Dedication of UofL Hospital nurse forges strong friendship

Gretta Walters ‘truly the mom when mom can’t be there’
Dedication of UofL Hospital nurse forges strong friendship

UofL Hospital nurse Gretta Walters was nominated for a DAISY Award for exceptional nurses from The DAISY Foundation by a former patient.

Gretta Walters is “truly the mom when mom can’t be there.”

A nurse at University of Louisville Hospital, she cares for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit of the Center for Women & Infants. And she can say something a lot of people can’t say – she never dreads going to work.

 “I get to care for babies,” she said. “And I love UofL Hospital, it’s a warm, caring place to work.”

Four years ago, Gretta’s love for what she does changed the life of one of her patients, and her own. Tabby Cooper’s son was born at 26 weeks via an emergency Cesarean section. Gretta was there, doing her job, wrapping Sulli Cooper’s tiny body and placing him in an incubator, where he would live the first two months of his life.

Twenty-three weeks’ gestation is considered the age at which a baby is viable. Little Sulli beat that by three weeks, and he had a long road ahead of him. A few hours after he was stabilized, Gretta came to talk with Tabby.

“She gave me two pictures of my baby boy and told me everything about him,” Tabby said. “And she warned me of the roller coaster ride I was about to endure.”

But she would not have to ride that roller coaster alone. Gretta was there, every step of the way.

“The first few days were agonizing, when I looked at this tiny baby and I wasn’t able to help him,” Tabby said. “I was so afraid to put my hands in the box. He was so fragile. One day, Gretta asked if I’d held him. When I said no, she said ‘We’ll change that.’ She had me place my hands inside his incubator and placed his tiny two-pound body in my hands. She asked if two pounds was heavier or lighter than I imagined. He was heavier than I thought.”

Then one day, Sulli took a turn for the worse, and became very ill.

“Gretta stood by my side, holding me as I cried, not knowing what the future held,” Tabby said. “She sat across from me in the dark as I sat at his bedside, because he was not going to be without his mommy while he was sick.”

Gretta often brought Tabby magazines or books, trying to give her a break.

Eventually, he recovered, and it was finally time for him to go home. “She showed so much love to our tiny baby, and she also cared for me and my husband,” Tabby said.

But once Sulli left the hospital, that wasn’t the end of the family’s time with Gretta. The experience had forged a bond between the two, who became close friends, taking walks at the zoo or park, talking on holidays and sharing stories.

“We do a lot of things with the kids, who I love seeing,” Gretta said. “We spent months together, almost every day and night. It made us close.”

Three years later at UofL Hospital, Gretta was back at Tabby’s side again when Tabby’s triplet daughters came into the world – eight weeks early. “Once again, Gretta reminded me of the crazy ride we were in for. And there she was, encouraging me and my husband, just like before,” Tabby said.

This May, Gretta will have her own special moment as she gets married. Her flower girls will be none other than Tabby’s daughters, who were born as Gretta and her fiancé had just met.

“We talked through the night, and I told her about him,” Gretta said.

Tabby says she’ll never be able to thank Gretta enough. She recently nominated her for a DAISY Award for exceptional nurses from The DAISY Foundation.

“She showed my son, daughters and all the infants she cared for so much love and affection. She provided a tremendous amount of support to the patients, parents and their families. She is truly the mom when mom can’t be there. She is an extraordinary nurse.”

Gretta, who is from Brandenburg, Ky., said she always knew she’d be a nurse or a veterinarian from the time she was 13 years old. She doesn’t have her own children, but caring for others comes naturally for her.

“I love being a nurse,” she said. “It’s a challenge, as you never know what you are going to get. And I love being a nurse at UofL Hospital.”

She said the staff is like a second family, working as a team and spending long days and nights together, and supporting each other during rough times.

“It’s like home,” she said. “I think our patients feel that.”


