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

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

Mary Koutourousiou, M.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Accelerated rural medical education program graduates first physician

Ashley Flanary Jessup, 24, intends to return to practice in hometown Benton, Ky.
Accelerated rural medical education program graduates first physician

Ashley Jessup, M.D.

Ashley Flanary Jessup always wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. She just never imagined that along the way she would blaze a new trail for medical education in Kentucky. Growing up in the small rural town of Benton, Ky., Jessup didn’t fit the typical demographic for a medical school candidate. But she held on to her dream and now, at age 24, that determination has paid off.

When Jessup received her medical degree in June, the University of Louisville celebrated not only her success, but a historic first when Jessup became the first person to graduate the School of Medicine’s Rural Medical Accelerated Track program, or RMAT. This new program enables students to finish medical school in three years, reducing cost and time commitments for rural students who plan to open practices in small towns in Kentucky.

Rural doctors are desperately needed in the United States. Nationwide, 20 percent of the U.S. population is living in small towns or far away from big cities, but only 9 percent of physicians practice in those rural areas. Family doctors are distributed more evenly, with 22 percent practicing outside large cities, but the need is still greater. Proponents of the RMAT hope that more successes like Jessup’s will pave the way for more doctors to go where they are needed.

William Crump, M.D., associate dean of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, says that outcome is likely, considering Kentucky’s numbers. He stressed that “most of the counties in Kentucky that are underserved are only underserved by an average of 1.5 full-time equivalent positions. This means that placing one more physician permanently in a county may move it from being an underserved to an adequately served county.”

The idea for an accelerated medical track gained national attention in 2006 with an essay by the editor of Academic Medicine, an internationally renowned medical journal. The essay made the case that financial barriers may keep many students coming from families with more modest incomes—the ones most likely to choose a rural medical path—from considering medical school. At the same time, a strategic planning process by Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians supported a proposal for a three-year track to rural practice. The University of Louisville began the planning process in 2009.

Crump says the RMAT program will definitely help Kentucky’s shortage of doctors and healthcare providers in rural areas. In his opinion, “The best way to get a doctor to a rural area is to get a medical student from a rural area.” The program channels students from small towns that truly want to study family medicine, and then keeps them in that channel.

Students in RMAT have the same required curriculum as traditional four-year medical students, but the lens in which they filter the material is focused on a rural practice, and undertaken in a condensed amount of time.  It begins with a four-week experience in a rural community practice, and students must complete their capstone, a family medicine clerkship at the end of their final year.

Jessup says the program was fast-paced, but manageable. “At first glance, it sounds overwhelming, but if you take things one step at a time, it isn’t.” In fact, Jessup was able to find the time to get married during her time in the RMAT program. She says the biggest advantage of the program was the financial aspect. “One less year of school means one less year of tuition, and I was finished one year sooner,” she said.

Denying the label of a trailblazer, Jessup gives the credit to others. “I would consider all of the faculty and staff who envisioned the program as the trailblazers,” she said. “They laid the plans for me and made it all possible.”  She simply says she worked hard and did what every other medical student does—just in a smaller amount of time. She views herself as just another kid who dreamed of becoming a doctor, and hopes that more will follow in her footsteps at UofL.

Crump says students who have chosen to take the accelerated path have done very well with the course load despite initial fears to the contrary. “Even though the program is stressful and does not leave much wiggle room, students who are focused and efficient will succeed,” he says.

Two second-year medical students are currently taking part in the RMAT program and Crump says several first-year students have expressed an interest in the program.

In Crump’s view, the RMAT program has had an amazing start. “I tend to think of it as my ‘baby’,” he says. “When we started in 2006, we had a vision, and we have seen that vision come true. We have overcome the doubters and the skeptics.”

Jessup says she is proof of the RMAT program’s success. With her successful graduation from UofL’s program, Jessup hopes to return to her hometown of Benton to begin her practice after her residency in Madisonville. She says she is very excited to have the chance to make a difference in her community, and is optimistic about the program’s future. “We wanted to make the RMAT successful, and we all worked together to make it happen.”

UofL ophthalmology researcher named chair of NIH study section

Group reviews research grant applications for scientific merit
UofL ophthalmology researcher named chair of NIH study section

Maureen McCall, Ph.D.

A professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the University of Louisville School of Medicine has been named chair of a panel that reviews research grant applications, helping determine which are worthy for support from the National Institutes of Health.

Maureen McCall, Ph.D., has been named chair of the 20-member Neurotransporters, Receptors and Calcium Signaling Study Section of the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review. She is the only Kentuckian on the panel, which has representatives from universities in 14 states. Her term begins this month (August 2014) and will conclude in 2016.

The Center for Scientific Review is the gateway for NIH grant applications and their review for scientific merit. It recruits and organizes scientists into 174 study sections to review applications for funding made to the NIH.

Each study section has a precise focus so that applications receive expert reviews to help the NIH identify the most promising research. The Neurotransporters, Receptors and Calcium Signaling Study Section reviews studies that investigate signal transduction pathways in neurons, muscles and other excitable cells – those that can be stimulated to create an electric current.

McCall holds joint appointments as professor in the Departments of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology and Psychological and Brain Sciences. She came to UofL in 1997.

The author of approximately 60 journal articles, McCall uses electrophysiological techniques in her research to evaluate normal retinal function, dysfunction caused by blinding retinal diseases, and the restoration of function using a variety of therapeutic strategies. Particular areas of emphasis are in the study of retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and congenital stationary night blindness.

Bhatnagar leads group developing first policy statement on e-cigarettes

Bhatnagar leads group developing first policy statement on e-cigarettes

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D.

A University of Louisville professor chaired a 10-member American Heart Association panel of experts in formulating the association’s first-ever policy statement on e-cigarettes.

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine and director of the UofL Diabetes and Obesity Center, is lead author of the statement as published in the journal CirculationAug. 24.

While much is still unknown about the rapidly growing electronic cigarette industry, e-cigarettes are dangerous because they target young people, can keep people hooked on nicotine, and threaten to “re-normalize” tobacco use, according to the policy statement.

The battery-powered e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are tobacco products and should be subject to all laws that apply to these products, according to recommendations in the policy statement. The association also calls for strong new regulations to prevent access, sales and marketing of e-cigarettes to youth, and for more research into the product’s health impact.

“People need to know that e-cigarettes are unregulated and there are many variables that we don’t know about them,” Bhatnagar said. “Recent studies raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation’s youth, and could re-normalize smoking in our society.”

Manufacturers present e-cigarettes as “cool and sexy and acceptable, which is a problem because you’re increasing addiction,” Bhatnagar said. Companies also use terms like “vaping” rather than smoking to gain public acceptance and try to break the connection between e-cigarettes and traditional, “combustible” cigarettes, he added.

In April the Food and Drug Administration proposed rules banning the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 and subjecting the $2 billion industry to federal regulation for the first time. Such rules had been long sought by the AHA and other organizations.

The FDA’s proposal fell short of what was hoped for by the AHA and other public health advocates, however, because it did not go far enough in limiting online sales, advertising and flavored products, all tactics used to make e-cigarettes appealing to young people.

Liquid nicotine used by e-cigarettes comes in many flavors like bubble gum, caramel, chocolate, fruit and mint, all attractive to young people, and many brands use colorful, candy-like packaging.

“That’s an unfortunate trend, to make them palatable and attractive to children,” Bhatnagar said.

Breast radiation trial provides more convenience, better compliance, lowered cost and patient outcomes on par with current treatment

UofL researcher finds once-weekly regimen successful with no adverse effects
Breast radiation trial provides more convenience, better compliance, lowered cost and patient outcomes on par with current treatment

Anthony E. Dragun, M.D.

An experimental regimen of once-weekly breast irradiation following lumpectomy provides more convenience to patients at a lower cost, results in better completion rates of prescribed radiation treatment, and produces cosmetic outcomes comparable to the current standard of daily radiation.

These interim results of the 5-year Phase II clinical trial using the experimental regimen were presented Sept. 4 at the Breast Cancer Symposium 2014 in San Francisco by Anthony E. Dragun, M.D., vice chair and associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Louisville.

Dragun, a radiation oncologist with University of Louisville Physicians, launched the trial three years ago at UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health and the only site offering the experimental regimen in the United States. A second KentuckyOne Health site is being planned, he said, and is expected to begin enrolling patients this autumn.

Reviewing data from Europe – the United Kingdom in particular – Dragun found an alternative to the currently standard daily radiation treatments prescribed to patients after a lumpectomy. Physicians in the U.K. and other European countries were reporting excellent results with a regimen of radiation administered once-weekly.

“Instead of daily treatments for 25-30 days, five to six treatments administered once each week were being used,” he said. “I thought this regimen would give our patients here in Kentucky a great deal of access and choice, so we developed the trial and launched it in 2011.”

Approximately 150 female patients have been enrolled in the trial thus far, he said. Patients undergoing a lumpectomy following diagnosis of breast cancer are given a choice of the current standard of daily radiation treatments or the option to enroll in the trial and receive treatment one time per week.

The radiation dosing has been calibrated to compensate for the change in how the treatments are administered, but no adverse effects have been seen, Dragun said. “The outcomes with once-weekly treatments are absolutely in line with what we see in daily breast irradiation,” he said. “The standard of care is maintained.”

Giving women the choice of how their treatment is administered means more women complete their treatment, he said. “Finding time for daily treatments for 6 weeks or more just isn’t possible for many women,” Dragun said. “Scheduling once-weekly treatments is much easier to fit into the busy lives our patients lead.

“We also see many patients who depend on public transportation or live in rural areas that are 30 miles or more from our center, and they have told us that they would not have been able to complete a traditional course of daily radiation treatment.  Their only alternative would be a mastectomy,” he said.

Because radiation treatment is reimbursed on a per-treatment basis, Dragun said the overall cost is lowered. “We have reduced the number of treatments to about one-fourth to one-third of what the current daily treatment regimen is,” he said. “Medicare reimburses radiation costs on a per-treatment basis, and most private insurers do likewise.

“This means we’ve been able to reduce the cost by 50 to 60 percent without jeopardizing the quality of care.”

Dragun plans to enroll another 50 patients at the Louisville site and 30 at the future trial site. After the completion of this trial, he intends to expand into a multi-center Phase III trial at facilities in other states.

“We believe the once-weekly regimen such as this will become a standard option in the next decade,” he said.

 

 

 

 

UofL pediatric spinal cord injury research program garners significant support

The Helmsley Charitable Trust provides $1.5 million grant
UofL pediatric spinal cord injury research program garners significant support

Andrea Behrman, Ph.D.

At three months of age, Emmalie Smith suffered a spinal cord injury leaving her paralyzed. Her parents, Amy and Bryce, took her to traditional physical and occupational therapy three times a week with the hope that their little girl would regain her ability to move.

Amy says the results were underwhelming, with Emmalie using her forehead to activate a motorized wheelchair.

Unsatisfied with that as an option, Amy contacted the University of Louisville and Andrea Behrman, Ph.D., who had brought to UofL her research into the use of Locomotor Training to provide better rehabilitation to children with paralysis from spinal cord injuries.

Nine months after the intense physical therapy at the Frazier Rehab Institute, a part of KentuckyOne Health, Emmalie was able to better move her arms, roll over and come to sit in bed, and use a manual wheelchair. After her most recent work with Behrman and the pediatric team, the now 4-year-old from Brighton, Mich., is beginning to stand. With an injury at such a very young age, these are new experiences in Emmalie’s growth and development.

“This has made a tremendous difference in Emmalie’s life,” Amy said. “Her core strength is to where she is able to sit on her own and doesn’t need a chest belt. She’s able to get herself around and is much more independent. Working with Dr. Behrman and her team has had a huge impact on Emmalie and our entire family.”

More children like Emmalie will be able to benefit from Behrman’s groundbreaking efforts, thanks to a three-year, $1.5 million grant provided by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

“The work of Dr. Behrman and her team is a perfect example of the goal of every researcher at the UofL Health Sciences Center -- transforming peoples’ lives through creating and translating into actions new knowledge about how to prevent, treat and cure medical issues,” said James R. Ramsey, Ph.D., president of the University of Louisville, in announcing the grant at a news conference today (Sept. 4). “We are very excited and grateful that the Helmsley Charitable Trust shares our vision and is providing significant support to help us achieve this ambitious objective.”

To date, the Helmsley Charitable Trust has provided nearly $16.5 million to support UofL researchers investigating both cancer prevention and cures and rehabilitation efforts for adults and children who are paralyzed.

“Dr. Behrman’s work has the potential to be truly transformative for adults and children who are affected by paralysis -- not just in Louisville and Kentucky, but around the world.” said John Codey, a trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust.  “With this latest grant that is focused on treating pediatric spinal cord injuries, the Trust is thrilled to build upon our relationship with UofL’s world-class team of researchers, who continue to break new ground in the quest to understand and solve some of the most critical medical challenges that we face today.”

“The importance of support from our partners cannot be over-emphasized,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., UofL executive vice president for health affairs. “The current research funding environment does not guarantee that projects like Dr. Behrman’s will receive support from the typical funding agencies. We are extremely grateful that the Helmsley Charitable Trust recognizes that the work taking place at the University of Louisville has the significant potential to change the lives of children throughout the world.”

Behrman, professor of neurosurgery and director of the UofL Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric Neurorecovery, is a pioneer in the use of Locomotor Training in children. The intense physical therapy regime was developed by Behrman and fellow UofL faculty member Susan J. Harkema, Ph.D., professor of neurological surgery and the Owsley B. Frazier Chair in Neurological Rehabilitation at UofL and the Rehabilitation Research Director of the UofL Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center.

Locomotor Training allows individuals with certain kinds of spinal cord injuries to repetitively practice standing and stepping using body weight support and a treadmill with manual facilitation from therapists and technicians. The ultimate goal is to re-train patients with spinal cord injuries to sit independently, stand and walk again. Further benefits including improved respiration, bladder control, and sensation have made a significant impact on the quality of life for children. Behrman’s goal is to help children who not only have spinal cord injuries, but also conditions such as head trauma and tumors.

“The generous support we are receiving from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will enable our team to develop equipment that better fits children as they participate in Locomotor Training,” Behrman said. “Also, we now will be able to develop a systematic database for immediate and long-term outcomes for the children who are participating in our program. We also will gain a better understanding of the value of sensory cues such as surface texture, heat/cold or vibrations and their potential impact on the child’s rehabilitation effort.”

Emmalie Smith, 4, patient of Andrea Behrman (2014)

Emmalie Smith, 4
Emmalie Smith, 4, patient of Andrea Behrman (2014)
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UofL's James Graham Brown Cancer Center earns 3-year accreditation from American College of Radiology

UofL's James Graham Brown Cancer Center earns 3-year accreditation from American College of Radiology

The radiation oncology department at the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center, part of KentuckyOne Health, has been awarded another three-year term of accreditation in radiation oncology by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

The ACR is the nation’s oldest and most widely accepted radiation oncology accrediting body, with more than 600 accredited sites and 27 years of accreditation history. The accreditation is awarded only to facilities that meet the ACR's specific practice guidelines and technical standards following a peer-review evaluation by board-certified radiation oncologists and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Patient care and treatment, patient safety, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs also are assessed by the ACR prior to accreditation.

The radiation oncology department has six board-certified physicians working with board-certified radiation therapists, a team of oncology nurses and a dosimetrist - the professional who determines how to deliver prescribed radiation treatment to a patient - among others.

“Our hospital, doctors and staff work extremely hard to make sure that we are doing everything we can to provide the best outcomes for our patients,” said Donald Miller, M.D., cancer center director. “Continued recognition from the American College of Radiology is an important confirmation that we continue to lead the way in cancer care in the region.”

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center opened on the UofL health sciences campus in 1981 with a $12 million gift from the James Graham Brown Foundation and the citizens of Louisville with a mission of relieving the pain and suffering caused by cancer in Kentucky. The center is a partnership between UofL and KentuckyOne Health and offers robust clinical and basic science research programs. Combining these research elements in a treatment environment provides the best opportunity for discovery of new techniques and therapies for the benefit of patients. It has been ranked as one of the best cancer care hospitals in Kentucky for 2014-15 by U.S. News & World Report, which recognizes hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients.

UofL's James Graham Brown Cancer Center is located at 529 S. Jackson St. For information, call 502-562-4158 or toll-free at 1-866-530-5516.

Research!Louisville focuses on research at Louisville Medical Center, Sept. 16-19

Research!America president to speak on federal funding for research
Research!Louisville focuses on research at Louisville Medical Center, Sept. 16-19

Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America

Research in cancer biology, spinal cord injury, birth defects, circulatory support devices and more will highlight Research!Louisville 2014, Sept. 16-19 at various locations in the Louisville Medical Center.

Now in its 19th year, Research!Louisville annually features reports on the latest research underway at the institutions and organizations in the medical center and is sponsored by the University of Louisville; University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Foundation, all part of KentuckyOne Health; and Norton Healthcare.

Also included will be addresses from two internationally known leaders in medical research:

  • Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, Alexandria, Va., will address “Your Role in Changing Hearts and Minds for Science” at 2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18, in Room 101/102 of the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research (KCCTR) building, 505 S. Hancock St. Woolley will discuss the impact of a polarized Congress on federal health research agency budgets, share public opinion poll data and provide insights on how to effectively communicate with policy makers, the public and the media about research during an election year.
  • Stefano Bonassi, Ph.D., head of the Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology Area of Systems Approaches and Non-Communicable Diseases of the Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Rome, will speak on “From Exposure Assessment to P4 Medicine” at 1:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, in Room 101/102 of the KCCTR. “P4 Medicine” is a term coined by biologist Leroy Hood, M.D., Ph.D., and is short for "Predictive, Preventive, Personalized and Participatory Medicine." The premise of P4 medicine is that, over the next 20 years, medical practice will be revolutionized by biotechnology, to manage a person's health instead of a person’s disease. Bonassi will discuss the scientific and clinical features of several systems medicine platforms.

Featured reports on ongoing research in Louisville include:

  • Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Symposium: 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 16, 101/102 KCCTR – Translational research results on the discovery of novel cancer targets and the development of cancer therapeutics. Chief presenter: Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., Deputy Director, University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health
  • Recovery and Repair After Spinal Cord Injury: 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 16, 101/102 KCCTR – Issues critical to rehabilitation after spinal cord injury and strategies employed by the UofL Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric Neurorecovery, Frazier Rehab Institute and Robley Rex VA Medical Center. Presenters: David S.K. Magnuson, Ph.D.; Dena Howland, Ph.D.; and Andrea Behrman, Ph.D., all of the UofL Department of Neurosurgery
  • Molecular Determinants of Birth Defects: 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 101/102 KCCTR – Research supported by the UofL Center of Biomedical Research Excellence with the goal of illuminating the molecular etiologies of developmental defects and disabilities. Presenters: Jun Cai, Ph.D., UofL School of Medicine; Lisa Sandell, Ph.D., UofL School of Dentistry; and Rachel Neal, Ph.D., UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences
  • Symposium: Intravital Imaging and Diseased States: 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 18, 101/102 KCCTR – Use of state-of-the-art imaging techniques to track biological process in normal, diseased and damaged tissue. Presenters: Bart Borghuis, Ph.D, UofL Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, and Lacey McNally, Ph.D., UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health
  • Community Engagement and Engaged Scholarship: 3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18, 101/102 KCCTR – Four 15-20 minute presentations by faculty from the UofL Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences and UofL’s Kent School of Social Work followed by a panel discussion moderated by Erica R.H. Sutton, M.D., UofL Department of Surgery. Presenters: Vicki P. Hines-Martin, Ph.D., R.N., School of Nursing; Monica L. Wendel, Dr.P.H., School of Public Health and Information Sciences; and Riaan van Zyl, Ph.D., and Cheri Langley, Ph.D., both of Kent School of Social Work
  • Clinical Translation of Mechanical Circulatory Support Devices for Treatment of Advanced Heart Failure: 10 a.m., Friday, Sept. 19, 101/102 KCCTR – Novel experimental models and innovative approaches for treating advanced heart failure. Presenters: Steven Koenig, Ph.D., UofL Speed School of Engineering; Guruprasad Giridharan, Ph.D., Cardiovascular Innovation Institute (CII), a joint initiative of UofL and Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare; Yu Wang, Ph.D., UofL Speed School of Engineering; Leslie Sherwood, D.V.M., CII and UofL Research Resource Facilities; Gretel Monreal, Ph.D., UofL Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery; Kevin Soucy, Ph.D., UofL Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery; and Mike Sobieski, R.N., CII

Other reports focused on research practice will be:

  • Are We There Yet? Personal Reflection on Community-Based Participatory/Translational Research: 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 101/102 KCCTR – Perspectives from Ida Johnson-Spruill, Ph.D., R.N., of the Medical University of South Carolina whose research interests include chronic disease management, genetic literacy and reducing health disparities among vulnerable populations
  • Auditing of Clinical Trials – GCP and Billing, a GEAR (Gaining Essentials About Research) symposium presented by Norton University and Norton Healthcare Office of Research Administration: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18, Cranmer Auditorium, Norton Healthcare Pavilion, 315 E. Broadway – The combined auditing of clinical trials for both good clinical practice (GCP) and billing compliance leading to capitalization of revenue and ensuring principal investigators and research teams are following GCP guidelines. Presenters: Kelly M. Willenberg, principal of Research Compliance Advocates LLC, Chesnee, S.C., and Kathleen Hurtado, president and CEO of Health Research Association, Los Angeles
  • Super Hero Evidence: Does Your Literature Have the Strength to Support Your Practice Change? Offered twice from 7:30 a.m.-noon and again from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, Rudd Heart and Lung Conference Center, Jewish Hospital, 201 Abraham Flexner Way – An overview of evidence-based practice with a focus on establishing the worth of a study through the critical appraisal process. Organizer: Reeta Stikes, KentuckyOne Health

Also on tap will be scientific poster presentations by summer interns of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and UofL graduate students, postgraduates, fellows and faculty. Poster presentation awards will be announced at 1 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, in 101/102 KCCTR.

