so lucky to do something different and special.”


About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center:

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is a key component of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. As part of the region's leading academic, research and teaching health center, the cancer center provides the latest medical advances to patients, often long before they become available in non-teaching settings. The JGBCC is a part of KentuckyOne Health and is affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program. It is the only cancer center in the region to use a unified approach to cancer care, with multidisciplinary teams of physicians working together to guide patients through diagnosis, treatment and recovery. For more information, visit our web site,

The Julep Ball is sponsored in part by Advanced Cancer Therapeutics, Ashton Advertising, Bob Montgomery Dixie Honda, Boutique Serendipity, The Dahlem Company, Dillards, Enterprise, Headz Salon, Heaven Hill, Hubbuch & Co., InGrid Design, Jaust Consulting Partners, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, KentuckyOne Health, Kroger, Louisville Magazine, Maker’s Mark, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, Morgan Stanley, MPI Printing, Nfocus, Old 502 Winery, Power Creative, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, WAKY and WHAS11.

Department shows well at 2013 Research!Louisville

Department shows well at 2013 Research!Louisville

Swapna Dharashivkar, M.D., of the U of L Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Diabetes accepts the School of Medicine Clinical Research Fellow Award at Research!Louisville 2013.

Several members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine placed well at the recent 2013 Research!Louisville competitions, held in conjunction with the event's 18th annual showcase of health/life sciences research conducted at the U of L Clinical and Translational Research Building.

A panel of U of L faculty judges selected the winners of this year's contest from more than 300 entries in the categories of professional/clinical students, basic science grad students, postgraduates and faculty.

Here's a look at finished at or near the top in their respective categories:

Master's Basic Science Graduate Student Award

1st Place

Doctoral Basic Science Graduate Student Award

1st Place

National Cancer Institute Outstanding Cancer Research Presentation Award Professional Student Category

2nd Place

3rd Place

National Cancer Institute Outstanding Cancer Research Presentation Award Undergraduate Student Category

1st Place

Michael K. Tanner Memorial Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Sciences

School of Medicine Clinical Research Fellow Award

Wallace H. Coulter Translational Partnership Faculty Award for Translational Science

U of L awarded $14.4 million to develop tobacco regulatory science

Researcher will oversee another $8.9 million as co-director of American Heart Association center.
U of L awarded $14.4 million to develop tobacco regulatory science

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., and Sanjay Srivastava, Ph.D. of the University of Louisville Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

The University of Louisville has been awarded a total of $14.4 million and a U of L researcher will oversee another $8.9 million to help shape the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products as they are regulated by the FDA under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

The total amount awarded to and overseen by U of L is $23.3 million.

An inter-agency partnership of the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration has awarded $3.7 million to Sanjay Srivastava, Ph.D., professor of medicine and Distinguished University Scholar at U of L, to study what, exactly, in tobacco products causes atherosclerosis with the goal of determining how the content of these constituents could be regulated in tobacco products.

Another $10.7 million from the NIH/FDA partnership is to develop the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center (A-TRAC) for multidisciplinary research to help shape the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products as they are regulated by the FDA.

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center and the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine at U of L, will co-direct the center.

The $10.7 million award is part of a $19.6 million grant to create the A-TRAC. The remainder of the award from the NIH/FDA – $8.9 million – will go to Boston University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Wake Forest University and the University of Mississippi.

"These two grants bring together investigators from across the country to conduct research that will greatly increase the available knowledge on tobacco and its causative role in cardiovascular disease across the full spectrum of basic and applied research," U of L President James R. Ramsey said. "The University of Louisville is both proud and well-positioned to help lead this effort."