AHEC programs improve Kentuckians’ health by increasing supply of health-care providers

Area Health Education Centers awarded $4.12 million continued funding
AHEC programs improve Kentuckians’ health by increasing supply of health-care providers

Kentucky AHEC offices

Kentucky ranks among the worst states for access to quality health care, and 96 of its 120 counties are medically underserved. Educating health-care providers within the state is vital to combating the shortage of health workers and is the heart of the mission of Area Health Education Centers (AHEC).  Kentucky AHEC has been awarded $4.12 million in continued funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to continue that mission through Aug. 2022.

Administered by the University of Louisville School of Medicine in collaboration with the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Kentucky AHEC has worked to improve Kentuckians’ access to health care since 1985. Kentucky AHEC is composed of eight centers that promote healthy communities and health-care delivery in the state’s regional service areas by increasing the number of health-care workers of all disciplines, particularly in underserved areas.

“The AHEC centers contribute to the education of health professionals at UofL and at other institutions throughout Kentucky. Having an adequate number of well-trained, dedicated health professionals is a vital component to reducing health disparities, increasing access to health-care and improving the health of all Kentuckians,” said Gregory Postel, M.D., interim president of the University of Louisville. “This renewed funding is assurance that these programs will continue to support health education in the Commonwealth.”

Since its inception, Kentucky AHECs have facilitated the training of medical students in primary care, in many cases, introducing the students to issues faced by patients in underserved communities. All third-year students in the UofL School of Medicine complete a four-week clinical rotation in family medicine in rural or urban underserved communities throughout the state. The Kentucky AHEC program also provides education and rotations for nursing and dental students.

Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D.

“Students gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the patients by working in these communities. It encourages then to consider practicing primary care in rural or urban underserved communities,” said Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D., vice dean for community engagement and diversity at UofL, Kentucky AHEC program director and the principal investigator of this HRSA award.

To facilitate training, AHEC staff work with the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing to identify physicians and other professionals to coordinate students’ rotations in their communities. This provides a framework for the students to complete rotations in clinics, medical offices and community hospitals across the Commonwealth.

“This is a way for health-professions students to come out and serve in rural and underserved communities where they are exposed to different cultures and the practice of medicine without the innovative technologies available at the health sciences campuses. They get to see real medicine, real people,” said Brenda Fitzpatrick, director of the Northwest AHEC, based at the Family Health Center in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood.

In addition to educating health-professional students, AHECs in each region develop programs that further their mission in ways best suited to their communities.

For Fitzpatrick, that is developing a true pipeline of health-care professionals, from physicians and dentists to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, nurse’s aides, bioengineers and computer technology professionals.

“While HRSA encourages AHECs to promote careers in the health professions to high school students, we take that a step further and work with middle school students,” she said. “By the time they reach eighth grade, it may be too late.”

Fitzpatrick adds that the Northwest AHEC collaborates with several medical magnet schools in Jefferson County to help students obtain certifications during high school.

“This will get them in the workforce sooner and allow them to then continue their education and move on up the chain.”

In the latest round of program funding, HRSA has instructed AHEC programs to encourage patient-centered medical homes, which coordinate patients’ care in a single office, improving overall health-care delivery and reducing costs.

Another new directive from HRSA is the development of the AHEC Scholars program. Each center will instruct 15 -25 health-profession students from a variety of disciplines in interprofessional education, behavioral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation and current and emerging health issues. Interprofessional education fosters collaboration among physicians, nurses, social workers, allied health and other providers.

“In a time of significant federal cutbacks, we were pleased to receive funding under HRSA’s extensively revised criteria,” Bullard Dunn said.

In addition to the federal funding, Kentucky AHEC is supported by Kentucky General Assembly appropriations, UofL and UK. AHEC is part of UofL’s Signature Partnership, a university effort to enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of West Louisville.




November 9, 2017

UofL researcher Bart Borghuis, Ph.D., proves process allowing adult retinal neurons to form new synaptic connections

UofL researcher Bart Borghuis, Ph.D., proves process allowing adult retinal neurons to form new synaptic connections

Bart Borghuis, Ph.D.

Research published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences could lead to therapeutic advances for recovery from injury and diseases affecting the central nervous system. Bart Borghuis, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Louisville Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, worked with researchers in Idaho and Puerto Rico on the research, which stimulated the formation of new neural connections in adult retinal cells through genetic modification.