Admission to Research!Louisville is free. For information, contact Bonnie Dean, 502-852-2647 or bonnie.dean@louisville.edu.

 

Bone marrow registration drive scheduled Sept. 16-18 at UofL

Set for Sept. 16-17 at the HSC, Sept. 18 on the Belknap campus
Bone marrow registration drive scheduled Sept. 16-18 at UofL

Owen is second from left in this portrait of the McMasters family.

The University of Louisville will host a bone marrow drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday (Sept. 16 and 17) on the Health Sciences Center campus in the courtyard between Kornhauser Library and Medical School Instructional Building B, and Thursday (Sept. 18) in the Swain Student Activities Center on the Belknap campus.

The drive is being held to highlight the ever-present need for bone marrow donations for patients such as Owen McMasters, the 15-year-old son of Kelly McMasters, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the UofL Department of Surgery. Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) three years ago, Owen now needs a bone marrow transplant to fight the disease, requiring a donor with similar genetic composition.

The McMasters family has teamed up with Sharing America’s Marrow to host the donor registration events at UofL.  All it takes to sign up to the national marrow donor registry is completion of a short consent form and a cheek swab, which determines donor/recipient matches. Registrants must be between the ages of 18 and 55 and meet other requirements.

The entire registration process takes about 5 minutes and those who sign up could be the cure for Owen or for the thousands of patients like him who are fighting blood cancers.

For more information on the bone marrow donation process, visit https://www.deletebloodcancer.org/en/faq or contact sam@sharemarrow.com.

For information about Owen and his fight against ALL, “like” the Owen’s Wish page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OwensWish.

UofL medical student earns national award

UofL medical student earns national award

Mickey Ising

Mickey Ising, a student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and a two-time graduate of the UofL J.B. Speed School of Engineering, is one of 21 fourth-year medical students throughout the nation to earn an American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation Physicians of Tomorrow Award.

Ising was selected to receive this $10,000 national scholarship recognizing academic achievement. After graduating from Elizabethtown (Ky.) High School in 2005, he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bioengineering at UofL. He works at the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute at the UofL Health Sciences Center developing and evaluating medical devices and novel therapeutic techniques. Ising has authored eight manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals and is vice president of the UofL School of Medicine Class of 2015.

Recipients were nominated by their medical schools and chosen based upon academic achievement and financial need.  The AMA Foundation has awarded over $61 million in scholarships to deserving medical students since 1950.

The AMA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation, is dedicated to improving public health by raising funds and providing philanthropic support to high-impact health and medical scholarship programs. Visit www.amafoundation.orgto join the AMA Foundation in improving the health of Americans.

UofL Physicians ALS Clinic named Recognized Treatment Clinic

UofL to launch ALS research program
UofL Physicians ALS Clinic named Recognized Treatment Clinic

UofL President James Ramsey has kicked off the new UofL ALS research fund with a personal donation of $10,000.

The University of Louisville Physicians ALS Clinic, located at Frazier Rehab Institute, part of KentuckyOne Health, was named a Recognized Treatment Clinic by The ALS Association on Tuesday, Sept. 16. The clinic is one of 50 in the United States to earn such a designation.

The designation follows a rigorous clinical and administrative review by the association and a vote of its board. Earning the recognition means the clinic meets a national standard of quality and implements best-practice care for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

In addition to celebrating the designation, the University of Louisville announced the establishment of a research fund to further the activities of the clinic as it pursues its goal of becoming a Certified Center for Excellence. Dr. James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville, kicked off the new UofL ALS research fund with a personal donation of $10,000, which he announced at the news conference Tuesday.

“For me, ALS is personal,” Ramsey said. “My mother-in-law passed away from ALS, and developing this clinic and an ALS research program at UofL has been a goal of mine for a long time. I hope others will choose to donate to UofL’s ALS research program as well so we might help find the cause and a cure for this devastating disease.”

Ramsey made his donation as part of the “ice bucket challenge” that has swept the nation since July and greatly raised awareness of ALS and contributions to ALS research. He participated in the challenge on Aug. 28 on the UofL Health Sciences Campus. (Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3im8sWo1R3g&feature=youtu.be)

On Tuesday, The ALS Association’s Kentucky Chapter also presented the UofL Physicians ALS Clinic with a $10,000 check.

“We are proud to present this one-time donation to the UofL Physicians ALS Clinic, which is made possible by a gift from Heaven Hill Distilleries through the sale of Parker’s Heritage bourbon to help us continue to fulfill our three mission priorities, one of which is to expand our care services,” said Mari Bacon, executive director of the chapter.

Parker’s Heritage Collection bourbon is named for Parker Beam, a sixth-generation master distiller for Heaven Hill who has ALS. As a way to help The ALS Association raise funds to find a cure, Heaven Hill donates a portion from the sale of every bottle to The ALS Association.

Recognition process

The ALS Association’s Certified Center Program – which includes Recognized Treatment Clinics and Certified Centers of Excellence – selects, recognizes and supports distinguished institutions recognized as the best in the field when it comes to knowledge, skill and experience with ALS; access to care; and neurological diagnostics and imaging. Recognized Treatment Clinics must also have an on-site designated multidisciplinary team.

Other requirements to become a Recognized Treatment Clinic are serving a number of patients living with ALS, and an ongoing relationship with the local chapter to provide programs to assist those with ALS and their families. The primary goal of the ALS recognition process is to ensure each patient receives the best evidence-based care closely linked to positive outcomes.

The designation confirms to patients and families, as well as government institutions and other key stakeholders, the validity and comprehensiveness of the UofL Physicians program.

“We are honored to recognize the University of Louisville Physicians ALS Clinic for the staff’s expertise, and for all they have done and are continuing to do for patients living with the disease,” said Shawn Mullennex, president of the board for The ALS Association’s Kentucky Chapter. “Becoming a Recognized Treatment Clinic is not easy to achieve, and patients who come to the UofL Physicians clinic can feel confident that they are receiving the best care possible, in a compassionate and caring environment.”

Mullennex presented clinic director Dr. Martin Brown with a plaque designating the UofL Physicians ALS Clinic as an ALS Recognized Treatment Clinic, a goal that was years in the making. Brown was joined by Dr. Kerri Remmel, chief of vascular neurology at University of Louisville Physicians, and Randy Napier, president of Frazier Rehab Institute, in receiving the plaque.

Lisa Shannon, chief operating officer of KentuckyOne Health, said the UofL Physicians ALS Clinic at Frazier Rehab “is indeed yet another example of the partnership between UofL, Frazier Rehab and KentuckyOne Health to advance medical care and research in the Commonwealth.”

“It is our mission to bring wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved. The ALS clinic and the research that will be done here is part of that mission, and I want to emphasize the word ‘hope,’” Shannon said. “ALS is a devastating disease. But through research, there is hope. Hope for better care and advancements in treatment that can improve quality of life for these patients, and maybe one day find a cure.”

Napier added “We are honored to be the home of the ALS Clinic and the physicians, staff and researchers that will work with us every day to make a difference in the lives of the patients and their families who entrust us for care. The Frazier Rehab team that cares for ALS patients is an incredibly dedicated group of professionals – from physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to psychology, pulmonary rehab and case management.”

UofL ALS research

Brown said the new UofL research program will have two components: clinical research, which includes trials of possible treatments for existing patients; and basic science research of ALS to try to determine how the disease starts and why it progresses.

“We don’t know what causes ALS, why it starts or how it spreads from one limb to another,” Brown said. “It’s hard to come up with a treatment if we don’t know the underlying cause. Our goal is to try to answer some of those questions, and give patients more hope through clinical trials that might make a difference. Research is the key to fighting ALS.”

For more on the University of Louisville Physicians ALS Clinic and the new UofL ALS research fund, visit www.uoflphysicians.com/als or email fightALS@louisville.edu.

History of the UofL Physicians ALS Clinic

UofL’s quest to serve patients with ALS started with a conversation nearly 10 years ago between Dr. Kerri Remmel, chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and UofL President Dr. James Ramsey. It was an important cause for both – for Remmel as a neurologist, and for Ramsey for his family.

Dr. Martin Brown was then hired in 2007 to help develop the clinic, and in 2011, he met with The ALS Association’s national chief of care services, Kim Maginnis, and the Kentucky Chapter’s executive director, Mari Bacon, to discuss becoming a Recognized Treatment Clinic. He had already begun seeing patients, and he and clinic coordinator Johanna Harris had started working with the association’s Kentucky care services manager, Patricia Peak.

In June 2013, the clinic became a reality, seeing patients on the sixth floor at Frazier Rehab Institute, 220 Abraham Flexner Way. On Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, the clinic became a Recognized Treatment Clinic by the ALS Association.

NIH awards grant to take aim at legal barriers that hinder genetic research

Rothstein awarded $612,000 over two years

University of Louisville law and medicine professor Mark A. Rothstein, J.D., has received a two- year $612,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to foster international collaboration on genetic research while maintaining human rights and privacy.

Rothstein is an expert on the legal and ethical issues raised by genetic research—including compiling large collections of biological specimens.

“International collaboration in genetic research is extremely valuable in advancing understanding and developing new therapies,” Rothstein said. “We need to make sure that essential privacy laws don't unnecessarily interfere with research."

Rothstein has a joint appointment at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and the School of Medicine. He holds the Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law and Medicine and is the founding director of the university’s Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law. He frequently writes and comments on issues of bioethics, genetics and health privacy.

Rothstein will conduct the research with co-investigator Bartha Maria Knoppers, a medicine professor and director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Legal experts from 26 countries will take part in the research effort.

Their findings and recommendations will take aim at removing legal impediments to international collaboration on health research and be published in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics in 2016.

Mark Rothstein

Mark Rothstein
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James Graham Brown Cancer Center becomes first site in Kentucky providing Keytruda, newly FDA-approved for advanced melanoma

James Graham Brown Cancer Center becomes first site in Kentucky providing Keytruda, newly FDA-approved for advanced melanoma

Jason A. Chesney, M.D., Ph.D.

A newly FDA-approved treatment for patients with advanced or inoperable melanoma who are no longer responding to other drugs is now available to patients at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health. As a site for Keytruda’s research clinical trial, the cancer center is the first in Kentucky to offer the drug now that it is approved.

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was given accelerated approval by the FDA Sept. 4 and is the first approved drug in the United States that blocks a cellular pathway known as PD-1, which restricts the body’s immune system from attacking melanoma cells. It is approved for use following other treatments if those treatments fail.

Melanoma accounts for approximately 5 percent of all new cancers in the United States and occurs when cancer cells form in skin cells that make the pigment responsible for color in the skin. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 76,100 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma and 9,710 will die from the disease this year.

Keytruda represents a new breed of cancer treatment, Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of the Brown Cancer Center, said. “Keytruda is designed to galvanize an immune system attack on tumors by blocking the PD-1 pathway,” he said. “Left unchecked, this pathway allows cancerous cells to pass undetected.

“The drug shows greatest promise as a combination therapy, and this approval, handed down almost two months ahead of schedule, clears the drug for use on patients with advanced skin cancers who have already taken Yervoy (ipilimumab).”

“Adding to the body of research on new, advanced treatments exemplifies the James Graham Brown Cancer Center’s leadership on a regional, and even national, level,” said Mark Milburn, vice president, oncology services, KentuckyOne Health.  “The expertise from University of Louisville partnered with the statewide reach of KentuckyOne Health helps citizens all over the Commonwealth and beyond with increased access and new hope to fight cancer.”

The FDA granted Keytruda breakthrough therapy designation because preliminary clinical evidence showed that the drug may offer a substantial improvement over available therapies. It also received priority review and orphan product designation. Priority review is granted to drugs that have the potential to be a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness in the treatment of a serious condition. Orphan product designation is given to drugs intended to treat rare diseases.

The FDA action was taken under the agency’s accelerated approval program, which allows approval of a drug to treat a serious or life-threatening disease based on clinical data showing the drug has an effect on a surrogate endpoint reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit to patients. This program provides earlier patient access to promising new drugs while the company conducts confirmatory clinical trials. An improvement in survival or disease-related symptoms has not yet been established.

Keytruda is manufactured by Merck and Yervoy is from Bristol-Myers Squibb. For information on Keytruda and its use, contact the James Graham Brown Cancer Center toll free at 1-800-333-2230 or at 502-587-4011.

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About the University of Louisville

The University of Louisville Health Sciences Center is the city’s only academic health center with approximately 1,000 faculty members 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 16 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 illness and injury. That research is translated into the clinical setting, where evidence-based medical care for patients is provided by UofL faculty through University of Louisville Physicians, our partnership with KentuckyOne Health, and in affiliations with other health systems and clinics throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana.

About KentuckyOne Health

KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems – Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center.  The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana.

UofL ribbon-cutting ceremony official opens renovated medical school instructional building

Ushering in a new era in medical education, officials with the University of Louisville School of Medicine formally celebrated the completion of a $9 million renovation of the school’s 40-year-old instructional building.

“How we educate our future physicians today barely resembles the methods we used four decades ago,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D, UofL executive vice president for health affairs. “Instruction now is much more interactive, peer-to-peer and technologically driven. While we have made ad hoc changes through the years, today we celebrate an intensive transformation of a facility that affords each of our students the opportunity to be successful in earning the privilege of providing health care to the people of Kentucky and beyond.”

“The improvements in how we educate our students demanded a significant change in our instructional spaces,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “While needing new state-of-the-art lecture halls that support active learning, we also needed smaller study spaces the that allow for small-group learning and interaction.”

In addition to creating teaching environments to support the changing instructional techniques of the program that is focused on student-led dialogue, the renovated facility makes uses of an integrated audio-visual infrastructure that allows for the seamless sharing of information from instructor to student and also from student to instructor. The smaller group study rooms have been configured to support the School of Medicine’s six internal mentoring colleges to foster the support of a community for the students as they move through their years within the school’s programs.

The technology enhancements are among the key and fundamental changes undertaken. The first-floor lecture hall houses 30 tables, seating six students each who have the ability to collaborate using their tablets or laptops to share content locally on a table-mounted monitor. The technology provides the ability to switch to any of the six student’s devices at the touch of a button on the display cable, while reviewing information sent at the selection of the facilitator on a second table mounted monitor.

All the tables have a push-to-talk microphone to facilitate student group reporting to the entire class or for asking questions. Each table has a seventh space for the faculty facilitator to “drop in” and participate in the discussion. Faculty can route student laptop or tablet presentations from their table to all of the other tables, and/or on the six high-resolution, ultra bright, large projected displays that circle the room.

Technology enhancements also have created the ability to route audio, video and presentations to 12 small group break-out rooms per floor, where students have control of a large flat-panel monitor for collaboration, and the faculty facilitator controls a second display. For offline study, students can use both displays for local presentation from their devices.

“My colleagues have shown great excitement and enthusiasm in these new spaces,” said Travis Spaulding, president of the class of 2017. “The technological capabilities of the both the classrooms and study areas allow us to collaborate and share ideas like never before. Our administration has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to providing students with the resources necessary to succeed in an era of medical education that is constantly evolving. The University of Louisville School of Medicine is certainly ahead of the curve.”

Messer Construction served as the general contractor and EOP Architects, the architects for the project.

Tse named director of bone marrow transplantation division at University of Louisville

Tse named director of bone marrow transplantation division at University of Louisville

Williams Tse, M.D.

William Tse, M.D., associate professor of medicine and eminent scholar in hematologic malignancies research at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University, has been named the new director of Bone Marrow Transplantation at the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health. Tse will join UofL Nov. 1.

Tse will hold the Marion F. Beard Endowed Chair in Hematology Research and become a member of the cancer center’s Developmental Biology Program.

“Dr. Tse is emerging as one of the thought leaders in bone marrow transplantation,” said Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the JGBCC. “He has trained and worked at several of the leading blood cancer programs in the nation. We look forward to his leading our program at UofL.”

Tse has been at West Virginia since 2009, where he also is the co-leader the Osborn Hematologic Malignancies Program. Prior to joining West Virginia, Tse was on the faculty at the University of Colorado Denver, where he was the director of translational research program for bone marrow transplantation and hematologic malignancies. He also previously was with Case Western Reserve University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington Medical Center.

Tse is active in national organizations, serving in several capacities with the American Society of Hematology, including section chair for the annual meeting’s Oncogene Section and bone marrow transplantation outcome section, as well as the American Society of Clinical Oncology as an annual meeting abstract reviewer and the section chair on geriatric oncology. Tse also serves leadership roles on several editorial boards including as the senior editor of the American Journal of Blood Research, stem cell biomarkers section editor for Biomarker Research, senior editor of the American Journal of Stem Cells and the academic editor of PLoS One.

A graduate of the Sun Yat-Sen University School of Medicine in Guangzhou, Guangdong, in China, he did a thoracic surgical oncology residency at Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center in Guangzhou before completing postdoctoral research fellowships in medical biophysics, immunology and cancer at the Princess Margaret Hospital/Ontario Cancer Institute and the Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, Canada. He completed clinical pathology and internal medicine residencies at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital before undertaking a senior medical fellowship in clinical research and medical oncology divisions at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at the University of Washington Medical Center.

Bone marrow drive nets more than 1,100 registrants

Vote online through Sept. 29 to help group compete for $50,000 grant

More than 1,100 University of Louisville students, faculty, staff and friends turned out last week to register as bone marrow donors, and both participants and non-participants in the drive can continue to support the effort.

Sharing America’s Marrow (SAM) conducted the event earlier this month on both the Health Sciences Campus and the Belknap campus, and 1,153 donors were registered as potential bone marrow donors.

“This is by far the biggest number SAM has seen in a three-day event,” said Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D., senior associate dean, statewide initiatives and outreach, School of Medicine. “We are sure many patients fighting blood cancer will have a second chance at life thanks to this effort.”

The event was held to highlight the ever-present need for bone marrow donations for patients such as Owen McMasters, the 15-year-old son of Kelly McMasters, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the UofL Department of Surgery. Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) three years ago, Owen now needs a bone marrow transplant to fight the disease, requiring a donor with similar genetic composition.

“I know our success was very special and inspiring to the McMasters family while Owen continues his search for a match,” Dunn said.

She added that SAM has been named one of the Top 10 finalists to compete for a $50,000 grant from National Geographic. The magazine’s “Expedition+Granted” contest highlights deserving nonprofit efforts. The public is invited to vote for the effort they believe is the most deserving, with the winner receiving the grant.

“A grant such as this would give SAM the support to produce more drives like the one at UofL across the country, and save even more lives,” Dunn said.

One vote per person per day through Sept. 29 is allowed at http://expeditiongranted.nationalgeographic.com/project/sharing-americas-marrow-sam/.

For more information on the bone marrow donation process, visit https://www.deletebloodcancer.org/en/faq or contact sam@sharemarrow.com.

For information about Owen and his fight against ALL, “like” the Owen’s Wish page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OwensWish.

 

 

Duo explores ‘Storytelling, Cancer and Compassion’

A novelist and a scientist will combine their expertise for “Storytelling, Cancer and Compassion: A Duet Talk and Conversation” at the University of Louisville Oct. 9.

The free, public event at 11 a.m. in Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library, will feature Cornell University couple Helena Viramontes, English professor and award-winning author, and Eloy Rodriguez, James Perkins endowed professor of environmental studies.

They will discuss how storytelling is universal among cultures and over time as well as being the conduit across generations for scientific and medicinal information. Viramontes refers to curative, medicinal plants helping characters in her short story “The Moths” and novel “Under the Feet of Jesus”; as a scientist, Rodriguez found that most of those references, common in Chicano culture, extend from Aztec plant knowledge and continue to be medically viable.

The event kicks off a discussion series that inaugurates the chemistry department’s Targeting Excellence: Hispanic-Latino Student Initiative to support opportunities for students. The chemistry and English departments are sponsoring campus visits by prominent Hispanic-Latino scientists and writers, supported by UofL’s Brown & Williamson endowment for distinguished speakers.

Viramontes won the 1995 John Dos Passos Prize for Literature and numerous fellowships from groups including the National Endowment for the Arts. She is former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association and a founder of the Southern California Latino Writers and Filmmakers.

Rodriguez has been director of the National Chicano Council for Higher Education’s science fellowship program and founder of the organization Kids Investigating and Discovering Science. His research interests include plant biology, chemical ecology, medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology.

Also while at UofL, Rodriguez will speak at a chemistry seminar and Viramontes will lead a creative writing seminar.

For more information, contact GB Hammond at 502-852-5998 or gb.hammond@louisville.edu

PRIDE Blood Drive nets needed units plus call for changes in blood donation policy

PRIDE Blood Drive nets needed units plus call for changes in blood donation policy

The numbers tell the story: 25, 45, 56, 188.

Helping local blood banks rebuild their critical supplies while also drawing attention to the FDA’s lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM77), was the goal of the Health Sciences Center PRIDE Blood Drive.

During the event, the goal of 25 units was greatly surpassed with 45 units of blood provided by 56 donors, and 188 people signed a petition to abolish the FDA MSM77 blood donation deferral policy. The event was organized by the School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS), Student Government Association, UofL LGBT Center and the American Red Cross.

SPHIS Dean Craig Blakely, Ph.D., offered remarks and was the first to sign the petition. “As a leading institution of public health, we want to continuously evaluate national public health policy to optimize the ability to provide exceptional health for all of our citizens with maximum participation in the process.