Typically, adult neurons cannot make new synaptic connections as easily as developing neurons. That limits the potential for recovery from injury to the brain and spinal cord. One type of neurons in the retinas of mice, OFF-type retinal bipolar cells, has the unusual ability to make new connections into adulthood. Under normal conditions however, these cells only develop new connections with a few cells and within a limited area known as a tile. The function of these cells is to receive information from photoreceptor cells and send it along the optic nerve to the brain.

“These neurons continue to develop and elaborate their connections within their established group of cone cells in the retina,” Borghuis said. “This suggests synaptic plasticity, or the ability for the neurons to create new connections with other neurons. This is significant because in brain disease, you want to transplant and regenerate neurons and integrate them through the formation of new synapses with other neurons.”

In the first stage of the work, a team of researchers at the University of Idaho led by Peter Fuerst, Ph.D., determined that removing the gene encoding a protein known as Down syndrome cell-adhesion molecule (DSCAM) allows these cells to extend neuronal connections beyond their normal tile barriers. They genetically modified the mice to omit DSCAM from those cells, after which the cells were seen to form apparent contacts with neurons outside their tiles.

However, the researchers were unable to determine whether those apparent neural connections were, in fact, functional and capable of transmitting visual information.

That’s where Borghuis comes in. Using a unique imaging and recording technique pioneered in his laboratory at UofL, two-photon fluorescence-guided electrophysiology in deep layers of the neural retina, Borghuis recorded the bipolar cells’ responses to visual stimulation. His measurements showed enlarged visual receptive fields in the genetically manipulated retinal neurons, demonstrating that the extended cells made new, functional synapses onto cones.

“Right off the bat we could see that the receptive fields were larger, so we could tell that their visual responses were consistent with neural outgrowth and new synapse formation,” Borghuis said.

These tests proved the neural outgrowth seen by the Idaho team led to stable, functional connections with new cells.

A new joint research grant from the National Institutes of Health, awarded equally to Borghuis and Fuerst, will fund the collaborative research for another two years. During that time, they will induce the DSCAM knockout later in the lifespan to determine the identity and strength of the new synapses. In addition, they also will perform studies of neurons at later synaptic stages within the retina to determine other potential consequences of increased neuron growth at the level of the visual input.

“We have known about the tiling or mosaic structure of these cells for decades, and there are models and ideas for why neurons should tile. Now that we have a genetic tool that allows us to disrupt tiling within a neuron population experimentally, we can finally test these models,” Borghuis said.

The ability to stimulate neural outgrowth with new synaptic connections may ultimately improve humans’ ability to recover from brain and spinal cord injury or disease by supplying new neural connections. Even more promising, it could lead to neural regeneration and transplantation-based therapies for restoring visual function in retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.



November 8, 2017

UofL lab helps discover new disease that causes kidney failure

UofL lab helps discover new disease that causes kidney failure

Jon B. Klein, M.D., Ph.D., UofL School of Medicine vice dean for research and professor of medicine, and James Graham Brown Foundation Chair in Proteomics.

 Researchers at the University of Louisville were part of a group that discovered an insidious new autoimmune disease that causes kidney failure.

The discovery of anti-brush border antibody (ABBA) disease was made in the UofL Core Proteomics Laboratory, led by Director Jon B. Klein, M.D., Ph.D., UofL School of Medicine vice dean for research and professor of medicine, and James Graham Brown Foundation Chair in Proteomics. Klein worked with the laboratory’s Co-Director Michael Merchant, Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Nephrology & Hypertension in the Department of Medicine at UofL.

Klein and co-investigators will present their findings Friday, Nov. 3, at the American Society of Nephrology’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

“It’s the first time in my career that I’ve described a new disease, and truthfully, most people in their career don’t stumble on this,” said Klein, who is internationally recognized for his expertise in biomarker discovery related to kidney disease and practices with UofL Physicians-Kidney Disease Program. “We don’t know yet whether this causes kidney failure in a lot of people. It’s early in the story.”

The UofL lab identified ABBA after analyzing biopsied kidney tissue from 10 patients who had developed acute kidney injury, a sudden episode of kidney failure or damage that happens within a few hours or days. The condition causes a build-up of waste products in the blood and makes it difficult for kidneys to maintain adequate balance of fluid in the body.

For the first time, researchers discovered that in the nephrons, the functional units of the kidneys, antibodies had coated a specialized part of cells called brush borders, which help reabsorb and process proteins.

“The disease is rather insidious,” Klein said. “It was documented in a group of older men who simply turned up with abnormal kidney function, and there were no symptoms until they had very advanced kidney failure.”

Since it is an autoimmune disease, different approaches to suppress the immune system were used to treat the patients, but those efforts were unsuccessful, Klein said.

Further research will focus on defining demographics of patients with ABBA and the disease’s prevalence. Also, determining where on the protein megalin – which acts as a sponge to absorb proteins and other compounds that enter the nephron – the antibody binds is key to treating the disease, Klein said.

It’s unknown what stimulates the antibody formation.

“Antibodies have very specific targets; they bind to only certain proteins in autoimmune kidney diseases, and then to only certain portions of that protein,” Klein said. “That’s where you learn how to begin to block the antibody binding.”

Klein said the disease had gone undetected because most people with abrupt kidney failure recover and do not get biopsies. In cases of ABBA, however, kidneys do not improve.

Lead investigators of the study are Laurence H. Beck, M.D., Ph.D., of Boston University School of Medicine, and Christopher P. Larsen, M.D., a nephropathologist at Arkana Laboratories in Little Rock, Ark.

Co-investigators include: Klein, Merchant, and Daniel W. Wilkey of UofL; Claire Trivin-Avillach, Paige Coles, Hong Ma and David J. Salant of Boston University School of Medicine; A. Bernard Collins, Ivy A. Rosales and Robert B. Colvin of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Josephine M. Ambruzs, Nidia C. Messias, L. Nicholas Cossey and Patrick D. Walker of Arkana Laboratories; and Thomas Wooldridge of Nephrology and Hypertension Associates in Tupelo, Miss.

Meet the newest Health and Social Justice Scholars

Meet the newest Health and Social Justice Scholars

Health and Social Justice Scholars

One doctoral student from each of the four schools on the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center campus has been selected for the second cohort of the Health and Social Justice Scholars program. From applications received from doctoral students in the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences, scholars are selected based on their commitment to social justice and health equity. They will engage in a three-year program designed to help them learn techniques for working interprofessionally and with community members to improve the overall health of local residents. Scholars will develop projects that include community-based research conducted along with a faculty mentor and a report prepared for scholarly publication. In addition, they participate in community service projects and attend monthly discussions.

Tasha Golden, School of Public Health and Information Sciences

A doctoral student in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Tasha Golden works with the Youth Violence Prevention Research Center and the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky. Golden’s community-oriented research at the intersection of art and public health is informed by her career history. As the frontwoman and songwriter for the band Ellery, her songs have been heard on the radio and in major motion pictures, TV dramas and Starbucks. Golden’s prose and poetry have been published in “Ploughshares,” “Pleaides” and “Ethos Review,” among others, and her debut book of poems, “Once You Had Hands” (Humanist Press), was a finalist for the 2016 Ohioana Book Award. Her critique of gender inequities in the juvenile justice system appears in the Spring 2017 issue of peer-reviewed journal “Reflections.” Golden’s background as artist, entrepreneur and researcher often leads to new and unique networks, and allows her to draw connections among disparate ideas and initiatives. She continues to write and record, and has led trauma-informed creative writing workshops for incarcerated teen women since 2012. 

C. John Luttrell, School of Nursing

C. John Luttrell obtained a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Murray State University in 2005, and a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Louisville in 2013. While he was a student at UofL, he served as the academic affairs liaison on the Nursing Student Council, and received the Helen C. Marshall Award for Outstanding Leadership. While working as a trauma nurse at University of Louisville Hospital in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit from 2013-2016, Luttrell completed the one-year nurse residency program, often served as the charge nurse during his scheduled shifts, and served as a clinical capstone preceptor for nursing students at the UofL School of Nursing. Luttrell is a full-time Ph.D. student in the School of Nursing, where he holds a position as a graduate research assistant. His research interests focus on health disparities among homeless adolescents and engaging with community organizations to provide services to homeless youth.