“The concern and initiative that the students of the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville have shown on the MSM 77 lifetime deferral policy is an excellent example of a diverse grass-roots effort to change government policy to improve health in the United States,” Blakely said.

“This lifetime deferral unfairly stigmatizes and discriminates against a large portion of the LGBT community, and keeps many healthy would-be donors from giving blood – creating a negative impact on the nation’s blood supply,” said Dustin Scott, event organizer and a student in the SPHIS master’s in public health program. “The FDA policy, established in 1983 after the onset of the AIDS epidemic, is outdated and needs to be abolished.”

Scott gave blood on a regular basis until his status as an MSM prevented him from continuing to do so.

“My parents were once in a car accident and donated blood saved their lives. This is why I am so passionate about blood donation, and I encourage friends, colleagues, family, and even strangers to donate blood in my place,” Scott said.

Scott plans to present research along with the signed petition to the FDA. He is working with medical student Mellad Khoshnood and Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and Bioengineering George Pantalos, Ph.D., to provide an analysis of the effectiveness of the MSM blood donation ban.

The team has contacted the 20 countries that spend the most on health care per capita, and has asked for their stance on the MSM donor policy, prevalence of HIV, demographics of those affected, frequency of transfusion of HIV infections, blood screening processes and changes made to their MSM donor policy in the past 10 years.

“We are learning that countries such as the United Kingdom have modified bans, meaning that after an individual engages in risky sexual activity, they are deferred from donating blood for one year to allow for diseases that have prolonged dormant periods to present. We support that,” Scott said. “Our petition to the FDA asks them to rescind the lifetime deferral policy for a more reasonable policy that will permit healthy gay men to contribute to the needs of our society as blood donors.”

“At the LGBT Center, we love connecting students, faculty and the community around us to emerging health issues like this one, and bridging classroom topics with real-world issues. The HSC PRIDE student group expands our capacity to raise awareness and make novel connections to health issues spanning our various disciplines. I’m excited to see them fostering such interprofessional connections and engaging the community,” said Stacie Steinbock, director, LGBT Center Health Science Center satellite office.

 

University of Louisville institute focuses on sustainable health and optimal aging

The societal phenomenon known as the Baby Boom has impacted every aspect of life since it first burst on the scene following World War II. As these people reach what had been called their senior years, their effect on aging and expectations of older citizens is no less dramatic.

Understanding these societal implications, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees recently created the UofL Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging.

“Through this institute, the University of Louisville will grow the knowledge base related to the aging process, not just biologically, but also in terms of function, environment, culture and socio-economic aspects,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs at UofL. “The need for multi-disciplinary approaches to examine issues that our aging population faces is significant because no issue stands on its own; all are inter-related from a health, social science, legal and policy perspective.”

As envisioned, the institute likely will include faculty, staff and students from nearly every school and college comprising the University of Louisville, including arts and sciences, dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, public health and social work.

The growth in the population over 65 years of age is significant with more than 40 million people in the United States over the age of 65 at the time of the 2010 census. This is a 13.3 percent increase from 2000. However, that number is expected to reach nearly 72 million by 2030, an 80 percent increase over 2010. In Kentucky, the numbers are nearly as dramatic. The Commonwealth is predicted to see a 56 percent increase in people 65 and older by 2030, reaching just more than 900,000.

No less than seven national senior care companies are headquartered in Louisville. Additionally, UofL houses the Commonwealth’s only fellowship program in geriatrics and has a nationally recognized polypharmacy in the elderly education program.

“Louisville is becoming the epicenter of business activity related to the aging population and this offers significant opportunities for collaboration and partnering for the university to address education, research and advocacy programs for the elderly,” Dunn said.

Further, UofL officials have had collaborative discussions with researchers at other leading universities including Duke University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Mt. Sinai Medical Center, among others.

UofL president honored for leadership in employee health management

Ramsey given Jerry Noyce Executive Health Champion Award by Health Enhancement Research Organization
UofL president honored for leadership in employee health management

UofL President James Ramsey, center, accepts the Jerry Noyce Executive Health Champion Award.

University of Louisville President James Ramsey has won a national award for his dedication to improving health and corporate performance.

Ramsey received the award Sept. 30 at the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) forum and meeting in San Diego. The HERO Jerry Noyce Executive Health Champion Award was given to Ramsey because his “personal and professional dedication to health exemplifies what this award seeks to honor” according to Noyce, president and CEO of HERO.

The Executive Health Champion Award recognizes a person of senior leadership status who has made outstanding contributions toward the advancement of employee health management within their company. According to HERO, the award was developed to acknowledge the significant role leadership plays in establishing and maintaining a culture of health in the workplace.

Ramsey is credited with driving year-over-year success for the University’s employee wellness program, “Get Healthy Now,” which has more than 4,000 participants and has been used as a model for a statewide strategic wellness initiative called “Get Healthy Kentucky.”

“Our job as leaders is to do what is right for our employees,” Ramsey said in his acceptance speech. “This is fundamental to effective leadership. Regardless of what our financial statements say, our employees are our most valuable assets.”

Under Ramsey’s leadership, “Get Healthy Now” has helped the university reduce health care claims by $4.3 million, with program participants realizing an average claims savings of $1,300 per person (in 2012). Four years into the program, the University achieved a benefit-to-cost ratio, or return on investment, of 7.16:1.

Ramsey has also used his leadership and influence to drive improvements and growth across campus. For example, the university graduates nearly 1,000 more students each year (a 60 percent increase in its graduation rate), and has become one of America’s fastest-growing research universities, as measured by National Institutes of Health funding.

In addition to driving positive health and academic results for the University of Louisville, Ramsey’s leadership has helped UofL secure several awards and recognitions, including the Business First’s Healthiest Employer of Louisville Award, the American Heart Association Platinum Start! “Fit-Friendly employer,” and the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Worksite Wellness Award.

Ramsey was nominated for the award by Patricia Benson, director of UofL’s Get Healthy Now program. Benson credits Ramsey for the success and growth of UofL’s health and fitness initiatives for its employees—more than two thirds of the school’s employees are enrolled in the Get Healthy Now program.  “The campus community is very familiar with President Ramsey’s healthy, competitive spirit and the ripple effect it has on his closest advisors and every member of the Cardinal family,” wrote Benson is her nomination letter.

 

UofL medical student leads multi-university research effort showing cost effectiveness of bedside ultrasound in pediatric ER care

Data to be presented at national pediatrics meeting Oct. 10
UofL medical student leads multi-university research effort showing cost effectiveness of bedside ultrasound in pediatric ER care

Using a portable or bedside ultrasound machine in the pediatric emergency room has been proven to lessen the length of stay in the ER and to provide images equal in accuracy to x-ray or CT scan without exposing children to potentially harmful radiation.

A third-year medical student at the University of Louisville has now led a group of researchers from five universities in determining that bedside ultrasound is cost-effective as well.

With colleagues from Columbia University, Northwestern University, George Washington University, Jefferson Medical College and UofL, Alexander Thai will present results from the study, “Cost Effectiveness of Implementation of Point-of-Care Ultrasound in a Pediatric Emergency Department,” at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in San Diego.

Thai will make his presentation at the pre-conference Section on Emergency Medicine on Friday, Oct. 10, at 3:45 p.m. PDT.

The clinical value of bedside ultrasound – known as “point-of-care ultrasound” or POCUS – has long been established. What Thai and his colleagues, including In K. Kim, M.D., of UofL’s Department of Pediatrics Emergency Medicine Division, found is that the high-tech equipment does not have to drain resources but can, in fact, generate positive operating revenue.

Analyzing Medicaid data from Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Thai and his colleagues found that annual average costs of obtaining and using POCUS in the emergency setting total $75,240. The annual average revenue realized from the use of POCUS is $115,969, resulting in a net annual operating revenue of $40,729.

The researchers found that this net revenue can be realized using POCUS for four common pediatric procedures for which the device is indicated: examination after trauma injury, known as Focused Assessment for Sonography in Trauma or “FAST” exam; evaluation of abscesses; use of ultrasound for guidance in draining abscesses; and use of ultrasound for guidance in performing a femoral nerve block as a local anesthetic prior to surgery.

The group based their analysis on the perspective of physician fees, not facility reimbursement fees. “Facility reimbursement rates are not always consistent,” Thai said. “This is another area of interest for our team, and we are already working on it in another multi-center study.”

“It's highly unusual for a medical student to be presenting a platform presentation,” Kim said. “Approximately 90 abstracts are submitted to the section of pediatric emergency medicine each year, and only 14 are accepted for platform presentation. It's a great honor for a faculty member or fellow to be accepted at the platform level. I can't remember seeing a medical student on the platform in the past 15 years, and I don't think a medical student has ever presented who is leading a multi-center collaboration.”

Thai – who also is a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force – is enrolled in the UofL School of Medicine’s Distinction Track in Business and Leadership. Directed by Kim and Brad Sutton, M.D., the Distinction Track in Business and Leadership prepares medical students with a vital set of economic and business skills along with their medical education, integrating business instruction with the medical curriculum throughout the four years of medical school.

“Health care is a complex and dynamic field with many stakeholders and much uncertainty. Now, more than ever, health systems and providers are realigning with a renewed focus on cost reduction and improved outcomes,” said Sutton, who is assistant professor of medicine and assistant dean for health strategy and innovation and holds an MBA degree from the Carey School of Business at Johns Hopkins University. “What’s more, health providers are increasingly held accountable for outcomes and processes that are only partly in their control.”
“Historically, formal business training at the medical student level was lacking, leaving new medical school graduates ill-equipped to address the economic challenges of practicing medicine today,” said Kim, who also holds an MBA degree from UofL. “The UofL Distinction Track in Business and Leadership answers this need by providing a fundamental knowledge base that explores the intersection of business and medicine, and arms trainees with a vital skill set to succeed in our health economy.”

Working with Thai in the study from UofL in addition to Sutton and Kim are Dave McLario, M.D., Keith Cross, M.D., Fred Warkentine, M.D., and fellow medical student Nathan Wiedemann, all from the School of Medicine, and Benjamin Foster, Ph.D., professor of accounting from the College of Business.

Also part of the research team are David O. Kessler, M.D., Columbia University; Russ Horowitz, M.D., Northwestern University; Alyssa Abo, M.D., and Joanna Cohen, M.D., both of George Washington University; and Cheung Kim, M.D., of Jefferson Medical College.

October ‘Beer with a Scientist’ program looks up at the stars

October ‘Beer with a Scientist’ program looks up at the stars

Gerard Williger, Ph.D.

The October Beer with a Scientist program invites participants to look up at the night sky with a discussion on “How and where did stars form in the distant past?” presented by Gerard Williger, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Louisville. The program gets underway at 8 p.m., Oct. 15, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville.

Williger also is a visiting professor at the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute of the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, England; an adjunct faculty member in astrophysics at the Institute for Computational and Astrophysical Sciences at Catholic University of America, Washington; and a guest lecturer at the Observatory de la Côte d'Azur, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France.

Beer with a Scientist is a relaxed presentation of scientific information in language that any non-scientist will understand. The program is sponsored by Louisville Underground Science, an informally organized group made up of people who are “passionate about disseminating all things science to the general public of Louisville.”

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, contact Beer with a Scientist founder and organizer Levi Beverly, assistant professor, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology & Toxicology, at 502-852-8968 or levi.beverly@louisville.edu.

 

UofL Trover Campus wins national academic medicine award

Madisonville, Ky., campus addresses need for rural health care providers
UofL Trover Campus wins national academic medicine award

Williams J. Crump, M.D.

The Trover Campus at Baptist Health Madisonville of the University of Louisville School of Medicine will receive the 2014 Shining Star of Community Achievement award from the Group on Regional Medical Campuses of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The award will be presented today (Friday, Nov. 7) during the AAMC Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

The award is presented to a regional academic medical program that has a positive impact on the community it serves and shows success in achieving a part of the medical school’s social mission.

Begun in 1998 by UofL and the Trover Health System (now Baptist Health Madisonville) under the leadership of William J. Crump, M.D., the Trover Rural Track has several components, all with the same goal: to address the shortage of physicians in medically underserved rural areas.

More than two-thirds of Kentucky’s counties – 81 out of 120, and nearly all of them rural – are officially designated health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) for primary care by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Nationally, only about one-fourth of the United States’ 3,082 counties are wholly designated as primary care HPSAs.

Baptist Health hosts the Trover Campus in Madisonville, Ky., serving a population of 300,000 in 12 counties with a group practice of more than 75 physicians in more than 25 specialties; a 410-bed hospital with 100 physicians on staff; up-to-date diagnostic and treatment technologies; a comprehensive cancer treatment facility and more.

“The idea is simple,” said Crump, who is associate dean for the Trover Campus and co-directs the campus with Steve Fricker, director of rural health/student affairs. “The best way to get doctors to small towns is to get medical students from small towns. Our program strives to provide first-class, individualized clinical training in an environment that allows students to experience the benefits of small-town life.”

The Trover Campus sponsors High School Rural Scholar and College Rural Scholar programs that help students from the region gain admission to medical school. Summer programs in Madisonville held after students’ first year of medical school in Louisville help them stay connected to the region. A student-led free clinic at the campus provides primary care services to the area’s low-income and uninsured population while giving students valuable training as part of their medical school curriculum.

The Trover Campus’ newest component reached an important milestone in May when Ashley Jessup of Benton, Ky., became the first graduate of its Rural Medical Accelerated Track. This track enables students to finish medical school in three years, reducing both the cost and length of their education and training.

“I cannot think of a group that has developed more innovative and comprehensive programs that have positively impacted the community they serve than the Trover Campus at UofL,” said David L. Wiegman, Ph.D., associate vice president for health affairs at UofL, in making the nomination for the award. “In fact, this program that originated at a regional rural campus is now being looked at for implementation here in Louisville with a focus on the urban uninsured.”

Crump sees the goal of increasing the numbers of physicians in rural areas as challenging but achievable. “Most of the counties in Kentucky that are underserved are only underserved by an average of 1.5 full-time equivalent positions,” he said. “This means that placing just one more physician permanently in a county may move it from being an underserved to an adequately served county.”

Next UofL Beer with a Scientist program examines Ebola on Nov. 12

Next UofL Beer with a Scientist program examines Ebola on Nov. 12

Against the Grain Brewery at 401 E. Main St. is host to monthly Beer with a Scientist events.

Separating the science from the sensational is the goal of the November Beer with a Scientist program, “Ebola! What is it, how is it treated and should we be worried?” on Wednesday, Nov. 12, beginning at 8 p.m. at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St.

Speaking will be Jeremy Camp and Rachael Gerlach of University of Louisville Professor of Microbiology and Immunology Colleen Jonsson’s laboratory. The basic and translational research from this lab examines highly pathogenic RNA viruses – those capable of causing disease – including investigations of hantaviruses, influenza viruses, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus known as SARS-CoV and retroviruses.

The Beer with a Scientist program is now in its seventh month and is the brainchild of University of Louisville cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D. Once a month, the public is invited to Louisville’s Against the Grain brewpub for exactly what the title promises: beer and science.

Beverly created the monthly series as a way to connect with people who don’t have scientific backgrounds but want to know about scientific topics. “We lose sight of the fact that most people have never even met a Ph.D., never talked to one,” he said. “(However) whenever I go someplace, if I strike up a conversation at a bar and I tell someone what I do for a living, they always have questions. It leads to a whole conversation.”

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.

Kentucky receives $7 million to lead first-of-its-kind collaboration to reduce burden of lung cancer

University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Lung Cancer Alliance lead effort with grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
Kentucky receives $7 million to lead first-of-its-kind collaboration to reduce burden of lung cancer

On Nov. 12, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, and Lung Cancer Alliance announce the Kentucky LEADS (Lung Cancer. Education. Awareness. Detection. Survivorship) Collaborative, a project that will focus on reducing the burden of lung cancer in Kentucky.  Kentucky has more cases of lung cancer than any other state and its lung cancer mortality rate is nearly 50 percent higher than the national average.

The Kentucky LEADS Collaborative is a first of its kind project that brings together an interdisciplinary team of community partners and lung cancer prevention and control experts to assess novel approaches for identifying lung cancer earlier to improve survival. The project will also develop and evaluate interventions to improve quality of life and survivorship for individuals with lung cancer and their caregivers. These efforts are supported through a $7 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Bridging Cancer Care initiative.

“As Kentucky leads the nation in lung cancer mortality rates, we must step up to be a leader in finding solutions toward preventing, curing and coping with this destructive disease”, said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.  “I strongly support this collaborative, wide-ranging effort as it coincides with this administration’s KyHealthNow goals of reducing statewide cancer and smoking rates by 10 percent by 2019.  By working together, we can and will find a way to diminish the burden of this crisis in Kentucky."

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and kills more Americans than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. In Kentucky, the burden of this illness is even more dramatic and will take over 3,500 lives this year alone.

"Historically there's not been a lot of research or effort put into lung cancer survivorship because, unfortunately, there hasn't been much survivorship," said Jamie Studts, PhD, associate professor of behavioral science at the University of Kentucky and director of the Kentucky LEADS Collaborative. "This project is an effort across several domains to help providers, patients, caregivers and health care programs do the best job possible to achieve better care and increase lung cancer survivorship."

One in two patients diagnosed with lung cancer will die within a year. After five years, only 16 in 100 patients will be alive. "Those are sobering statistics,” said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “The timing of diagnosis is critical. Patients diagnosed at Stage 1 have a 57 percent chance of achieving five-year survival. That drops to 4 percent when patients have a late-stage diagnosis. Early detection and treatment of lung cancer, combined with education and patient support, is key to increased survival for patients living with lung cancer.”

The first component of the program, provider education, led by Connie Sorrell of the Kentucky Cancer Program West and Dr. Goetz Kloecker at the University of Louisville, will review the practice patterns and factors affecting referral and treatment of lung cancer patients across the state. Primary care providers play a key role in the management of lung cancer, and this component of the project will familiarize them with best practices in caring for patients who are at high risk of developing lung cancer or are diagnosed with the disease.

“It is our goal to help primary care providers throughout Kentucky to identify people at high risk of lung cancer and be aware of the significant improvements in diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer,” Kloecker said. “We will give providers evidence-based information that enables them and their patients to receive the best possible care. An important part of this is the detection of cancer at an early stage. Once the cancer is diagnosed it is important for patients to receive the most effective treatments in order to have the best chance of cure, survival and quality of life.”

Studts will lead the second component of the project, which will develop a lung cancer-specific survivorship program that promotes quality of life and well-being for individuals diagnosed with lung cancer, as well as their caregivers, throughout the continuum of the disease. This will include care that addresses a combination of acute and late or long-term effects of the illness and treatment.  Studts and his team will also develop a training program for lung cancer navigators and mental health providers to sustainably administer the survivorship program to patients and caregivers statewide.

Lung cancer screening guidelines have recently changed, creating a unique opportunity to implement rigorous, statewide screening programs that can save lives. The third component of the project, led by Dr. Timothy Mullett and Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight at the University of Kentucky, will therefore promote evidence-based prevention and early detection of lung cancer. Lung cancer is often diagnosed too late to treat because symptoms tend to emerge only after the disease has spread. For this reason, increasing high-quality lung cancer screening is critical to reducing deaths from the disease.

Lung Cancer Alliance will partner with UK on the survivorship and screening components of the project, contributing to program design, administration, communications support and dissemination.

“We are so thrilled and proud to be a partner in this unprecedented public health coalition intent on bringing heartfelt support and life-saving services to Kentucky citizens impacted by lung cancer,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Lung Cancer Alliance president & CEO.  “Such ‘can do’ attitude not only will lead to a first-ever coordinated plan of action to reduce lung cancer’s foot print in Kentucky – but will stimulate other states to follow in its shoes in the months ahead. It is truly a momentous time worth celebrating.”

Additional collaboration on this project comes from the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, the Kentucky Clinical Trials Network, the Markey Cancer Foundation, the Kentucky Cancer Foundation and a broad range of community-based stakeholder groups, collaborators, partnering organizations, and healthcare systems throughout Kentucky and nationally.

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 www.browncancercenter.org.

About University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center

The Markey Cancer Center is a dedicated matrix cancer center established as an integral part of the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare enterprise.  In 2013, Markey was designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to receive research funding and many other opportunities available only to the nation’s best cancer centers. Markey is the only NCI-designated center in Kentucky and one of only 68 in the country. The clinical programs and services of the Markey Cancer Center are integrated with the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. Markey's cancer specialty teams work together with UK Chandler Hospital departments and divisions to provide primary patient care and support services as well as advanced specialty care with applicable clinical trials. For more information, visit www.markey.uky.edu.

About Lung Cancer Alliance

Lung Cancer Alliance is the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and advancing research by empowering those living with or at risk for lung cancer. Recently rated as the highest lung cancer organization in the nation by Charity Navigator, Lung Cancer Alliance offers free personalized support, information and referral from professionally trained and caring staff; advocates for increased research funding and access to treatments and diagnostics; conducts national awareness campaigns about the disease, risk and early detection. For more information, visit www.lungcanceralliance.org.

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes around the world for patients disproportionately affected by serious disease. Focusing on southeastern U.S. states that have the highest lung cancer incidence and mortality rates in the country, the Foundation’s Bridging Cancer Care initiative seeks to transform community-based care and support for lung cancer.  For more information, visit www.bms.com/foundation.