Devin McBride, School of Medicine

Originally from Ithaca, N.Y., Devin McBride received a bachelor of science in economics from Syracuse University in 2008. She graduated with a degree of distinction after completing a thesis project on the impact of mega-multi mall development on local communities. While earning a second bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, she was involved in multiple research projects including biomedical research, which first sparked her interest in medicine. After moving to Louisville in 2012, McBride began working in the emergency room as a scribe and volunteered with the Kentucky Waterway Alliance. She has been involved in numerous other research projects in Louisville, and presented posters at the Kentucky Academy of Science Annual Meeting and Research!Louisville. Currently, McBride is a student director at the Family Community Clinic, is co-president of the student LGBTQ group HSC Pride, and is involved in health-care politics as a member of Students for a National Health Plan. She plans to research health disparities in the LGBTQ community.

Morgan Pearson, School of Dentistry

A native of Louisville, Morgan D. Pearson is a second-year student in the School of Dentistry. As a child, Pearson experienced a traumatic injury, resulting from an automobile accident that required her to have multiple surgeries. Because of the expert and compassionate care she received, she decided early on that she wanted a career in the health sciences field, ultimately choosing dentistry. Pearson is a 2015 graduate of Murray State University, where she earned a bachelor of science in biology with minors in music and chemistry. She attended UofL’s Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) and MCAT/DAT workshop before deciding on a career in dentistry over medicine. Pearson has had a heart for service since she was a child. From age 11 through 17, she volunteered at the VA Medical Center in various capacities. After going away to college, she volunteered at the VA during summer breaks. At Murray State University, Pearson mentored and tutored incoming freshmen to ensure their success. As a dentist, Pearson will focus on community dentistry, continuing to serve those who are disadvantaged because of their inability to pay or to access care.

UofL’s HSC Health and Social Justice Scholars program is administered by the HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion and directed by Katie Leslie, Ph.D.



The Lancet Oncology: Major report sets out how to accelerate cancer research and care, delivering on U.S. Cancer Moonshot initiative

UofL School of Medicine’s Dr. Kelly McMasters Contributes to Report
The Lancet Oncology: Major report sets out how to accelerate cancer research and care, delivering on U.S. Cancer Moonshot initiative

Dr. Kelly McMasters

A fundamental shift in how cancer research is conducted and how cancer care is delivered in the United States is required in order to deliver on the U.S. Cancer Moonshot initiative, according to a major new report published today in The Lancet Oncology journal.

The report sets out a detailed roadmap to deliver on the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations, including a focus on prevention, a new model for drug discovery and development, a vast expansion of patient access to clinical trials, and an emphasis on targeted interventions to improve cancer care for underserved groups, specifically children, cancer survivors and minority groups. The report emphasizes the importance of addressing health disparities in all recommendations.

The Lancet Oncology Commission on Future Research Priorities in the USA is authored by more than 50 leading oncologists in the United States, including University of Louisville surgical oncologist, Kelly M. McMasters, M.D., Ph.D., and other members of leading U.S. cancer organizations, and sets out 13 key priority areas, each with measurable goals, to focus the $2 billion of funding released to the National Cancer Institute as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.

It highlights how technological advances, including understanding and mapping pre-cancer biology and the rapid adoption of big data, as well as new collaborations across industry, patient groups, academia, government and clinical practice will be critical to advancing research, and ultimately improving patient care.

“Among the thousands of technical details necessary for the success of an actual Moonshot, some fundamental principles remained the same; chief among them was the necessity of reaching the moon. The Commission brought together experts from across the spectrum of oncology research to help define the proper trajectory for the mission ahead,” says McMasters, president, Society of Surgical Oncology and Ben A. Reid, Sr., M.D., professor and chairman, The Hiram C. Polk, Jr., MD Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine.