Second protein associated with common cause of kidney failure identified

Blood test should reduce need for kidney biopsies
Second protein associated with common cause of kidney failure identified

An international team of researchers including Jon Klein, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael Merchant, Ph.D., of the University of Louisville has identified a protein that turns a person’s immune system against itself in a form of kidney disease called membranous nephropathy (MN). The findings are published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This is the second protein associated with MN and the development of an autoimmune response.

Through the identification of this second protein, a new blood test can be developed to diagnose this common form of kidney disease.

Unchecked, MN can lead to kidney failure, or end stage renal disease. In 2011, more than a million people worldwide suffered from kidney failure annually, with more than 570,000 in the United States. Approximately 14 percent of those cases are the result of glomerulonephritis of which MN is a common cause.

“Five years ago this team initially discovered a protein that has led to a blood test identifying between 70 and 80 percent of people with MN,” said Klein, vice dean of research at UofL’s School of Medicine. “We now have found another protein that impacts up to another 5 percent of patients with MN. Once a blood test is available, we will have been able to reduce the number of kidney biopsies necessary for disease detection and to assess the response to treatment by up to 85 percent.”

Membranous nephropathy occurs when the small blood vessels in the kidney that filter wastes from the blood become inflamed and thickened. As a result, proteins leak from the damaged blood vessels into the urine. For many people, loss of these proteins eventually causes signs and symptoms known as nephrotic syndrome.

In 2009, Klein and this team reported the discovery that antibodies to kidney expression of phospholipase A2 receptor 1 (PLA2R1), were diagnostic for MN. That work, also reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, led to an FDA-approved test to diagnose MN. The PLA2R1 antibody test is positive in 80 percent of patients with MN. This week’s disclosure is related to the protein THSD7A. Researchers examined the blood of people known to have MN. Of the 154 people studied, 15 had antibodies to THSD7A, but not PLA2R1.

“This is significant because it provides us with another marker of identification and enables us to lessen the physical burden on our patients and ultimately will decrease the need for kidney biopsy. These MN antibody tests also allow us to monitor disease activity without kidney biopsy as we treat the patient. This allows a more rapid approach to developing new therapies for MN,” Klein said.

As pointed out by senior author Gérard Lambeau, Ph.D., director of research at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, Valbonne and team leader at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (Sophia Antipolis), “This week’s disclosure is related to the discovery of the protein THSD7A and the corresponding anti-THSD7A autoantibodies in a group of about 10 percent of MN patients who did not have anti-PLA2R1 autoantibodies.”

“The discovery of this second antigen-antibody system in membranous nephropathy will allow clinicians to diagnose this new form of primary (autoimmune) membranous nephropathy and provides a new method to monitor the disease activity in this subgroup of patients,” said co-lead authors Nicola Tomas, M.D. of University Medical Center Hamburg–Eppendorf and Laurence Beck, M.D., Ph.D., of Boston University School of Medicine.

Catherine Meyer-Schwesinger, M.D., Barbara Seitz-Polski, M.D., Hong Ma, Ph.D., Gunther Zahner, Ph.D., Guillaume Dolla, M.S., Elion Hoxha, M.D., Udo Helmchen, M.D., Anne-Sophie Dabert-Gay, Ph.D., Delphine Debayle, Ph.D., David J. Salant, M.D., and Rolf A.K. Stahl, M.D., are part of the research team.

In addition to the online version of the New England Journal of Medicine, the findings recently were presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2014 in Philadelphia.

UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center discontinues The Julep Ball

The University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center today announced it will discontinue The Julep Ball. The gala has been held annually on the evening before the Kentucky Derby since 2009.

“While The Julep Ball has over the course of its history provided great visibility for the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and a wonderful venue for us to thank our supporters, the resources necessary to stage a quality event have grown too great to make it successful as a significant fund-raising effort,” said Michael Neumann, executive director of development for the cancer center.

“We have always worked to make The Julep Ball much more than simply an enjoyable evening for our patrons; it has become the singular premiere Derby Eve ‘Party with a Purpose,’” Neumann said. “Maintaining the standards of quality that we have set for ourselves has required more and more resources, particularly manpower, each year. This means we have to divert those resources away from other projects and activities equally important to our mission to provide world-class clinical care, education and research in the field of cancer.”

Neumann added that The Julep Ball and its predecessor, the Mint Jubilee, have generated over $1.5 million over the past decade to support the work of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The resource requirements involved in attracting celebrity guests and providing top-quality entertainment, food and drink in a gala setting, however, has continued to grow as other Derby Week events have mushroomed.

“When we began more than a decade ago, the field of Derby Week parties was quite limited,” he said. “We believe that our success encouraged and even helped give birth to other parties organized by individuals and groups who do not have the mission we do and with whom The Julep Ball now competes.”

Events organized by others in support of the cancer center will continue to receive assistance from university faculty and staff, he said. Art to Beat Cancer is traditionally held each fall and will be held Nov. 21 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Green Building, 732 E. Market St. The Twisted Pink Masquerade Ballsupports metastatic breast cancer research at the cancer center and will be held Feb. 7, 2015, at The Gillespie, 421 W. Market St. Hats for Hope traditionally kicks off the Derby season and will be held April 16, 2015, at the Triple Crown Conference Center.

“We look forward to continuing to support these events in every way we can, and explore new events proposed by our supporters,” Neumann said.

He added that the university has retained ownership of the name and brand of The Julep Ball.

“The Julep Ball grew to become a wonderfully festive Derby Eve gala, and for that, we thank each of the many volunteers over the years who helped it thrive,” Neumann said. “We hope they continue to support the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in the months and years to come.”

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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, www.browncancercenter.org.

 

 

 

New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

UofL School of Medicine is first in nation to provide core competencies program
New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine

The University of Louisville School of Medicine will serve as the nation’s pilot site for training future physicians on the unique health care concerns and issues encountered by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gender nonconforming or born with differences of sex development (DSD).

“We are very excited to serve as our nation’s learning ground in training the next generation of physicians in meeting the unique health care needs of our LGBT and DSD-affected population,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “Every segment of our population brings its own set of health care issues and concerns. As we strive to provide the highest quality training possible, it is a privilege to model that educational experience for our colleagues throughout the nation.”

UofL will spend the next few months developing the formal curriculum and begin the pilot program in the 2015-16 academic year, with full integration into the curriculum in 2016-17.

People who are LGBT, gender nonconforming or born with DSD often experience challenges when seeking care in doctors’ offices, community clinics, hospitals and emergency rooms. Research shows that these health disparities result in decreased access to care or willingness to seek care, resulting in increased medical morbidity and mortality for LGBT and DSD-affected patients.

All aspects of patient care, from the intake forms and interaction with caregivers in the outpatient office to interactions during critical illness, require an accepting, informed, patient-centered approach from all physicians in order to improve the adverse health outcomes seen in this patient population.

In early November, the Association of American Medical Colleges identified 30 competencies that physicians must master. These competencies fall under eight domains of care critical to training physicians, including patient care, knowledge for practice, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, interprofessional collaboration and personal and professional development.

This competency-based framework will allow medical educators to integrate the new guidelines into existing curricula more easily and encourage faculty and health care professionals to move away from thinking of patients in these groups as separate from the general patient population.

“As a university, we continue to be a leader in recognizing the importance of understanding our diverse population and working to meet the varying needs,” said Brian Buford, assistant provost for diversity and director of the LGBT Center at UofL.

UofL School of Medicine will be assisted in this curriculum integration project by two of the primary authors of the competencies, Jennifer Potter, M.D., Harvard School of Medicine, and Kristen Eckstrand, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and fourth-ear medical student. Additionally, John Davis, M.D. from The Ohio State University and the AAMC Group on Diversity & Inclusion LGBT Issues Representative also will assist in the project.

The Affordable Care Act in Kentucky, One Year Later

UofL physician notes successes in 'New England Journal of Medicine' follow-up article
The Affordable Care Act in Kentucky, One Year Later

One year ago, Michael Stillman, M.D., and his colleague, Monalisa Tailor, M.D., both physicians with the University of Louisville Department of Medicine, wrote a New England Journal of Medicine “Perspective” article about “Tommy Davis,” their pseudonym-named patient who delayed seeing a doctor because he lacked health insurance.

After spending a year experiencing severe abdominal pain and other symptoms, Davis finally sought care in the emergency room. The diagnosis? Metastatic colon cancer.

“If we’d found it sooner,” Davis said to the physicians, “it would have made a difference. But now I’m just a dead man walking,” a phrase so evocative, the physicians chose it as the headline of their article.

Today, however, Stillman and his colleagues are witnessing what another of his patients terms a “sea change in health care” because of the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Kentucky.

Stillman has authored a follow-up “Perspective” article in the New England Journal of Medicine this week that notes the changes brought about by the ACA and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion that the act brought about.

One year later, the ACA rollout in Kentucky has been a success, he says. “…Our Commonwealth’s citizens – among the poorest and most (medically) underserved in the country – finally gained broad access to health insurance,” he says. “… allowing us to provide data-driven and thorough care without first considering our patients’ ability to pay.”

The contrast between last year and today is stark, writes Stillman. “Before … Medicaid expansion, the 60 percent of my clinic patients and 650,000 Kentuckians who lacked health insurance received disjointed and disastrous care.” Many avoided routine and preventative care because of worries over cost.

“But during the past year,” Stillman writes, “many of my lowest-income patients have, for the first time as adults, been able to seek non-urgent medical attention.” In Kentucky, 413,000 people gained medical coverage who did not have it prior to the ACA implementation.

The ACA has brought about other unexpected benefits as well. Expanded health care coverage has greatly improved residency training in Kentucky, enabling the doctor to spend more time doctoring and less time serving as a financial advisor.

“One year after the law’s implementation, residents at my hospital can finally provide guideline- and evidence-based care,” without first considering the cost, he writes. “Since 92 percent of our patients are now insured, we no longer receive fretful looks when we recommend laboratory tests; we screen for colorectal cancer with colonoscopies rather than with less sensitive fecal blood cards; and we spend more time examining patients and less time helping them knit together limited public-assistance resources.”

Another unanticipated benefit has been an increase in competition for patients. Before the ACA, patients without health insurance had a limited number of facilities in which they could receive care.

Today, however, “with increased enrollment in Medicaid and commercial (health) plans, these same patients are pursued by medical groups and hospitals and can be selective in choosing their sites of care.”

Stillman notes that the ACA remains threatened, both in Kentucky where its success is verified by data, and in other states throughout the country.

“Some Kentuckians question the adequacy of the newly purchased plans and are concerned that despite being ‘insured,’ people who have bought low-premium, high-deductible plans may (still) wind up accruing substantial medical debt,” he writes.

Also, he notes that 21 states have yet to expand Medicaid eligibility despite the example Kentucky shows of the success in doing so. Physicians, however, can help.

“First, we can challenge our elected officials to do a better job of seeing to their constituents’ needs,” he writes. “Furthermore, we can delineate for our patients the often-subtle links between current affairs and their own health,” including asking them if they are registered to vote and reminding them of candidates’ support of or opposition to the legislation that has palpably benefited them.

“I hope that an increasing number of state legislatures will help their vulnerable citizens receive the services they need and that the next generation of physicians will be shocked that our current efforts at health care inclusion were ever seriously questioned.”

 

Art to Beat Cancer features more than 60 works of art

Art to Beat Cancer features more than 60 works of art

"A Horse" by Ekaterina Ziuzina is among the works of art being auctioned at Art to Beat Cancer to benefit the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

More than 60 works of art by 18 national and international artists will be featured at Art to Beat Cancer, Friday, Nov. 23. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at the Green Building, 732 E. Market St.

Art to Beat Cancer benefits research being carried out by the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center. Created by artist Doyle Glass, Art to Beat Cancer supports the Kim and Doyle Glass Endowment for Developmental Therapeutics. Doyle’s wife Kim is currently battling Stage IV breast cancer, and the Glasses have established the endowment with a goal of raising $1 million to provide critical funding to move new cancer-fighting drugs from the research stage to the clinical setting.

Bidding is currently open for each work of art on the Bidding For Good website. Additionally, for only $50 you can participate in an art ticket raffle for a 1 in 24 chance to win one of 18 paintings, each valued at up to $4,000. People also are welcome to make a cash donation, which will be matched on the Bidding for Good website. Winning bids will be announced at the event.

In addition to Doyle Glass, artists represented at Art to Beat Cancer are Eric Bowman, Jill Carver, J.M. Culver, Glenn Dean, Patrick Donley, Bato Dugarzhapov, Mark Haworth, Joshua Jenkins, Matthew Katz, Kevin Macpherson, Wanda Macpherson, Denise LaRue Mahlke, C.W. Mundy, Antonio Rodriguez, David Schuster, Michele Usibelli, Dan Young and Ekaterina Ziuzina.

For additional information, contact Michael Neumann, 502-852-4642.

$50,000 childhood cancer research grant awarded to University of Louisville

$50,000 childhood cancer research grant awarded to University of Louisville

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, has awarded a one-year, $50,000 grant to the University of Louisville (UofL). This grant is one of 40 infrastructure grants awarded as part of the foundation’s fall grant cycle, totaling more than $2.5 million and surpassing last year’s total awarded during this same period.

The University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation makes approximately 100 new diagnoses per year. One of the primary goals of the division is to offer novel therapies to allow patients to receive treatment within the region and not have to travel elsewhere. This grant will provide support to hire a nurse coordinator for neuroblastoma and sarcoma patients on clinical trials, providing them with additional access to those trials.

“The St. Baldrick’s Foundation grant will help children diagnosed with cancer to receive the best care here in Louisville,” explains Kerry Powell McGowan, M.D., pediatric oncologist at UofL. “With the grant we hope to help more children and their families stay close to home to get the treatment they need.”

The grant to UofL is part of a series of grants that, combined with the more than $24.7 million awarded in July to fund cutting-edge research, brings the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s funding total to more than $27.2 million awarded in 2014. Grants were awarded based on the need of the institution and its patients, anticipated results of the grant and local participation in St. Baldrick’s fundraising events and activities.

“These grants are critically important to saving children’s lives, and would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers and generous donors who believe kids deserve better than medicine is currently able to provide,” said Kathleen Ruddy, chief executive officer for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

To learn how you can get involved visit www.StBaldricks.org, and connect with St. Baldrick’s on Facebook, Twitter,YouTube and Vimeo

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About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. St. Baldrick’s coordinates its signature head-shaving events worldwide where participants collect pledges to shave their heads in solidarity with kids with cancer, raising money to fund research. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $154 million to support lifesaving research, making the Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world and to younger professionals who will be the experts of tomorrow. Funds awarded also enable hundreds of local institutions to participate in national pediatric cancer clinical trials, and the new International Scholar grants train researchers to work in developing countries. For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation please call 1.888.899.BALD or visit www.StBaldricks.org.

 

 

 

 

Institute of Medicine president to speak at UofL Dec. 10

Leonard Leight Lecture focuses on regeneration of the heart
Institute of Medicine president to speak at UofL Dec. 10

Victor J. Dzau, M.D., president of the Institute of Medicine

The president of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies will present the 2014 Leonard Leight Lecture at the University of Louisville.

Victor J. Dzau, M.D., will speak at noon, Wednesday, Dec. 10, at Kornhauser Library Auditorium on the UofL Health Sciences Campus. Admission is free.

Dzau will discuss “Molecular Approaches to Cardiac Regeneration,” an area of research being explored at UofL. Roberto Bolli, M.D., director of UofL’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology, and his colleagues have successfully shown in 19 patients who previously suffered a heart attack that their stem cells, after processing, can be re-infused back into the damaged heart muscle and improve its function.

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

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

About Victor Dzau

Dzau assumed the presidency of the Institute of Medicine July 1 after having served as chancellor for health affairs at Duke University, president and CEO for Duke University Health System, and the James B. Duke Professor, Duke University School of Medicine. He was elected to the IOM in 1988 and served on several leadership committees prior to being named president.

He has made a significant impact on medicine through his seminal research in cardiovascular medicine and genetics, his pioneering work in the discipline of vascular medicine, and recently his leadership in health care innovation.

His work on the renin angiotensin system (RAS) – a hormonal system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance – paved the way for the contemporary understanding of RAS in cardiovascular disease and the development of RAS inhibitors as therapeutics.

Dzau also helped pioneer gene therapy for vascular disease. His most recent work provides novel insight into stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

Rate of prescribing psychotropic drugs to Kentucky kids studied at UofL

Current prescribing rate in Kentucky almost double national average
Rate of prescribing psychotropic drugs to Kentucky kids studied at UofL

Gilbert Liu, M.D.

Researchers with the Child and Adolescent Health Research Design and Support Unit (CAHRDS Unit) at the University of Louisville have begun a study to examine one of Kentucky’s most vexing children’s health issues: the higher-than-average rate of psychotropic medication being prescribed to children in the Bluegrass State.

Psychotropic medications (PMs) alter chemical levels in the brain that impact mood and behavior. Antipsychotics, antidepressants, drugs for attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anti-anxiety medications and mood stabilizers are some of the more commonly used psychotropic drugs. While they produce good results among most patients, they also can cause worrisome side effects in others, and their interactions with each other can create problems as well.

Of the almost 600,000 children receiving Medicaid in Kentucky, one in seven – 14 percent – has been prescribed at least one of these powerful psychiatric drugs. Equally troublesome, almost half – 42 percent – of the children in Kentucky’s foster care system have been prescribed at least one.

Both statistics are almost twice the national average. Nationally, just 7.4 percent of kids receiving Medicaid and 26.6 percent of kids in the foster care system have been prescribed a PM.

An eight-member team at the CAHRDS Unit, a part of the UofL Department of Pediatrics, is working to find out why these drugs are given to Kentucky children at almost twice the national rate.  The team has been awarded a $75,000 Improved Health Outcomes Program grant from Passport Health Plan, the nonprofit community-based health plan administering Kentucky Medicaid benefits to more than 200,000 people statewide.

“Passport Health Plan has a common concern and this grant represents an opportunity, in addition to the programs we already have in place, to address this concerning trend.” said Stephen J. Houghland, M.D., Passport Health Plan’s chief medical officer.

“It’s very concerning to us that the rate of prescribing in Kentucky is higher than the national average,” said Gilbert Liu, M.D., the study’s principal investigator and the chief of the Division of General Pediatrics at UofL. “We also are concerned that children are getting prescriptions for psychotropic medications that are not FDA-approved. Also worrisome is that some children are being prescribed two or more of these very potent drugs.”

“Are these children getting a clear diagnosis?” said Charles Woods, M.D., director of the CAHRDS Unit and vice chair for faculty development of the UofL Department of Pediatrics. “Is there a primary care provider involved? Are they getting the appropriate psychiatric services they need along with these medications? These are the questions we intend to pose in this study.”

Three-phased study will take a year

The year-long study will consist of three phases. The researchers will first assess Kentucky Medicaid claims data to see if prescribing patterns emerge across geographic regions of the state as well as racial, ethnic, gender and socioeconomic class. The first phase also will include an examination of what type of providers are prescribing PMs to children – primary care providers, psychiatrists, pediatricians or others.

During the second phase of the study, the researchers will talk with providers who have higher-than-average rates of prescribing to find out why these higher rates occur. “It could be that in some cases, the higher rate of prescribing is medically warranted,” said Michael Smith, M.D., a clinician and researcher with UofL Physicians-Pediatrics. “However, it also could be that if appropriate psychiatric services are not available, a primary care physician feels this is the only way he has at his disposal to treat children who need these services.”

The third phase of the study will “get to the heart of the matter,” Liu said, in developing informed and thoughtful approaches to correcting overuse of PMs where it occurs. “We do not want to get in the way of providers with their patients,” he said. “However, we believe that with their help, we can provide alternate ways to care for children needing psychiatric services that lessens the need for PMs.”

“In Kentucky, we need to better understand patterns of PM use along with non-drug treatments and monitoring for children receiving Medicaid,” Woods said. Our intent is to develop the best solutions possible for improving the care of these vulnerable children.”

Multidisciplinary team of researchers

In addition to Woods, Liu and Smith, other members of the research team include Deborah Winders Davis, Ph.D., David Lohr, M.D., John Myers, Ph.D., Michelle Stevenson, M.D., and Michael Rowland, Ph.D.

“This is the type of work that calls for a multidisciplinary approach,” Woods said. “Among our group we are fortunate to have clinical and research expertise in general pediatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry, early childhood development, emergency medicine, biostatistics, qualitative data analysis and informatics. We look forward to being able to make a difference for children through our collective efforts on this project.”

Parents with concerns about PM use or those wanting more information about the study can contact Liu at 502-852-3737.

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About Passport Health Plan

Passport Health Plan is a provider-sponsored, non-profit, community-based Medicaid health plan serving more than 200,000 people around Kentucky. Recently named the No. 19 Medicaid health plan in the United States and the top Medicaid plan ranked in Kentucky by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), Passport has been contracted with Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services to administer Medicaid benefits since 1997 and has been serving the entire Commonwealth since Jan. 1, 2014. For additional information about Passport Health Plan, go online to passporthealthplan.com.

 

Gov. Beshear, Lt. Gov. Luallen formally unveil UofL/Community Dental Clinic

Innovative partnership to provide children with medical, dental health care home
Gov. Beshear, Lt. Gov. Luallen formally unveil  UofL/Community Dental Clinic

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen announced Dec. 1 an innovative public/private partnership between Community Dental – a nonprofit of Kentucky and the University of Louisville Pediatrics to provide a multi-disciplinary health care home for Kentucky children enrolled in the Medicaid program.

Through co-located facilities, the two organizations will work to meet both the dental and medical needs while providing a health care home for children who qualify for health care services through the Medicaid program.

“Our citizens face a number of significant health issues, not the least of which is oral health,” Gov. Beshear said. “One of the most effective ways to combat chronic health conditions is to identify potential problems early and address them. This means ensuring that our children have easy access to the health care they need and deserve. This partnership seeks to meet that need, not just medical care, but also dental care. Through the creation of a health home for children, we believe we will be able to reverse some of the major health problems facing Kentucky.”

Community Dental of Kentucky is a full-service dental organization designed to increase access to health care in underserved communities with the goal of improving the overall health of the population. The clinic specializes in meeting the oral health needs of individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid, a population that has historically lacked sufficient access to dental services. Community Dental’s Kentucky clinic is located at 3438 Taylor Blvd. in Louisville. Community Dental is patterned after Sarrell Dental, which was founded in 2004 in Anniston, Alabama. Since then, Sarrell has grown to include 13 other offices in Alabama. The Sarrell Dental Team consists of more than 250 employees, including dentists, hygienists and managers.

“We are honored to partner with the Commonwealth and the University of Louisville,” said Jeffrey Parker, chairman of Community Dental of Kentucky. “Gov. Beshear has created the environment for preventive care as a major tool for combating the health care problems faced by the people in the state.”

Earlier this year, Gov. Beshear launched kyhealthnow, an initiative aimed at attacking the causes of many of the significant health care issues faced by the people of the Commonwealth, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and oral health.

“Part of the mission of kyhealthnow is to encourage Kentuckians to routinely visit primary care providers and dental professionals to detect potential issues before they escalate into major health problems,” Lt. Gov. Luallen said. “As chair of this initiative, I want to continue to help the Governor build strong partnerships with the dental and medical community to ensure Kentucky has a healthier population.”

“We continue to uncover the links between dental and medical health,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., UofL executive vice president for health affairs. “Co-locating primary care sites for both dentistry and pediatrics enables the inter-professional collaboration that can truly impact the disease state of many people. This partnership has the potential to be a national model for providing preventive care to children.”

UofL Pediatrics provides general pediatric care to children throughout the region. The physicians are faculty members of the UofL Department of Pediatrics and not only see patients, but also educate the next generation of pediatricians and conduct research that leads to new and improved treatments for children.

“One of our missions is to provide children of our region with the best possible health care,” said Gerard Rabalais, M.D., chair of the UofL Department of Pediatrics. “Partnering with other primary care providers who specialize in areas outside of medicine only brings children a better opportunity for healthier living opportunities. Establishing health care homes where children receive medical and dental care in a single location provides a level of convenience that should improve access and utilization of services.”

UofL Physicians to hold special pediatric eye clinic hours on Saturday, Dec. 6

One-day clinic from 8 a.m. to noon provides convenience for families
UofL Physicians to hold special pediatric eye clinic hours on Saturday, Dec. 6

Rahul Bhola, M.D., with two patients at the Kentucky Lions Eye Center.

For the convenience of parents, UofL Physicians will hold an eye clinic for children from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 6. This special clinic will be held at The Springs Medical Center, 6400 Dutchmans Lane, Suite 310.

Appointments can be made by calling 502-742-2848 or 502-588-0550. UofL Physicians - Pediatric Eye Specialists sees patients from birth to age 18. Major forms of insurance are accepted.

“To help parents who can’t always bring their children in to our office during regular hours, we periodically schedule Saturday clinic hours to make it more convenient,” said Rahul Bhola, M.D., who leads UofL Physicians - Pediatric Eye Specialists and is director of pediatric ophthalmology for the UofL School of Medicine.

“All preschool children, even those without noticeable eye problems, should have at least one vision screening or comprehensive eye exam before the age of 5,” Bhola said. “After age 5, every child should have an annual eye exam.”

To help parents, Bhola offers eight signs that can signal a child has a vision problem:

  • An eye appears to be misaligned, either crossed or drifting outward
  • Squinting, closing or covering one eye
  • Rubbing one or both eyes excessively
  • Headache, nausea or dizziness with visual tasks
  • Excessive or unusual clumsiness
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • One or both eyelids droop downward
  • A sibling or other close family member has lazy eye or other eye problems

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About University of Louisville Physicians
University of Louisville Physicians isthe 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 www.uoflphysicians.com.

UofL program improves half-century staple for teaching medical students

'Academic Medicine' publishes UofL report on innovative way to utilize standardized patients
UofL program improves half-century staple for teaching medical students

For more than 50 years, standardized patients have been a staple of medical school instruction. These individuals are trained in symptoms and problems associated with disease and act as patients to give medical students hands-on training in the practice of medicine.

Today, the University of Louisville School of Medicine has taken use of standardized patients (SPs) to a new level, allowing more students to achieve learning objectives in a compressed time period and learn more about managing the continuity of care for patients.

The Longitudinal Standardized Patient Project gives students a single SP to see throughout their two-year Introduction to Clinical Medicine course. In the course, students must successfully master the core patient history-taking, examination and communication skills they will need for their future training and ultimately, as practicing physicians.

“In the program, each student only sees ‘their’ patient, one of nine patient characters we have developed, in 19 different patient encounters,” said Charles Kodner, M.D., director of the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course. “This single SP enables the development of a continuity relationship, eliminating the need for the student to review the patient’s history with each encounter. Students gain time to focus on the purpose of the patient visit and the individual learning outcome they are expected to achieve.

“In short, the Longitudinal Standardized Patient Project more closely mirrors what our students will see when they start caring for actual patients later in their training and once they become practicing physicians.”

The ongoing student-SP relationship has strong benefits for the student, said Carrie Bohnert, director of the UofL Standardized Patient Program. “Students begin to realize much earlier in the medical education that patients are real people with potentially complex personal and medical histories,” she said. “They are able to experience a doctor-patient relationship that has continuity – something not otherwise available during the first two years of medical school.”

An unexpected benefit has been the growing role of the SP as teacher as well. “Our SPs have developed personal teaching relationships with their students and are able to identify subtle changes in student skill development or lack of development and other problems that might otherwise be missed without a strong continuity relationship,” Bohnert said.

The program has been well-received, Kodner said. “As we survey students both before and after the Longitudinal Standardized Patient Project, we have observed substantial increases in our students’ perceptions that the cases were realistic and that they could learn about medical problems and their patient as a person in the time available.”

Said Bohnert, “the outcomes of this program have exceeded expectations, allowing our students to experience both the joys and the challenges of a long-term doctor-patient relationship.”

Kodner and Bohnert discuss the program in an article, “The Longitudinal Standardized Patient Project: Innovation from Necessity,” in  Academic Medicine, published online Nov. 18 and scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the print version of the journal.

Academic Medicine is the scholarly journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the accrediting body and professional organization of medical schools in the United States and Canada.

Funding for the Longitudinal Standardized Patient Project was provided in part by a Paul Weber Award of $50,000 for Excellence in Teaching, awarded May 2010 by the University of Louisville.

 

 

 

UofL physiologist wins early career award

Cynthia Miller, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology in the University of Louisville School of Medicine, recently was awarded the Outstanding Early Career in Post-Secondary Education Superlative at the Centennial Meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science. She is one of four people to receive this award recognizing her accomplishments in teaching and research as well as service to the university and the community.

Miller also is the course director for physiology in the Prematriculation Program at both the UofL School of Medicine and the School of Dentistry.

Her work with innovative educational programs in and out of the classroom has led to significant increases in the learning and retention of students within the UofL dental program. The lectures and modules she has created through this research have been implanted into the dental physiology curriculum and have increased performance on unit exams.

In the Louisville community, Miller participates in several service activities, including the Louisville Regional Science Fair and Research!Louisville. She also received the Research Recognition Award from the American Physiological Society earlier in 2014.

Miller earned her doctorate degree from UofL in 2008 and joined the faculty in 2011. She focuses her research on how technology and active learning in the classroom impact student performance and motivation.

 

UofL Continuing Medical Education & Professional Development program returns to full accreditation

The University of Louisville School of Medicine Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development program has been notified by its accrediting body, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) that it is in full compliance with all required standards and has been released from its probationary status.

“We modified our review process within the office to create redundancies to prevent inadvertent errors in oversight, like the one that led to our being placed on probation,” said Dan Cogan, Ed.D., FAODME, assistant dean for continuing medical education and professional development. “Our previous process did not pick up on the single instance of an industry-employed individual providing instruction at a conference. That will not happen again.”

As part of its probationary status, UofL was required to enact new policies and procedures to prevent activities that are outside of the ACCME standards, and to demonstrate that those changes are being followed and are successful. During its probationary status, UofL has offered about 90 educational programs to more than 15,000 health care providers nationwide.

The program’s next periodic accreditation review will be in late 2017.

MD Anderson, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio added as trial sites for ACT’s PFK-158 licensed from UofL’s Brown Cancer Center

Advanced Cancer Therapeutics (ACT), a privately held company dedicated to bringing new anti-cancer therapies to market, announced today that the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have been added as human clinical trial sites for PFK-158, a first-in-man/first-in-class inhibitor of PFKFB3, an enzyme that controls glycolysis and that is overexpressed in most hematological and solid tumors. The two new clinical trial sites are expected to begin enrolling patients Jan. 1, 2015.

PFK-158 was discovered and developed by ACT and was based on the initial drug discovered at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health. The cancer center began recruiting patients for clinical trials in May 2014. Within weeks of opening the first clinical trial site, ACT was able to open the second clinical trial site, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, also in May 2014.

“We were pleased to partner with MD Anderson and UT Health Science Center at San Antonio to expand the number of clinical trial sites for PFK-158,” said ACT President and CEO Randall B. Riggs. “PFK-158 is a first-in-man, novel anti-cancer drug that prevents tumor cells from using glucose as a fuel source for tumor survival, growth and metastasis and is currently in a Phase 1 clinical study in the United States.”

In November 2014, PFK-158 was chosen by Informa and Kantar Health as one of the “2014 Top 10 Most Interesting Oncology Projects to Watch.”

PFK-158 is a small molecule that inactivates a novel cancer metabolism target never before examined in human clinical trials. Last spring, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a Phase 1 dose escalation study that is evaluating the safety, tolerability and anti-tumor activity of PFK-158 in cancer patients with solid tumors such as prostate, lung, ovarian, melanoma, breast and pancreatic cancer.

PFK-158 is the first 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 3 (PFKFB3) inhibitor to undergo clinical trial testing in cancer patients. The target, PFKFB3, is activated by oncogenes and the low oxygen state in cancers, stimulates glucose metabolism and is required for the growth of cancer cells.

PFK-158, which has been licensed by ACT from the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, inhibits the substrate binding domain of PFKFB3 causing a marked reduction in the glucose uptake and growth in multiple preclinical cancer models.

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About Advanced Cancer Therapeutics (ACT):

ACT is a privately held company dedicated to advancing novel therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of cancer. ACT has successfully established a unique and innovative business model with the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center (Brown Cancer Center) whereby ACT is able to obtain exclusive worldwide licenses to novel cancer therapeutics discovered at Brown Cancer Center under preset business terms. ACT then fast-tracks these discoveries, including the selection process for partnership, commercialization and manufacture, to the pharmaceutical industry, and ultimately to the patients who need them. For more information, please visit www.advancedcancertherapeutics.com.

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, www.browncancercenter.org.

 

Suzanne Ildstad, M.D.

Suzanne Ildstad, M.D.
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Kevin Walsh, Ph.D.

Kevin Walsh, Ph.D.
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Two UofL researchers named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

Two researchers at the University of Louisville have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The announcement was made Dec. 16, 2014.

Suzanne T. Ildstad, M.D., director of UofL’s Institute for Cellular Therapeutics, and Kevin M. Walsh, Ph.D., director of the Micro/Nano Technology Center, were among 170 new Fellows named. They will be inducted by Deputy U.S. Commissioner for Patent Operations Andy Faile of the United States Patent and Trademark Office during the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors on March 20, 2015, at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

“As a premier metropolitan research university, UofL strives to develop ideas into discoveries, then to translate these into forms that benefit all,” said UofL Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation William M. Pierce Jr., Ph.D. “Drs. Ildstad and Walsh are two of our many brilliant and dedicated scholars who do this every day. We are very proud of them and their achievements.”

Those named today bring the total number of NAI Fellows to 414, representing more than 150 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions.

Included among the NAI Fellows are 208 members of the other National Academies, 21 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 16 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 10 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, 21 Nobel Laureates, 11 Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 107 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows, and 62 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Fellows, among other awards and distinctions.

To qualify for election, NAI Fellows must be academic inventors named on U.S. patents and nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society and support and enhancement of innovation.

About Suzanne Ildstad:

Ildstad is the Jewish Hospital Distinguished Chair in Transplantation and professor in the Department of Surgery in the UofL School of Medicine. She also holds associate appointments in the school’s Department of Physiology and Biophysics and Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Ildstad has 20 patents related to her research and is the founding scientist of Regenerex LLC, a biotechnology company. Her research is being translated into the clinical arena with FDA approval to enroll patients in six different research protocols to treat autoimmune disease (multiple sclerosis) and red blood cell disorders (sickle cell anemia and thalassemia), inherited metabolic disorders and to induce tolerance to organ transplants (kidney).

In 2013, Ildstad, representing Regenerex, entered into collaboration with a multinational pharmaceutical company to provide access to stem cell technology she pioneered that has the potential to help transplant patients avoid taking anti-rejection medicine for life. The technology, known as Facilitating Cell Therapy, in early research enabled five of eight kidney transplant patients to stop taking about a dozen anti-rejection pills a day to suppress their immune systems. It was the first study of its kind where the donor and recipient did not have to be biologically related and immunologically matched.

Ildstad graduated from Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, trained in Harvard Medical School’s general surgery program at Massachusetts General Hospital and was a staff fellow with the National Institutes of Health.  She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1997 in recognition of her contributions to cell therapies.

About Kevin Walsh:

Walsh is a professor and holder of the Samuel T. Fife Endowed Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. He also is founding director of the Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC), home of the nationally-ranked, class 100, $30 million 10,000-square-foot cleanroom in which dust particles are totally eliminated so one can successfully design and prototype ultra-miniature devices and systems for a variety of  fields including  microelectronics, healthcare, consumer products and defense.

Walsh has 12 awarded patents and is co-founder of four technical start-up companies – Assenti, Intellirod Spine, UltraTrace Detection and Simon Sounds.  He has published over 150 technical papers in the areas of micro/nanotechnology and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and his research group has won over $35 million in external research funding from the National Science foundation, NASA, National Institutes of Health and others. He has twice been presented with the school’s top Research Award for the 3-year periods of 1998-2000 and 2007-2009.

Under his leadership, the MNTC has brought in over $55 million of research awards into UofL. In 2008, Walsh and his team started the "KY nanoNET Initiative" a statewide network funded by the National Science Foundation for the coordination of micro and nanotechnology efforts in the Commonwealth.

Walsh earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from UofL and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering (microelectronics/MEMS) from the University of Cincinnati.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be one of the first researchers at the University of Louisville to be inducted into the National Academy of Inventors,” said Walsh. “It’s been very exciting these past 25 years building nationally competitive micro/nano capabilities at UofL and working with extremely talented faculty, engineers and students applying this futuristic technology to a  variety of challenging problems.”

University of Louisville Hospital to host bone marrow drive Dec. 17

In partnership with Be The Match (National Marrow Donor Program) and the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), University of Louisville Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, will host a bone marrow/organ donor registry drive to encourage people to join each registry.
Marrow Registry: Every year, 12,000 people with a blood cancer such as leukemia, or other disease such as sickle cell anemia, need a marrow transplant to live.
Organ Registry: Currently, nearly 124,000 people are awaiting organ transplants in the United States, and many of them would be life-saving transplants.
WHAT:
Bone Marrow/Organ Donor Drive
WHERE:
University of Louisville Hospital
Ambulatory Care Building Basement – outside cafeteria
530 S. Jackson St.
Louisville, KY 40202
WHEN:
Wednesday, December 17
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
David McArthur, Senior Manager
502.587.4230 or 502.648.3411

Postel named permanent CEO of UofL Physicians, vice dean of clinical affairs at UofL School of Medicine

Postel named permanent CEO of UofL Physicians, vice dean of clinical affairs at UofL School of Medicine

Gregory Postel, M.D.

Gregory Postel, M.D., who had been serving as interim CEO of University of Louisville Physicians, has been named permanent CEO of the organization.

Postel was chosen to lead the organization long term by its board.

“I’ve been involved with UofL Physicians since long before it formally existed,” Postel said. “I’ve been at the UofL School of Medicine for 20 years, and I care a lot about the school and the clinical practices. It’s exciting to see how far we’ve come, and what is on the horizon. I’m honored my colleagues have placed their trust in me to lead this effort.”

Along with his appointment as CEO, Postel was named vice dean of clinical affairs at the UofL School of Medicine, a decision approved by the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees. In that position, Postel is responsible for the clinical faculty at the school.

All UofL faculty perform their clinical duties through UofL Physicians. Research and teaching are conducted through the school, and the chairs of the school’s clinical departments serve on the UofL Physicians board, which manages the clinical practice mission of the faculty. The vice dean of clinical affairs position had remained vacant as UofL Physicians developed.

“With Greg in both positions, it will provide continuity as we see more and more crossover between the school and the clinical practices,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “He is exceptionally skilled and talented and the right person to lead us in this new era.  He has been instrumental in integrating the practice groups into this new company and in helping to promote a more cohesive strategy and culture.”

Most medical schools have brought their faculty under a single organization for clinical purposes. UofL Physicians was created in 2011, bringing 26 practices affiliated with physicians from the school, which had operated as independent health care companies, into a single entity.

Today, UofL Physicians has about 600 physicians and 1,200 employees. The closer coordination, Postel said, is important amid health care reform.

Postel, who also serves as chairman of the board for UofL Physicians, had served as interim CEO since the departure of the organization’s first CEO, Mike Bukosky, in November 2013. When Postel was named permanent CEO, the UofL Physicians board voted to combine the position of CEO and board chairman.

Postel also leads the radiology practice at UofL Physicians and is chair of the Department of Radiology at the UofL School of Medicine.

“Dr. Postel brings considerable experience and skill to these new roles,” said Gerard Rabalais, M.D., a member of the board’s executive committee who also leads the pediatrics practices for UofL Physicians and is chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the school. “With his experience in integrating the practices for UofL Physicians, he is uniquely poised to lead this new organization forward as its first physician CEO. Having worked closely with him for four years through this process, I have the utmost confidence in Greg’s ability.”

Postel said UofL Physicians has grown and changed since it developed, shifting from a holding company “bringing many businesses together into one new business” to an operating company.

“We realized there was an opportunity, and as we transformed into an operating company, we needed a larger infrastructure. This will give us the scalability to grow and expand as opportunities arise.”

Research to Prevent Blindness awards to UofL reach almost $4 million

Grant of $115,000 in December adds to support of variety of eye research
Research to Prevent Blindness awards to UofL reach almost $4 million

Henry Kaplan, M.D.

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) has awarded a grant of $115,000 to the University of Louisville Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, bringing the total of grant funding awarded over the past 50 years from RPB to $3,959,800. The latest grant was awarded Dec. 3.

The funding supports research across a variety of eye diseases and conditions, said Henry J. Kaplan, M.D., department chair, Evans Professor of Ophthalmology and director of UofL’s Kentucky Lions Eye Center.

Among research conducted at UofL that RPB helps fund are studies examining the pharmacologic treatment of age-related macular degeneration, gene therapy in retinal degeneration, stem cell therapy in retinal degeneration, genetic mutations in hereditary night blindness, retinopathy of prematurity, autoimmune uveitis and more.

“We are grateful for the support from Research to Prevent Blindness,” Kaplan said. “With this help, we can continue to carry out groundbreaking research on the development, structure and function of the visual system and discover and develop new treatments for ocular disease.”

RPB is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States for research into all blinding eye diseases. For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders and the RPB Grants Program, go to www.rpbusa.org.

UofL researchers are first to discover role of gene mutations involved in more than 75 percent of glioblastomas, melanomas

UofL researchers are first to discover role of gene mutations involved in more than 75 percent of glioblastomas, melanomas

Researchers at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center have identified for the first time mutations that destabilize a DNA structure that turns a gene off. These mutations occur at four specific sites in what is known as the “hTERT promoter” in more than 75 percent of glioblastomas and melanomas.

The research is published in the online journal PLOS ONE and is authored by Brad Chaires, Ph.D., John Trent, Ph.D., Robert Gray, William Dean, Ph.D., Robert Buscaglia, Shelia Thomas and Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D.

Telomerase is an enzyme largely responsible for the promotion of cell division. Within DNA, telomerase activation is a critical step for human carcinogenesis through the maintenance of telomeres. However, the activation mechanism during carcinogenesis – why cancer gets turned “on” – is not yet wholly understood. What is known is that transcriptional regulation of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene is the major mechanism for cancer-specific activation of telomerase.

Miller and his colleagues have been interested in turning genes off therapeutically for some time. “We know that human telomerase is over-expressed in most human cancers, but we’ve never known why,” he said.

In 2013, two studies published in Science and another in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences gave the researchers a direction to explore. “These papers said that in most melanomas, mutations existed in the promoter of this telomerase gene. This was the first time that anyone reported common mutations in these promoters,” said Miller, who is director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and a specialist in the treatment of melanoma.

The UofL team has now shown that the mutations all occur in a region of the hTERT promoter that previously has been shown to form quadruplex DNA. Using a combination of biophysics and molecular modeling, a new form of a quadruplex transcription regulation element is reported. The formation of these quadruplexes in telomeres has been shown to decrease the activity of telomerase.

“We speculated that the occurrence of these mutations could destabilize or alter the recognition of quadruplexes formed by this sequence,” Miller said. “We found that the mutations inactivate the gene’s ‘off’ switch so it becomes locked on, destabilizing the quadruplex and allowing it to be over-expressed.

“This over-expression then drives the cells to continue to divide, which is the cause of the cancer.”

The researchers are next examining how to unlock the switch from on to off, Miller said. “What we have described in this PLOS ONE article is the on-off switch and provided an entirely new model for that structure. Our next step is to look at how to turn it off that will help lead us to new therapeutics to prevent the occurrence of cancer.”

The paper was posted online Dec. 19 in PLOS ONE.

 

 

 

 

UofL leads new study to map disease genes in horses

UofL leads new study to map disease genes in horses

Ted Kalbfleisch, Ph.D.

Morris Animal Foundation has awarded a three-year, $155,000 grant to a team of Kentucky and Danish researchers to build a new reference genome sequence for the domestic horse. The sequence will be a much needed tool for animal researchers worldwide and the equine industry in particular because it will significantly improve our ability to understand the role of genetics in animal health and well being.

Ted Kalbfleisch, Ph.D., of the University of Louisville Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is the principal investigator on the grant. He will be joined in the research with Ludovic Orlando, Ph.D., of the Centre for GeoGenetics at the National History Museum, University of Copenhagen; and James MacLeod, V.M.D., Ph.D., of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky.

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

“In 2009, Morris Animal Foundation helped fund the first genome reference sequence for the domestic horse,” Kalbfleisch said. “We intend to build on this earlier work. In the past five years, there have been dramatic improvements in sequencing technology as well as the computational hardware and algorithms required to analyze the data generated by the technology. Therefore, we now have the tools necessary to vastly improve the reference genome for the horse.”

The current reference genome for the horse, known as “EquCab2,” has been beneficial in studying horses and their genetic predisposition to disease, but it is not without its shortcomings, Kalbfleisch said.

“The horse research community is working to understand the relationship among genomic structure, variation found within it and complex diseases and traits in the domestic horse,” he said. “The EquCab2 reference genome was developed prior to the development of today’s highly sophisticated technology.

“With the application of new high-throughput technologies we have available today, we will map the genome with a focus on what is known as the ‘GC-rich regulatory regions.’”

These GC-rich regulatory regions control how genes are expressed (turned on) in order to participate in normal cellular processes. This work will enable scientists to better catalog genetic variation in these regions and understand how it affects health and performance.

“We expect our research to have substantial impact because the horse research community has actively moved to the translational application of genomics in examining important questions in equine science,” Kalbfleisch said. “The improved reference genome we will map will directly improve both the quality and productivity of research being carried out in the equine industry.”

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About Morris Animal Foundation
Morris Animal Foundation is a nonprofit organization that invests in science to advance animal health. The Foundation is a global leader in funding scientific studies for companion animals, horses and wildlife. Since its founding in 1948, Morris Animal Foundation has invested more than $92 million toward 2,300 studies that have led to significant breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatments, preventions and cures for animals. Learn more at www.MorrisAnimalFoundation.org.

Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear launches Horses and Hope campaign for new cancer screening van

Churchill Downs, Kroger provide initial gifts totaling $115,000; van based at UofL Kentucky Cancer Program will screen for 7 cancer types

First Lady Jane Beshear on Jan. 6, along with representatives from the Kentucky Cancer Program, the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center and KentuckyOne Health, launched a new Horses and Hope campaign to raise $1 million for a mobile unit to provide free or significantly reduced cost cancer screenings to underserved populations across Kentucky.

To start strong out of the gate, Mrs. Beshear announced a $90,000 commitment from Churchill Downs and a $25,000 donation from Kroger for the new van.

“For years, the Horses and Hope program has been one of the driving forces behind the portable mammography unit that travels throughout the state offering breast cancer screenings and promoting the message that early detection saves lives,” Mrs. Beshear said. “We now have the opportunity to expand these services to screen for six additional forms of cancer, and continue our efforts to improve the health and wellness of Kentuckians throughout the Commonwealth.”

Kentucky has the highest incidence and death rates in the nation for several cancers, with an overall cancer incidence rate that is 14 percent greater than the national average. The new van will focus on educating Kentuckians about cancer prevention, and offer screenings for seven cancer types, including breast, cervical, colon, lung, prostate, skin and head/neck.

“When it comes to cancer, the people of our state suffer dearly,” said Dr. Donald Miller, director of the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health. “Through the First Lady’s leadership with Horses and Hope, we have been able to bring early detection about breast cancer to women throughout the state. Once we have this new van on the road, we will be able to have the same impact on so many more people, with the very achievable goal of reducing cancer deaths in Kentucky.”

“KentuckyOne has made it a priority to transform the health of the communities we serve with a special focus on vulnerable populations,” said Mark Milburn, Vice President of Oncology Services, KentuckyOne Health. “Through our partnership with the First Lady and Horses and Hope, the Kentucky Cancer Program and the University of Louisville, we have the resources available to dramatically reduce disparities in health access and enhance the health of our communities throughout the state.”

The custom-built coach will be 40 feet in length, with an exterior design featuring a Horses and Hope theme and acknowledgment of project partners. The interior will include a reception area with monitors for educational videos, patient changing rooms, a patient examination room with exam table, digital mammography equipment, space for supportive laboratory services and a passenger cab area. A motorized retractable awning on the outside of the coach will provide expanded space for patient reception, registration, and education.

Services and screenings will be delivered through the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, which has a Nationally Accredited Breast Center licensed by the American College of Radiology, KentuckyOne Health, and supported by the Kentucky Cancer Program.

“Our mission is to educate the people of Kentucky about cancer screening and prevention,” said Connie Sorrell, director of the Kentucky Cancer Program at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. “The expansion of screenings and educational materials that will be available through this new, modern van should significantly enhance the lives of literally thousands of people throughout the Commonwealth.”

Horses and Hope

In 2008, the First Lady’s office partnered with the Kentucky Cancer Program to create Horses and Hope. The program’s mission is to increase breast cancer awareness, education, screening and treatment referral among Kentucky’s horse industry workers and their families.

Horses and Hopehas hosted several breast cancer race days at Kentucky racetracks in the past six years, reaching nearly 1 million race track and horse show fans and educating nearly 16,000 equine employees. The program has screened nearly 700 workers and detected breast cancer in two individuals, both of whom have received treatment.

For more information and donation opportunities, visit the official Horses and Hope website at http://www.horsesandhope.org/.

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About the Kentucky Cancer Program: The Kentucky Cancer Program is the state mandated cancer control program jointly administered by the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville and the Lucille Parker Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky.  The mission of the Kentucky Cancer Program is to reduce cancer incidence and mortality by promoting cancer education, research and service.  For more information, visit our website, www.kycancerprogram.org or call 502-852-6318.

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, www.browncancercenter.org.

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 University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. KentuckyOne Health is proud of and strengthened by its Catholic, Jewish and academic heritages.

Horses and Hope logo

Horses and Hope logo
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‘Why be nice?’

Next UofL Beer with a Scientist program looks at evolution of goodness
‘Why be nice?’

Lee Dugatkin, Ph.D.

In a world where the concept of survival of the fittest rules and swimming with the sharks is touted as the way to success, humans and animals alike still perform what only can be described as great acts of kindness and altruism.

The evolutionary aspects of selflessness and doing for others will be explored in the next Beer with a Scientist program, “The evolution of goodness and justice: Why does it pay to be nice?” on Wednesday, Jan. 14, beginning at 8 p.m. at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St.

Speaking will be University of Louisville Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Biology Lee Dugatkin, Ph.D. A behavioral ecologist, evolutionary biologist and science historian, Dugatkin’s research focuses on the evolution of cooperation, the evolution of aggression and the interaction between genetic and cultural evolution. Dugatkin has authored more than 150 scientific papers and published seven books.

The question about why humans and animals perform acts of goodness has plagued scientists for generations, most notably Charles Darwin in the 1850s as he developed his theory of evolution through natural selection.

“Indeed, Darwin worried that the goodness he observed in nature could be the Achilles’ heel of his theory,” Dugatkin said. “Ever since then, scientists and other thinkers have engaged in a fierce debate about the origins of goodness that has dragged politics, philosophy and religion into what remains a major question for evolutionary biology.”

The Beer with a Scientist program began in 2014 and is the brainchild of University of Louisville cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D. Once a month, the public is invited to Louisville’s Against the Grain brewpub for exactly what the title promises: beer and science.

Beverly created the monthly series as a way to connect with people who don’t have scientific backgrounds but want to know about scientific topics. “We lose sight of the fact that most people have never even met a Ph.D., never talked to one,” he said. “(However) whenever I go someplace, if I strike up a conversation at a bar and I tell someone what I do for a living, they always have questions. It leads to a whole conversation.”

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UofL sole site in Kentucky testing investigational device for emphysema

UofL sole site in Kentucky testing investigational device for emphysema

Tanya Wiese, D.O., director of the UofL Interventional Pulmonary Program

The University of Louisville has launched a research trial to study an investigational medical device designed to aid patients with emphysema by shutting off the diseased part of the lung. UofL is the only site in Kentucky among 14 nationwide testing the device.

The Zephyr Endobronchial Valve (EBV) is a one-way valve that blocks off diseased lung sections to inhaled air but allows trapped air already inside the area to escape. This enables the collapse of the diseased part of the lung, allowing for the healthier parts of the lung to expand.

Emphysema, a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is an ongoing, progressive disease of the lower respiratory tract in the lungs. It is a seriously disabling disease with the potential for major complications and is often eventually fatal.

The symptoms of emphysema include shortness of breath and wheezing, an abnormal whistling sound made by the lungs during breathing. It is usually caused by smoking or other long-term exposure to inhaled irritants such as air pollution, chemicals, manufacturing fumes or small particles such as coal dust.

The randomized study, known as the LIBERATE study, is investigating the safety and effectiveness of the EBV for treating emphysema symptoms as compared to a current standard medical therapy program alone. Tanya Wiese, D.O., director of the Interventional Pulmonary Program, is principal investigator of the UofL study.

“The Zephyr EBV’s novel mechanism of action shows promise to help the healthy parts of the lung expand and reduce the effect of the disease,” Wiese said. “While not a cure, we believe this device could bring relief and improved quality of life to our patients with emphysema.”

The EBV can be placed by a doctor in a diseased section of the lungs using bronchoscopy, a procedure to access the lungs using a small tube with a camera on the end. With bronchoscopy, a physician can reach the airways in the lung by passing the tube through either the mouth or nose so invasive surgery is not required.

The problem of emphysema is particularly acute in Kentucky. The American Lung Association estimates that more than 56,000 Kentuckians, or 13 percent of the population, have emphysema, making the incidence of emphysema in Kentucky one of the highest in the United States.

Enrollment in the study is expected to be completed by the end of 2015 and patients will be followed for three years. To schedule an appointment to be screened for inclusion or for more information, contact Crissie DeSpirito at 502-852-0026 or crissie.despirito@louisville.edu. Additional information on the LIBERATE study is available on the national clinical trials website, ClinicalTrials.gov, using the Clinical Trials Identifier NCT01796392 or by calling 1-888-248-LUNG.

The other trial sites are Arizona Pulmonary Specialists, Cleveland Clinic, Duke University Medical Center,  Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Temple University Hospital, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, University of Pittsburg Medical Center, The Mayo Clinic, University of California at Davis Medical Center,  University of California, San Francisco and University of Southern California.

The study is sponsored by Pulmonx Inc., a pulmonology-focused medical device company headquartered in Redwood City, California.

UofL geriatrics to help co-host free long-term care meeting

UofL geriatrics to help co-host free long-term care meeting

The University of Louisville Division of Geriatrics, a part of the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, will help host a town hall meeting on long-term care.

The AMDA Foundation, in partnership with the City of Louisville, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau and UofL, will host the “AMDA Foundation Town Hall: Learning About Quality Long-Term Care for You & Your Loved Ones,” 12:30-2 p.m., Saturday, March 21, at the Kentucky International Convention Center, 221 S. Fourth St.

Admission is free but RSVPs are required athttp://bit.ly/AMDATownHall.

Individuals interested in learning about taking care of loved ones in long-term care, long-term care for themselves, or caring for elders in general are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to interact with leading health care experts.

A panel of long-term care experts who not only treat patients in long-term care, but have made tough decisions related to long-term care and their families will give brief presentations on their experiences in the roles of both professionals and family members. The panel comprises long-term care medical directors, physicians and nurses from UofL’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and other long-term care providers along with a representative from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s office. Following brief presentations, the audience will be encouraged to engage panel members and ask questions.

“The key to providing quality long-term care is not solely educated and experienced medical professionals,” said AMDA Foundation President Paul Katz, M.D. “It’s open communication and engagement between those professionals and proactive patients and families. We invite residents of Louisville and the surrounding area to the town hall not only to learn, but to begin the conversations vital to providing our loved ones with the highest quality of care.”

This event is being held in conjunction with AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine’s Annual Conference 2015. The AMDA Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance the quality of life for persons in post-acute and long-term care.  For more information, visit the AMDA website.

 

 

Recent journal article echoes UofL professor's concerns on e-cigarettes

A University of Louisville professor who is the lead author of the American Heart Association’s policy statement on e-cigarettes has raised the same type of concerns expressed in a recent New England Journal of Medicine showing that e-cigarette vapor can contain cancer-causing formaldehyde at levels up to 15 times higher than regular cigarettes.

Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar, the Smith and Lucile Gibson Chair in Medicine at the University of Louisville, chaired a 10-member American Heart Association panel of experts in formulating the association's first-ever policy statement on e-cigarettes released in August 2014. The article's findings echo the concerns raised by Bhatnagar and the group over what is still unknown about e-cigarettes.

Bhatnagar's voices his concerns in the video shown here.

"People need to know that e-cigarettes are unregulated and there are many variables that we don’t know about them," Bhatnagar says. "Recent studies raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation’s youth, and could re-normalize smoking in our society.”

Because e-cigarettes contain nicotine, they are tobacco products and should be subject to all laws that apply to these products, according to recommendations in the policy statement. The association also calls for strong new regulations to prevent access, sales and marketing of e-cigarettes to youth, and for more research into the product’s health impact.

 

The article, “Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols,” is available at http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMc1413069.

 

Darryl Kaelin

Darryl Kaelin
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Steve Williams

Steve Williams
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University of Louisville announces two new endowed chairs in neurological surgery

The University of Louisville Department of Neurological Surgery has established two endowed chairs focused on physical medicine and rehabilitation, underscoring the department’s commitment to patient healing and quality of life.

Darryl L. Kaelin, M.D., has been named the University of Louisville Endowed Chair for Stroke and Brain Injury Rehabilitation. Kaelin specializes in neuro-rehabilitation with a focus on traumatic brain injury and stroke. He serves as chief of the division of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Kaelin obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He completed his specialty training at the Medical College of Virginia where he was chief resident. Prior to assuming his current positions at UofL, Kaelin served as medical director of the Acquired Brain Injury Program at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, a catastrophic care hospital for people with spinal cord and brain injuries. While at the Shepherd Center, he also served as the medical director of Brain Injury Research in Emory University’s School of Medicine.

Steven R. Williams, M.D., has been appointed The Owsley Brown Frazier Endowed Chair in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Williams specializes in spinal cord medicine including activity-based therapies and functional recovery, prevention of secondary effects of paralysis, consumer education, advocacy and emerging technologies. He is director of the spinal cord medicine program.

Williams was previously chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk and completed his residency at the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation at New York University School of Medicine.

“The expertise that Dr. Kaelin and Dr. Williams bring to the department is of great benefit to our patients and patient families across the country who will be positively influenced by their work. The endowed chairs will advance the valuable research and education into rehabilitation of spinal cord and head injuries that is ongoing at University of Louisville and Frazier Rehabilitation and Neuroscience Center,” said Warren Boling, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Both endowed positions became effective Dec. 1, 2014.

Alumnus comes back to Louisville to discuss organ transplantation

Alumnus comes back to Louisville to discuss organ transplantation

Sander Florman, M.D.

Kentucky to the World, a Louisville-based series of lectures showcasing individuals with strong Kentucky connections who are well-known in their fields, will present a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine who today is director of the Recanti/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

Sander S. Florman, M.D., will discuss the ins and outs of organ transplantation as well as highlights of his growing-up years in Louisville and his career at 6:30 p.m., March 12. The event will be held at the Henry Clay Building, 604 S. Third St.

Tickets are $25 per person and include a pre-lecture reception at 5:30 p.m. featuring appetizers by Wiltshire Pantry and a cash bar. Tickets are not available at the door but can be purchased in advance at www.kentuckytotheworld.org.

Following graduation from St. Francis School, Florman received a bachelor degree from Brandeis University before returning to earn his medical degree at UofL in 1994. His career has taken him to New Orleans where he was director of liver transplantation at Tulane University Hospital. After severe damage from Hurricane Katrina caused the hospital to shut down in 2005, he oversaw rebuilding the transplant program from the ground up. Less than six months after the storm, the hospital and its transplant program reopened, with patient volume returning to pre-hurricane levels a few months later.

He joined Mount Sinai in 2009. Florman is a member of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, the American Society of Transplantation and the American College of Surgeons. He has authored nine book chapters and more than 75 publications.

Hats for Hope1

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Hats for Hope supports breast cancer patient care with Derby style

Twelfth annual event set for April 16 to benefit UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center
Hats for Hope supports breast cancer patient care with Derby style

Hats for Hope has raised more than $500,000 over the past 11 years to support breast cancer patient care through its signature pre-Derby silent auction cocktail event. The 12th Annual Hats for Hope in 2015 will feature approximately 300 new and gently worn designer Kentucky Derby hats as well as 100 auction packages including gift baskets, jewelry, gift certificates, trips and more.

Hats for Hope will be held Thursday, April 16, from 6-9:30 p.m. at Triple Crown Conference Center, 1776 Plantside Dr.

“We have more hats this year than ever, so people are sure to find a few favorites as well as gift packages and tickets to favorite sporting events. Tickets go fast, so it is recommended that ticket purchases be made early,” said Ann Mudge, 2015 event chair.

Tickets are $30 in advance or $40 the day of the event. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit hatsforhopelouisville.org.

Hats for Hope has grown from a small group of volunteers creating a corporate fundraiser to a premiere event and Louisville tradition to kick off the Derby season. The event celebrates survivorship, friendship, fun and fashion, with 100 percent of event proceeds supporting breast cancer patient care through the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health. The Resource Center provides a peaceful environment for cancer patients to learn, relax and heal emotionally. Last year, the event netted $60,000 supporting the cause.

In addition to the silent auction, guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and desserts, a complimentary specialty cocktail and a cash bar. Attendees also will enjoy trying on hats and posing for photographs with their friends on the Hats for Hope Pink Carpet. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of moving stories of hope and survival from cancer survivors.

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer. Nationally, an estimated 182,460 new cases of invasive breast cancer will occur among women this year and over 40,000 will die of the disease. Breast cancer does not only affect the patient but also has a devastating impact on the families of those whose loved ones are diagnosed with the disease. Supporting Hats for Hope helps reduce the burden this disease has on our community.

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, www.browncancercenter.org.

UofL appoints social work faculty member to lead Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging

UofL appoints social work faculty member to lead Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging

Anna Faul, D.Litt., has been named the executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging

The associate dean of the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work has been named executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging at UofL.

Anna C. Faul, D.Litt., was named executive director by the UofL Board of Trustees at their meeting on Feb. 5.  Her appointment became effective Feb. 10. She will continue to serve as associate dean of the Kent School.

The Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging (ISHOA) was established by the Board in September 2014 to examine the needs of the growing population over age 65. The institute is interdisciplinary, including faculty, staff and students from nearly every school and college comprising the University of Louisville, including arts and sciences, dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, public health and social work.

“Through this institute, the University of Louisville will grow the knowledge base related to the aging process, not just biologically, but also in terms of function, environment, culture and socio-economic aspects,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs at UofL. “The need for multi-disciplinary approaches to examine issues that our aging population faces is significant because no issue stands on its own; all are inter-related from a health, social science, legal and policy perspective. Dr. Faul has the background and insight to lead this effort.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging and believe it will become a transformative national leader in improving the aging experience,” Faul said.

“Our goal is to change current environments into livable aging communities where the science of aging is understood and where adults who are aging can lead quality lives. As a transdisciplinary scientist I believe that this Institute is poised to create synergy in the currently fragmented system of aging initiatives.”

Faul is a tenured full professor who came to UofL in 2000 as assistant professor of social work. She became associate dean of academic affairs at the Kent School of Social Work in 2003. She also is a Hartford Faculty Scholar of the Gerontological Social Work Initiative, a national effort of the John A. Hartford Foundation to address gaps in social work education and research around the health and well-being of older adults. Faul has held a joint appointment as research associate and distinguished professor in the Department of Social Work of the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, since 2012.

Faul has won numerous grants throughout her career from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, Kentucky Department of Aging and Independent Living, Passport Health Care, New York Academy of Medicine, Kentucky Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and other sources. Her research focuses on five areas in the field of aging and management of chronic disease:

  • The high prevalence and disproportionate impact of chronic health conditions on marginalized people in society
  • The lack of health self-management and prevention programs that address cultural and complex community influences on people’s health
  • The need for sophisticated effective health behavior and health care utilization
  • The need for trans-disciplinary researchers and practitioners to help fill the workforce gap for an aging society
  • The need for reforming long-term care and the promotion of “aging in place,” the concept of living out later years in the home with sufficient care provided rather than in a retirement home or health care facility

Faul serves as co-chair of the Educational Outcomes Assessment Track of the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting agency of social work education. She also serves on the CSWE Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education. At UofL, she serves on the Delphi Center Advisory Board, Graduate Deans Advisory Council, Provost Budget Task Force and Academic Program Review Committee, among others.

Prior to joining UofL, Faul was on the faculty of the Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, South Africa. She also has past experience as a researcher with the Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, and as a social work clinician in private practice. She earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Rand Afrikaans University.

Financial workshop aims to help cancer caregivers

Financial workshop aims to help cancer caregivers

As they sort through medical care and health insurance issues, patients with cancer also may encounter financial stress for themselves and their families. A March 6 workshop about health-related financial services is intended for the social workers, nurses and caregivers who help them.

Dan Sherman, clinical financial consultant for Mercy Health’s Lacks Cancer Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., will present “Financial Navigation Services for Patients in the Oncology Setting: Moving Beyond the Basics.”

The University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work and Baptist Health Louisville co-sponsor the 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. event in the Cancer Resource Center Conference Room of the Charles and Mimi Osborn Cancer Center, Baptist Health Louisville, 4003 Kresge Way.

The registration deadline is Feb. 28 at http://uofl.me/KentSchoolContEd. The workshop is free, although continuing education units are available for social workers for $20.

Sherman will discuss the psychological impact of financial distress, financial counseling services for patients and solutions for financially vulnerable patients.

He is founder and president of The NaVectis Group, a consulting company that helps oncology providers put financial navigation programs into effect.

For more information, contact Karen Kayser at 502-852-1946 or karen.kayser@louisville.edu

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For additional information, contact raiseRED at raisered1@gmail.com.

 

Coping with stress discussed March 5

Coping with stress discussed March 5

Eric Russ, Ph.D.

A University of Louisville psychologist will present a public talk that provides information on how to cope with stress.

“Tips and Tools for Coping with Stress” will be presented by Eric Russ, Ph.D., Thursday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Road. Admission is free.

The lecture is a part of the “Building Hope” public lecture series sponsored by the University of Louisville Depression Center, Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education.

Russ will provide participants with strategies to improve the ability to cope with a wide range of stressful situations, from those occurring in daily life to stress that is a result of traumatic events.

Russ is assistant professor in UofL’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He specializes in working with anxiety disorders and with people who have experienced traumatic stress. He earned his undergraduate degree in psychology and anthropology from Emory University and received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Emory University.  He completed a clinical internship at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and a post-doctoral fellowship in traumatic stress at Rush University Medical Center.

Russ serves as Director of the Veterans Treatment Program, which focuses on treating National Guard veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health difficulties.

For more information, contact the Depression Center at 502-588-4886.

Save the date now for health career information later

Free September workshop provides information for minority students on health careers
Save the date now for health career information later

Increasing the number of people of color in the health professions workforce is the goal of a free day-long event hosted by the University of Louisville Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Hyatt Regency Louisville, 320 W. Jefferson St.

The 2015 College Student Development Program and Student Recruitment Fair is open to college students and their families, pre-health advisers, college and university administrators and others involved in increasing the numbers of racial and ethnic minority students in health professions schools – medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, graduate biomedical sciences and allied health, among others. The event is part of the 2015 Annual Meeting of the National Association of Medical Minority Educators Inc. (NAMME)

At the event, college students and undergraduate pre-health advisors will be provided with information on various health professions, meet one-on-one with representatives from health professions schools and learn about entrance requirements and application processes for admission.

Participating institutions are being recruited and will come from throughout the United States, said Michael L. Rowland, Ph.D., annual meeting chair and associate dean for diversity initiatives in the UofL School of Medicine.

“Students and faculty attending past NAMME recruitment fairs have been able to meet with approximately 50 colleges and universities from throughout the country, and we anticipate that the 2015 event will be equally robust,” Rowland said.

Health professions schools wishing to participate in the fair should contact Rowland at mlrowl02@louisville.edu or 502-852-1864.

Students and advisors wishing to attend can learn more by emailing HSCODI@louisville.edu or online at http://nammenational.org/

###

About National Association of Medical Minority Educators Inc.:
NAMME is a national organization dedicated to developing and sustaining productive relationships as well as action-oriented programs among national, state and community stakeholders working to ensure racial and ethnic diversity in all of the health professions. NAMME also seeks to provide critical guidance and professional development opportunities for individuals dedicated to these efforts and the students they serve.

 

 

Race in medicine and biomedical research discussed March 11

Race in medicine and biomedical research discussed March 11

John Chenault

John Chenault,associate professor and medical librarian, School of Medicine, and instructor, Department of Pan African Studies, at the University of Louisville will present “The Invention of Race and its Misuse in Medicine and Biomedical Research,” a lunchtime lecture exploring how the concept of race has been invented and misused in relation to medicine and medical research.

The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, March 11, at the Health Sciences Auditorium in Kornhauser Library.

Scientific research provides substantial evidence that there is no genetic or biological basis for our social understanding of race. The use of race in biomedical research has, for decades, been a source of social controversy. However, recent events, such as the adoption of racially targeted pharmaceuticals, have raised the profile of the race issue. In addition, we are entering an era in which genomic research is increasingly focused on the nature and extent of human genetic variation, often examined by population, which leads to heightened potential for misunderstandings or misuse of terms concerning genetic variation and race.

Chenault will examine these issues in the context of how the concept of “race” was invented in 17th century colonial America and later emerged in the practice of medicine and the conduct of biomedical research in the centuries that followed.

He holds a master of library and information science degree from the University of Kentucky and a master of arts degree in Pan African Studies from the University of Louisville. He is currently enrolled in the doctoral program in Pan African Studies at UofL.

 

This program is sponsored by the UofL Health Science Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The office works to promote an environment of inclusiveness through the understanding and celebration of differences in perspectives, thoughts, experiences, belief systems and cultures of UofL students, faculty and staff.

Discussion on coping with stress rescheduled for March 24

Discussion on coping with stress rescheduled for March 24
The Building Hope lecture, "Tips and Tools for Coping with Stress," has been re-scheduled to 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, because of inclement weather forecast for the Louisville area.

The lecture, originally set for March 5, will be held at Second Presbyterian Church 3701 Old Brownsboro Rd., and will be presented by University of Louisville psychologist Eric Russ, Ph.D. Admission is free.

The lecture is a part of the “Building Hope” public lecture series sponsored by the University of Louisville Depression Center, Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education.

Russ will provide participants with strategies to improve the ability to cope with a wide range of stressful situations, from those occurring in daily life to stress that is a result of traumatic events.
Russ is assistant professor in UofL’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He specializes in working with anxiety disorders and with people who have experienced traumatic stress.
He earned his undergraduate degree in psychology and anthropology from Emory University and received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Emory University.  He completed a clinical internship at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and a post-doctoral fellowship in traumatic stress at Rush University Medical Center.

Russ serves as director of the Veterans Treatment Program, which focuses on treating National Guard veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health difficulties.

For more information, contact the Depression Center at 502-588-4886.

Booze’s impact on society discussed at March Beer with a Scientist event

Booze’s impact on society discussed at March Beer with a Scientist event

Gavin Arteel, Ph.D.

It appears inevitable that an event with the word “beer” in its title would discuss the impact alcohol has on society

That’s what is happening Wednesday, March 18, as Beer with a Scientist addresses “The good, the bad and the blurry: How has alcohol shaped society?” Alcoholic beverages are almost ubiquitous worldwide. This presentation will explain some of the biologic effects of alcohol, as well as its role in the development of human society.

The University of Louisville event will be held at 8 p.m. at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St.

Speaking will be Gavin Arteel, Ph.D., professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at UofL. Arteel and his lab’s research interests are focused on chronic liver disease, including acute and chronic alcohol-induced liver injury, the priming of the inflammatory response in liver, the sensitization of cytotoxic cell killing in liver and the mechanisms of hepatic regeneration and remodeling.

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

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged. Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

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

 

Match Day 2015 starts future physicians on their professional journey

Event that matches medical students to residencies set for March 20
Match Day 2015 starts future physicians on their professional journey

Students are waiting for noon to strike before opening the envelopes telling them where they have matched in this photo from the 2014 Match Day program.

Approximately 160 fourth-year students in the University of Louisville School of Medicine will take part in Match Day, the nationally observed event that matches graduating medical students to the residency programs they will complete after graduation.

Match Day in Louisville will be held Friday, March 20, at the Greater Louisville Medical Society, 101 W. Chestnut St. Doors open at 10 a.m.

Match Day is a joyous, exciting event for medical students and their families, as all students receive an envelope at noon Eastern Standard Time, open it and find out where their professional journey as a medical doctor will take them.

The process begins months before. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) provides a uniform process for matching medical school applicants’ preferences for residency positions with residency programs’ preferences for applicants.

Following interviews with their choices of residency programs, fourth-year medical students submit those preferences to the NRMP. The residency programs do likewise, submitting their preferences for applicants to the NRMP. A matching algorithm then uses those preferences to place individuals into positions, and all matches throughout the United States are announced at the same time on Match Day.

 

 

UofL is first to launch free open access internal medicine education series

LouisvilleLectures.org provides online medical lectures to anyone
UofL is first to launch free open access internal medicine education series

The home page of LouisvilleLectures.org features links to online lectures and additional multimedia in internal medicine.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville Department of Medicine has launched what is believed to be the first open-access internal medicine education online community in the United States.

LouisvilleLectures.org provides free evidenced-based medical education lectures that are available to anyone. The project was developed by resident physicians in internal medicine – physicians who have received their medical degrees but are still in training before practicing on their own. The lectures are presented by faculty from the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

The project makes internal medicine didactic lectures, grand rounds and other special lectures easily accessible to UofL residents and for the education of medical students, physicians and other medical professionals everywhere. Over 40 lectures are already online, attracting more than 1,400 subscribers from over 100 countries, with over 25,000 views.

The LouisvilleLectures.org program was developed under the leadership of Jennifer Koch, M.D., program director of UofL’s internal medicine residency program with support from Jesse Roman, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine. Internal medicine resident physician Michael Burk, M.D. serves as the founder and managing director of the site along with a team of resident physicians including Laura Bishop, M.D., Brady Wright, M.D., Chris Migliore, M.D., Shanna Barton, M.D. and chief medical resident Ishan Mehta, M.D.

“We have faculty at the UofL School of Medicine who are extremely knowledgeable and amazing teachers. Why keep this knowledge to ourselves, when we can contribute to the international community of medical education?” Koch said. “Our goal is to teach the world medicine.”

The effort is part of the international #FOAMed movement.  Advocates of #FOAMed seek to accelerate medical knowledge sharing.

The hashtag refers to the concept of Free Open Access “Meducation” (medical education), first promoted at the 2012 International Conference on Emergency Medicine in a lecture by Mike Cadogan, an emergency medicine physician, educator and digital media enthusiast from Australia. Frustrated by the resistance of many physicians and medical educators to the serious potential of social media, he decided to rebrand what he and others were doing online as a form of continuing education.

"We've actively managed to engage a large group of researchers and significant academics who are moving away from writing textbooks and journal articles to doing more in the online arena," Cadogan said. "That's lending a sense of credence to what we're doing."

"The journals are still an essential part of the culture we work in," he allowed, but medical education is starting to be influenced by the open source and open content trends on the Internet, where "you take all the simple stuff, all the basic knowledge, and make it free."

While never intended to replace traditional medical education, #FOAMed efforts such as LouisvilleLectures.org will greatly augment the availability and access of quality medical education programs.

Christina Durham

Christina Durham
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Michael Faurest

Michael Faurest
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Two Louisvillians named to James Graham Brown Cancer Center Advisory Board

Christina Durham and Michael Faurest, two noted Kentucky business people, have been elected to the Regional Cancer Center Corporation for the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Durham is the Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for NetTango  Inc., a web solutions company that provides web strategy consulting and designs and builds interactive websites, web applications and integrated solutions. Durham has been with NetTango since 1999. Prior to that she was with Humana Military Healthcare Services Inc. as a network development manager.

Durham is a two-time alumna from the University of Louisville, having earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and her Master of Business Administration.

Faurest is a Principal with Brown Faurest, a financial planning organization focusing on advanced planning for business owners and families. Faurest founded Faurest Investments and Advisory, a wealth management firm in Chicago. Prior to that, he worked at Merrick Ventures and SHI in Chicago.

Faurest earned his Bachelor of Arts in Finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and his Masters of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Match Day 2015

"Screaming in a positive way..." "A celebration..." "Excitement, anxiety, so many emotions..." "No. 1 choice!"

UofL geriatricians join Beshear for bill signing

MOST legislation creates new guarantees for end-of-life decisions
UofL geriatricians join Beshear for bill signing

A faculty physician and a staff member with the University of Louisville will join Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear as he signs Sentate Bill 77, legislation giving new guarantees to patients making end-of-life decisions.

The signing ceremony is set for 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, in Room 110 in the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort. Participating from UofL will be Christian Furman, M.D., vice chair of geriatric medicine in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine and a geriatrician with University of Louisville Physicians-Geriatrics, and Mary Romelfanger, R.N., with UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health Optimal Aging.

Under the new bill, an end-of-life order known as “medical order for scope of treatment,” or MOST, will be allowed in Kentucky. The legislation will create a form designed by the state Board of Medical Licensure to specifically direct the type of treatment a patient would like to have and how much medical intervention they want during end-of-life care. MOST forms are already in use in 32 other states.

Unlike advance directives, the orders are considered to be physician’s orders and are signed by both the patient or the patient’s legal surrogate as well as the physician.

Furman said that while many physicians discuss end-of-life care with their patients and families and document it, the information is often buried deep in the chart and is not easily accessible in an emergency situation.

"This issue comes to play on a daily basis," said Furman, who testified on behalf of the bill in February. “This legislation will ensure patients' wishes are honored when they have severe chronic illnesses. It will ensure patients have a voice."

 

Joining Furman and Romelfanger at the bill signing ceremony will be Joe Rotella, M.D., CMO of American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care, Mary Ellen Green with Hosparus and Bonnie Lazor, M.D., with Vintage Care, all of Louisville.

Clinical “calculators” seriously overrate heart attack risk

Clinical “calculators” seriously overrate heart attack risk

Most “risk calculators” used by clinicians to gauge a patient’s chances of suffering a heart attack and guide treatment decisions markedly overestimate the likelihood of an attack, according to results of a study by investigators at Johns Hopkins, the University of Louisville and other institutions.

Physicians commonly use standardized risk-assessment systems, or algorithms, to decide whether someone needs care with daily aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs or just watchful waiting and follow-up exams. These algorithms calculate heart attack probability using a combination of factors such as gender, age, smoking history, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and diabetes, among others.

The new findings, reported in Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest four out of five widely used clinical calculators seriously overrate risk, including the most recent one unveiled in 2013 by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology amid considerable controversy about its predictive accuracy.

The results of the study, the research team says, underscore the dangers of over-reliance on standardized algorithms, and highlight the importance of individualized risk assessment factoring additional variables into a patient’s score, such as other medical conditions, family history of early heart disease, level of physical activity and the presence and amount of calcium buildup in the heart’s vessels.

“Our results reveal a concerning lack of predictive accuracy in risk calculators, highlighting an urgent need to reexamine and fine-tune our existing risk assessment techniques,” says senior investigator Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.

“The take-home message here is that as important as guidelines are, they are just a blueprint, a starting point for a conversation between patient and physician about the risks and benefits of different treatment or preventive strategies,” Blaha adds.

Those treatment and preventive strategies are impossible to develop without individualized consultation with patients, says Andrew DeFilippis, M.D., M.Sc., co-director of cardiovascular disease prevention and medical director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at the University of Louisville, and a co-author of the study.  “What the data tell us is that current risk assessment algorithms provide the ‘jumping-off point’ for physicians to utilize in starting the process to determine a patient’s risk,” DeFilippis says. “Especially when these assessments indicate marginal or great risk, it is crucial for physicians to factor in other variables such as family medical history, calcium buildup in the vessels and lifestyle factors, among others, to obtain the truest picture of the patient’s condition. Only then can the physician develop prevention or treatment strategies that have the greatest chance of success.”

While prevention and treatment decisions are straightforward in some patients, many have borderline risk scores that leave them and their clinicians in a gray zone of uncertainty regarding therapy. Under the American Heart Association’s most recent guidelines, people who face a 7.5 percent risk of suffering a heart attack within 10 years are urged to consider preventive therapy with a cholesterol-lowering medication.

Risk overestimation could be particularly problematic for patients with marginal scores as it can artificially push a person with a relatively low risk profile into the “consider treatment” group. This is why patients with such borderline scores could benefit from further risk assessment including tests such as CT scans that visualize the degree of calcification in the arteries of the heart.

Additional testing could be a much-needed tie-breaker in all too common ‘to treat or not to treat’ dilemmas,” says study co-author Roger Blumenthal, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. “Such testing should be considered in all patients with marginal risk scores — those in whom the decision to treat with long-term statin and aspirin remains unclear.”

To check the accuracy of each one of five risk calculators, the investigators compared the number of predicted versus actual heart attacks and strokes among a group of more than 4,200 patients, ages 50 to 74, followed over a decade. None of the patients had evidence of atherosclerotic heart disease at the beginning of the study. Atherosclerotic heart disease or atherosclerosis — a condition marked by the buildup of fatty plaque and calcium deposits inside the major blood vessels — is the main cause of heart attacks and strokes, claiming the lives of some 380,000 people in the United States each year.

Four out of five risk scores analyzed in the study overestimated risk by anywhere from 37 percent to 154 percent in men and 8 percent to 67 percent in women. The fifth, and least flawed, risk-scoring tool overestimated risk among men by only 9 percent, but underestimated it by 21 percent among women.

The new American Heart Association calculator overestimated risk by 86 percent in men and by 67 percent in women. Thus, a man with projected risk score of 10 percent, had, in fact, a 6 percent risk of suffering a heart attack within 10 years. In the group with a risk score between 7.5 to 10 percent — the threshold at which initiation of stain is recommended — the actual risk was 3 percent, well beyond the level at which statin use should be considered.

The least flawed prediction of heart attack risk was generated by the so-called Reynolds risk score calculator, which underestimated overall risk by 3 percent. In addition to age, gender, smoking, diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, the Reynolds score factors in levels of C-reactive protein — a marker of systemic and blood-vessel inflammation — and family history of early heart disease.

While not the subject of the current study, the researchers say they believe the overestimation of risk stems from the fact that all calculators, including the newest one, use as risk reference data obtained decades ago when more people were having heart attacks and strokes.

“The less-than-ideal predictive accuracy of these calculators may be a manifestation of the changing face of heart disease,” Blaha says. “Cardiac risk profiles have evolved in recent years with fewer people smoking, more people having early preventive treatment and fewer people having heart attacks or having them at an older age. In essence, baseline risk in these algorithms may be inflated.”

The Reynolds risk equation, for example, was based on data from a more recent group of patients compared with other calculators, which may explain its superior accuracy, the researchers say.

Other institutions involved in the study included University of Washington, University of Colorado, the University of California-Los Angeles and Baptist Medical Group in Miami.

The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute under grant numbers N01-HC-95159 and N01-HC-95169 and by the National Center for Research Resources under grants UL1-TR-000040 and UL1-TR-001079.

UofL physicians, KentuckyOne heart team to live stream, tweet surgery April 2

UofL physicians, KentuckyOne heart team to live stream, tweet surgery April 2

Physicians with the University of Louisville and the KentuckyOne Health Heart Care team will live stream and tweet updates from the operating room as a heart valve procedure is being performed April 2 at Jewish Hospital.

The staff anticipates that the live stream will begin around 10 a.m. To participate, go to www.kentuckyonehealth.org/ky1heartcare for the live stream or follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #KY1HeartCare.

The scheduled procedure will be a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive valve replacement for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not well enough to undergo traditional open-heart surgery.

During the TAVR procedure, a cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon work together to implant a new heart valve, called the Edwards SAPIEN XT, through a small puncture in the groin. The procedure is performed in the hybrid operating room at Jewish Hospital.

Performing the TAVR procedure will be Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Kendra Grubb, M.D. and Interventional Cardiologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine Michael Flaherty, M.D., along with the Jewish Hospital Heart Valve team. Both practice with University of Louisville Physicians.

ULP Cardiologist Lorrel Brown, M.D., also an experienced heart specialist, will be in the OR specifically to tweet during the procedure and answer questions posed on Twitter.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to take part as education, clinical care and new media come together in this unparalleled opportunity. For additional information, contact KentuckyOne Health at 502-562-7075.

 

Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL launches online guide to cancer resources

Program’s “Pathfinder” to be featured in April 1 KET call-in program
Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL launches online guide to cancer resources

The Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville has launched a new version of its cancer resource guide and moved it online.

Pathfinder, the KCP’s popular guide to cancer-related services and resources for 25 years, is now online and will be featured during a live KET call-in show on cancer at 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 1. The show will air at the culmination of the three-part series beginning March 30, “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.”

About Pathfinder online

Pathfinder now provides an easy-to-use online tool to identify cancer resources in communities, counties, the state and across the nation, said Connie Sorrell, director of the Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL.

The opening page of Pathfinder features links for “Local Resources” and “National and State Resources” so users can go directly to the geographic area they want to investigate.

“People can easily search for resources in cancer prevention, screening, treatment, survivorship and caregiving through Pathfinder,” Sorrell said. “For example, in the ‘Local Resources’ section, you simply choose a topic, select your county and a list of resources in your area will be generated to view or print.”

For information about Pathfinder and the Kentucky Cancer Program, visit www.kycancerprogram.org or call 1-877-326-1134.

About the call-in program on April 1

Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health, will join staff from the Kentucky Cancer Program and other health experts to provide information and answer questions from viewers at the conclusion of “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.”

The three-part series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee tells the complete story of cancer, from its first description in an ancient Egyptian scroll to the gleaming laboratories of modern research institutions.

At six hours, the film by Emmy and Peabody Award winner Ken Burns interweaves a sweeping historical narrative with intimate stories about contemporary patients and an investigation into the latest scientific breakthroughs that have brought the world to the brink of finding cures.

About the Kentucky Cancer Program

Established by the Kentucky Legislature in 1982, Kentucky Cancer Program is the state cancer control program with 13 regional offices located throughout the Commonwealth. The program is jointly administered by the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky. The mission is to reduce cancer incidence and mortality through education, research and service.

Updates in autism to be discussed April 16

UofL child psychiatrists will cover recent advances in understanding autism

Parents of children who are on the autism spectrum will have the opportunity to learn about recent advances in understanding the causes and detecting signs of the condition from a University of Louisville psychiatrist and a child psychiatry fellow on April 16. The physicians also will discuss updates in the treatment of autism.

“Autism 2015:  Updates and Roadmaps for Hope” will be presented by W. David Lohr, M.D. and Allison Yoder, M.D., on Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Road. Admission is free and the public is invited.

Lohr and Yoder will discuss recent advances in understanding the causes and the ability to detect signs and symptoms of autism, as well as present updates in treatment. Families also may learn steps to maximize chances for success for their children with autism.

Lohr is an assistant professor of child psychiatry in UofL’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and clinical co-director of the UofL Autism Center at Kosair Charities.

Yoder is a fifth-year fellow in child psychiatry in the UofL Department of Pediatrics.

The lecture is a part of the “Building Hope” public lecture series sponsored by the UofL Depression Center, Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education.

For more information, contact the UofL Depression Center at 502-588-4886.

W. David Lohr, M.D.

W. David Lohr, M.D.
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Allison Yoder, M.D.

Allison Yoder, M.D.
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Children with neurological disorders need flu vaccine but don’t always get it

UofL-led article published April 9 shows vaccination rate on par with those without disorders despite high risk
Children with neurological disorders need flu vaccine but don’t always get it

Michael J. Smith, M.D.

Children who have neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy are no more likely to be vaccinated against influenza than youngsters without these conditions, despite the increased risk for complications from flu these children experience. Moreover, health care providers may not be familiar with the increased risk among these patients to effectively recommend influenza vaccine.

Those are the findings of a study by a research team from the University of Louisville and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published online April 9 in the journal Vaccine.

Michael J. Smith, M.D., is an associate professor in the UofL Department of Pediatrics and pediatric infectious disease specialist with University of Louisville Physicians. Smith is lead author of the study that is the first to estimate the rates of flu vaccination among children with neurological or neurodevelopmental disorders (NNDDs).

“Our research shows that influenza vaccination in children with NNDDs is comparable to vaccination in healthy children – but both rates are suboptimal,” Smith said. “More education about the need for annual influenza vaccination is needed, both for parents and health care providers.”

Overall, 2,138 surveys were completed by parents of children with at least one high-risk condition of any kind. Of these, 1,143 were completed by parents of children with at least one NNDD and 516 by parents of children with more than one NNDD. In the survey of providers, 412 physicians participated. The researchers worked with Family Voices, a national advocacy group for children with special health care needs, and the American Academy of Pediatrics to recruit survey participants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Overall, 47 percent of parents reported that their children had received or were scheduled to receive seasonal flu vaccine; among the group of NNDD parents, the rate was only slightly higher at 50 percent.

The major driver to have a child vaccinated was not the presence of an NNDD, however, but the presence of a chronic respiratory condition, although several studies show that children with NNDDs are at increased risk of complications from flu. According to a 2013 study in the journal Pediatrics, one-third of reported pediatric influenza-related deaths between 2004 and 2012 in the United States occurred in children with NNDDs.

“The reasons for the increased severity of influenza among these children are uncertain,” Smith said. “We do know, however, that an NNDD, intellectual disability, was the most common NNDD associated with pediatric deaths during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. A better understanding of the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that influence flu vaccination of children with NNDDs such as intellectual disability is needed.”

Parents who did not vaccinate their children were asked why. More than one-third of the 1,140 respondents – 38 percent – said they had concerns about how the vaccine would affect their child. Another 32 percent expressed concerns about the safety of the vaccine.

Among the 412 physicians who participated, 74 percent recognized that children with another NNDD, cerebral palsy, were at higher risk from flu but other NNDDs were not so highly recognized as posing risk: epilepsy at 51 percent and intellectual disability at 46 percent.

Conducting the research with Smith were Georgina Peacock, M.D., and Cynthia Moore, M.D., Ph.D., of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and Timothy Uyeki, M.D., of the Influenza Division of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

University of Louisville physicians host symposium on heart disease in women

University of Louisville physicians host symposium on heart disease in women

Two of Louisville’s leading heart physicians will host a one-day symposium designed to provide the community, physicians, nurses and health professionals up-to-date information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease in women. The 2015 Louisville Symposium on Heart Disease in Women: Case Studies from the Heart of Louisville, will take place Saturday, May 16, 2015 and is open to the public.

The event, co-directed by Kendra Grubb, M.D., cardiovascular surgeon with University of Louisville Physicians, director of minimally invasive cardiac surgery for the University of Louisville at Jewish Hospital, and assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and Lorrel Brown, M.D., a cardiologist with University of Louisville Physicians, associate director of the Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship and assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine,will feature presentations, case studies and panel discussions from leading experts.

“Cardiovascular disease is often viewed as a ‘man’s disease’ but the fact is, it kills more women than men each year,” Grubb said. “This symposium will offer case-based perspectives from top physicians on the best strategies for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in women.”

The keynote address – “The One Minute Mindset” – will be given by Haley Perlus, Ph.D., peak performance consultant, author, international speaker, professor and industry leader in the psychology of helping people perform their best. Perlus is a known as a success coach with clients including members of the U.S., Canada and Australian national teams, NCAA athletes and more.

"We are excited to have Dr. Perlus as our keynote speaker,” Brown said. “Not only is she an expert in sport and exercise physiology, she also is a world-class Alpine skier. With her emphasis on translating the principles of top athletes into healthy living principles for everyday life, Dr. Perlus is a fantastic addition to our symposium this year."

The event will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart & Lung Center, part of KentuckyOne Health, in the Hank Wagner Conference Center, located on the top floor.

Admission is free to students, residents and fellows and $25 for community members. Continuing medical education credits are available for physicians ($100) and allied health professionals/nurses ($50). Registration is available at: louisvilleheartdiseasewomen.com/.

Topics will include emerging controversies in cardiovascular disease and treatments; current guidelines in the medical management of heart disease in women; cardiac risk factors in women and opportunities for implementing new prevention strategies; trends, treatments and intervention strategies of cardiovascular disease in women; the differences in risk, presentation, diagnosis, and treatment for women with atrial fibrillation; emerging data in support of specific medical recommendations and surgical procedures in management of heart disease; emerging novel approaches and strategies to treating heart, vascular and valve conditions; and utilization of surgical techniques in the treatment of heart disease in women.

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 University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. KentuckyOne Health is proud of and strengthened by its Catholic, Jewish and academic heritages.

UofL awarded $3 million to speed technologies to market

NIH grant matched with another $3.1 million to commercialize research
UofL awarded $3 million to speed technologies to market

Paula Bates, Ph.D.

The University of Louisville announced April 22 that a grant from the National Institutes of Health will combine with matching funds from the university to create a new $6.1 million initiative to commercialize discoveries made by UofL researchers.

UofL is one of just three institutions in the United States selected as a Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) by the NIH. The REACH award consists of $3 million over three years matched by an additional $3.1 million from UofL.

“The funding from the REACH grant significantly advances UofL’s ability to bridge the gap between a great idea and the marketplace,” said UofL President James R. Ramsey in announcing the award. “The university will continue to supply a robust pipeline of diverse technologies and other discoveries along with the infrastructure and expertise required for translational research. The REACH grant will provide additional resources needed to bring that research to market.”

“This award illustrates the success UofL is witnessing in its mission to become a premiere metropolitan research university,” said William M. Pierce Jr., executive vice president for research and innovation. “We know it is not enough only to make great discoveries; we must find ways to bring those discoveries to the marketplace where they will benefit the people of our city, state and beyond. This grant provides significant support to do so.”

Executive Vice President for Health Affairs David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., said the work that the grant supports is a natural outgrowth of UofL’s already demonstrated success in research. “UofL’s commitment to invest in talent and infrastructure already has paid dividends in translational research. UofL research that has led to new discoveries includes a first-in-class anticancer drug, a method to prevent organ transplant rejection, a treatment that can reverse damage caused by heart attack and a protocol that allows people with spinal cord injury to regain voluntary movement of their once paralyzed limbs. The REACH funding will enable us to translate even more of these types of new discoveries to the market.”

About the Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub grant

The REACH grant will create UofL’s “ExCITE Hub” – reflecting its function to “Expedite Commercialization, Innovation, Translation and Entrepreneurship” to increase the success rate and speed at which biomedical research is translated into products that bring a positive impact on health.

The ExCITE Hub has three major aims:

  1. Identify the most promising technologies from UofL researchers and provide funding for product definition studies;
  2. Promote the commercialization of selected products; and,
  3. Expand education, experiential and networking opportunities for stakeholders such as researchers, other faculty, students and others within the university.

Paula J. Bates, Ph.D., is principal investigator on the grant and will direct the ExCITE Hub program. Bates is an associate professor in UofL’s Department of Medicine and a researcher with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. Eugene Krentsel, Ph.D., acting director of UofL’s Office of Industry Engagement, and Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the cancer center, will serve as co-principal investigators for the program. A team of faculty entrepreneurs and technology transfer professionals also will support the mission of the hub.

“We have given the ExCITE Hub a structure that will overcome the obstacles that can impede translating research from the research bench to the marketplace,” she said. “This structure comprises five innovative features, working in concert, that make the ExCITE Hub genuinely one-of-a-kind in the field of research commercialization.”

Those features are:

  • The ExCITE Hub is a geographically focused program to expedite operations and maximize the impact on the local ecosystem.
  • An innovative governance structure has been developed to integrate achievement of the three aims of the program and “avoid the creation of silos,” Bates said.
  • The program will proactively integrate education into the approach to continue to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in research.
  • A technology development grant program in the ExCITE Hub will provide mentored direction and provide for early and continued interaction among scientists, technology transfer staff and industry consultants.
  • Emphasis will be placed on consciously improving academia-industry relationships by increasing opportunities for mutual understanding, ensuring a robust technology pipeline and responding quickly to industry needs.

The NIH selected UofL along with the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and the Long Island (N.Y.) Bioscience Hub, a consortium of Stony Brook University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory, as the three recipients of REACH funding.

REACH is based on an initiative created by the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute called the NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations. The program is a public-private partnership whose objective is to change how to identify and develop innovations with scientific and commercial potential. The effort utilizes industry-style project management to determine technologies that are poised to have the greatest potential to launch into the marketplace.

Celebrating survivorship

Beshears and Luallen lead slate of speakers at April 30 Cancer Survivors Celebration
Celebrating survivorship

UofL President James R. Ramsey, second from right, is shown with survivors of cancer at the 2014 Cancer Survivors Celebration. The 2015 event will be April 30 at 3 p.m. at the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research building.

People who have survived cancer and their loved ones and caregivers will again gather at the University of Louisville for celebration, inspiration and support at the annual Cancer Survivors Celebration. The event is set for 3 p.m., Thursday, April 30, at UofL’s Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research building, 505 S. Hancock St.

Traditionally held on the Thursday before the Kentucky Derby, it has become a highlight of the Derby Season, and attendees are invited to dress in their Derby finery. The event is sponsored by the Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL (KCP) and UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health.

Joining the event this year will be Gov. Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear and Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen. Also speaking will be UofL President James R. Ramsey and James Graham Brown Cancer Center Director Donald M. Miller, M.D., Ph.D.

“All Louisville comes together at this time of year to celebrate the traditions and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby with the world,” Ramsey said. “And we come together at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center to celebrate everyone who has faced cancer. This event is a celebration of every person who has walked through our doors.”

“This is our opportunity to celebrate the courage of our patients,” Miller said. “I am always so moved every year when see the growing number of survivors and their loved ones at this event. Their victories over cancer are why we come to work every day.”

“Each year, we dedicate time for cancer survivors to celebrate and enjoy a day of food, fun and fellowship,” said organizer Pam Temple-Jennings of the KCP. “This year, we will feature a raffle for tickets to the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Pegasus Parade and entertainment from Turner’s Circus. We also are so pleased that Gov. and Mrs. Beshear, Lt. Gov. Luallen, President Ramsey and Dr. Miller will be joining us once again.”

The Pegasus Parade will be held shortly after the survivor celebration, beginning at 5 p.m. The parade route traverses Broadway and is an easy two-block walk from the survivor celebration.

Turner’s Circus is an aerial, Cirque-du-Soleil-like troupe that incorporates gymnastics, dance and aerial acrobatics into performances set to music.

For additional information, contact the KCP at 502-852-6318 or pam.templejennings@louisville.edu.

 

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Psychiatrist recognized for work on worldview in clinical psychiatry

Allan Josephson, M.D., to receive the Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association
Psychiatrist recognized for work on worldview in clinical psychiatry

Allan Josephson, M.D.

In recognition of his work on understanding the importance of both the patient’s and the clinician’s worldview in clinical psychiatry, Allan Josephson, M.D., chief of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology in the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics, will be the 2015 recipient of the Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association.

This award recognizes individuals who have made professional contributions to the interfaces of psychiatry, religion and spirituality in research and clinical practice.

"The Department of Pediatrics is honored to have Dr. Josephson leading our Division of Pediatric Psychiatry and Psychology,” said Charles Woods, M.D., interim chair of the UofL Department of Pediatrics. “This award recognizes his longstanding personal efforts and excellence in advancing the quality of mental health services for children and families both in the Louisville area and nationally."

For more than a decade, Josephson coordinated workshops, symposia and lectures on religion, spirituality and psychiatry at the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association. These events resulted in several publications, including the “Handbook of Spirituality and Worldview in Clinical Practice,” co-edited by Josephson and John Peteet, M.D., of Harvard Medical School. The work is now used in the teaching programs of many psychiatry residencies throughout the country.

“Are there people who come in to a psychiatrist’s office who really have spiritual issues, concerns about life in a broader context? We think there are,” Josephson said. “What we tried to do is bring these ideas in front of the psychiatric community. Some of my work and that of others has been directed toward helping psychiatrists say this may be an important part of your patient’s life.”

Josephson will receive the award at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Toronto May 16-20, and will deliver the 33rd Oskar Pfister Lecture in New York in October at the American Psychiatric Association’s Institute of Psychiatric Services meeting.

 

About the award:

Oskar Pfister was a Protestant minister who regularly corresponded with Sigmund Freud on matters of psychiatry and religion. Award recipients are selected by representatives of the American Psychiatric Association, the Caucus on Religion and Psychiatry and the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Medical students pound the pavement for pediatric patients

Runners presented Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon medals to young buddies
Medical students pound the pavement for pediatric patients

UofL Medical Student David Duncan, left, ran for Sebastian Edelen, center

For the past seven years, University of Louisville medical students have run in the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon or Marathon in honor of patients with cancer and blood disorders in the university’s pediatric hematology/oncology division. This year’s runners presented their race medals to their young buddies in a special ceremony following the races on April 25 in the lobby of the Kosair Charities Clinical & Translational Research Building.

“It’s an opportunity to share yourself and your time. In doing so, you create a bond with a patient and gain a better understanding of what they go through,” said McKenzie Vater, a third-year medical student who has participated in the event for the past three years. “I train with them in mind to get through 13.1 miles of road knowing they are running a much more difficult race of their own.”

Medals4Mettle (M4M) distributes race medals earned by distance athletes to critically ill patients across the nation who are running a race of a different kind – a race for their lives. The UofL School of Medicine program is unique in that the students have the opportunity to meet with their buddies prior to the race and personally present their medals to them after running. The students often run for the same patient year after year, developing a special relationship between the students and the patients and their families.

Evan Hendricks was one of 71 UofL medical students matched with young patients for this year’s race. He ran for a little girl named Katie.

“We met three or four times and it was something I would look forward to and I hoped she would, too,” Hendricks said at the presentation ceremony. “I hope to give her some comfort and let her know that even people who don’t know you want you to do well.”

“I think this is important because it supports many of the children that are diagnosed with cancer,” said Chase Weaver, a young buddy who spoke at the presentation. “Instead of sitting in a hospital bed, they should be out playing. They should have the opportunity to get out and have fun instead of sitting in a hospital bed with IVs stuck in their arms and fingers.”

Gerard Rabalais, M.D., M.H.A., chair of the department of pediatrics at UofL, thanked the parents of the children for allowing them to participate with the medical students.

“There is far more to becoming a physician than learning from a book, studying and looking in a microscope. This is a chance for the students to see illness through a patient’s and family’s eyes. The availability of your children to partner with them, for them to get to know you and your family and to know that child, is such a special thing.”

 

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About Medals4Mettle

Medals4Mettle is an international public charity that arranges for medals donated by athletes completing distance events to be awarded to children and adults who are battling illness in hospitals around the world. Medals4Mettle has over 70 international chapters and has awarded over 40,000 medals since 2005.

Get straight talk on climate change at the next Beer with a Scientist program

So, is it real or not?
Get straight talk on climate change at the next Beer with a Scientist program

Keith R. Mountain Ph.D.

The severity of climate change as a global issue and whether humans are causing climate shifts have been hotly debated among individuals and politicians in recent years. At the next Beer with a Scientist event, a UofL scientist will discuss the science behind the issue.

Keith R. Mountain, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of the University of Louisville Department of Geography and Geosciences, will address the question, "Climate change: What's the problem and is it even real?"

Mountain’s research interests and expertise center on climatology and climate change, radiative and surface energy balances, geomorphology – the study of the evolution and configuration of landforms – glaciology and Arctic and Alpine environments.

The program begins at 8 p.m. at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. on Wednesday, May 13. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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

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

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

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

University of Louisville, KentuckyOne Health become presenting partners of SOAR

University of Louisville, KentuckyOne Health become presenting partners of SOAR

The University of Louisville and KentuckyOne Health are delivering on their promise of working to make Kentucky a healthier place through a new partnership with Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR).

UofL and KentuckyOne Health have agreed to become presenting partners of SOAR, providing more than $300,000 in support over the next three years.

SOAR was established in 2013 by Gov. Steve Beshear and Rep.  Hal Rogers and is designed to marshal the collective talents and energies of eastern Kentucky communities and citizens to address the most significant challenges confronting Appalachian Kentucky.

“At the University of Louisville, we have a public mandate to improve the lives of the people of Kentucky,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “Working with SOAR is a significant opportunity for us to partner with others throughout the state to achieve that mandate in a region of the Commonwealth that needs the most assistance.”

“We look forward to working with Gov. Beshear, Rep. Rogers and all who are associated with SOAR as we explore how best to meet the challenges of the region in terms of health, economics and general well-being,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., UofL executive vice president for health affairs. “We have worked with leaders in the region on individual projects to alleviate some of the immediate needs, especially in health care. But this is an opportunity to provide lasting solutions.”

“KentuckyOne Health facilities, physicians and care providers have a deep history serving the Appalachian region. Through our hospitals and clinics in Martin, Berea, Mount Sterling and London we are closely tied to the unique health challenges and barriers to care,” said Ruth Brinkley, president and CEO of KentuckyOne Health. “Through our relationship with UofL, now by partnering together with SOAR, we will expand our collaboration with Appalachian communities, utilizing the breadth of our patient services, wellness programs and community resources to truly make a difference.”

UofL and KentuckyOne Health entered into a partnership in 2012 with the mission of creating a healthier population and attacking some of the chronic health problems faced by the citizens of Kentucky. Together they are the largest health system in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“If we are to begin to resolve the health issues that the people of the Commonwealth face, everyone must work together,” Beshear said. “It is gratifying to see that two organizations with the stated purpose of improving the lives of people in Kentucky are taking leadership roles in the development of these critical partnerships.”

UofL and KentuckyOne Health already have significant efforts underway in the region. UofL for years has worked with Dataseam to utilize downtime on computers in schools in the region to create a supercomputer grid to speed the design process of potential anti-cancer drugs, while at the same time bringing those computers to the schools. Additionally, UofL has been very active in Remote Area Medicine programs in the region. These programs bring health care providers to underserved areas for large-scale clinics so people are able to receive care not otherwise available. Through the utilization of telemedicine, UofL neurologists have for years been assisting rural physicians with the diagnosis and treatment of strokes. UofL pediatricians are situated throughout the state, helping to fill the gaps in underserved areas.

For nearly 20 years, KentuckyOne Health facilities in Appalachia and surrounding communities have led a community-based program to provide home visits for patients following hospital discharge. Today, the Appalachian Outreach program covers 15 counties in eastern Kentucky, making contacts with more than 12,000 individuals each year. This regionally focused program provides a range of wellness support to help patients, caregivers and their families better understand their health and better manage their ongoing health and well-being.

Targeting health conditions with greatest prevalence in the region, KentuckyOne Health’s Saint Joseph Martin provides focused programs to fight prominent health conditions, notably cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Community programs include smoking prevention and cessation initiatives with local schools, a diabetes management program with Floyd County Health Department and community health fairs to check for heart disease risk factors.

“For years, both of these organizations have been supporting efforts to improve the lives of people in the region,” Rogers said. “Having them join with us so that we can hopefully multiply their individual efforts will only make the region stronger in the future.”