The Commission will be launched on Nov. 1 at an event on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. and presented on Nov. 3 at the United Nations Association of New York Humanitarian Awards, where former Vice President Joe Biden is being honored for his work on improving cancer outcomes as part of the U.S. Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

Professor Elizabeth Jaffee, president-elect of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and co-chair of the Commission from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, says: “The U.S. 21st Century Cures Act provided nearly $2 billion in funding to accelerate cancer research, but strategic allocation of resources will be crucial to accelerate research, treatment and ultimately patient care. This commission maps an ambitious path ahead to guide researchers, funders, industry, and policy makers in prioritizing the best research to benefit patients.”

Professor Chi Van Dang, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, New York and The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia; and co-chair, says: “The cancer research community has embraced the extraordinary opportunity of the Moonshot initiative with remarkable energy. To ensure that cancer research in the United States continues to be world-leading, it is imperative that investment is concentrated into specific research areas. The commission identifies key areas to prioritize across technology, clinical research, public health and drugs policy to achieve this goal.”

Commenting on the commission, Gregory Simon, president of the Biden Cancer Initiative, says the report “provides a roadmap to change the course of cancer in our lifetime—a journey in which we should actively participate. Patients, caregiver, doctors, researchers, nurses, and scientist all need to embark on the course of action proposed by the report, without delay. Time is of the essence, and so action must be taken now.”

The commission highlights the importance of cancer prevention, including the development of a premalignant cancer atlas to identify small changes in healthy tissue at the earliest stages of cancer development, opening up new opportunities for precision-based cancer prevention. The need to move towards targeted screening will also be important.

Professor Scott Lippman, University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, co-author, says: “Past efforts to prevent cancer have been limited and sometimes hindered by serious and substantial disparities. A one-size-fits-all strategy does not work. That’s the premise of precision medicine and it should be for prevention efforts as well, such as screenings, which should be tailored by age, risk, demographics and other factors. Colorectal screening, for example, is extremely poor in Latinos, especially of low income, but there are new programs that overcome language and social barriers to boost breadth and success. Obesity research is crucial given the growing global epidemic and promise of recent work in special energetics, sedentary behavior and meal timing. These strategies will have a great effect on minimizing morbidities and mortality from cancer in future generations.”  

Data sharing and patient-centered priorities will be critical to advancing research and improving care. The report strongly supports developing data systems that allow patients to input their own personal data for use by the cancer community and, in return, provide outputs to patients that allow them to identify the most scientifically sound clinical trials for which they might be eligible. The ultimate goal is to align research and care in a seamless continuum such that all patients have access to clinical trials as part of standard care and their clinical course and experience informs future research.

 An unprecedented increase in the number of therapies have been approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the past two to three years, but this continues at immense costs, with hundreds of drugs failing in clinical trials. Bringing a single new therapy to the market is estimated to cost $2.6 billion. Among the commission’s recommendations is the need for an overhaul of the drug discovery process so that projects can be discontinued earlier in the clinical development phase, and to transform how academia, industry and clinical groups collaborate to vastly improve efficiencies.

Patients with cancers that were once lethal are now living longer with cancer as a chronic condition, meaning that guidelines must be developed to address the long-term health care needs of patients while undergoing therapy and of survivors. Finally, patient outcomes are greatly affected by racial, cultural, and socioeconomic background and there is a need both to better understand the context of care, and ensure equitable access to care that is financially sustainable for the individual and society.

Professor Jeffrey Peppercorn, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, co-author, says: “As we make advances in cancer care, one of our priorities must be to ensure that all patients who may benefit have access to high quality care. We need to better understand and address costs of cancer care and disparities in care in the United States and internationally. This is an exciting time in cancer care and research and we need to make sure that the oncology community comes together, working beyond national borders whenever necessary, to accelerate global effort to control cancer and improve the lives of patients.”

Clifford Hudis, chief executive officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and former chief of breast medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and co-author, says: “Although clinical research has been challenged by reduced support as well as regulatory and administrative burdens, we have recently seen truly remarkable progress across a range of malignancies. The blueprint laid out by the BRP and this commission should help us prioritize our efforts to accelerate meaningful clinical advances in the next four to five years. The provisions provide an opportunity for cancer investigators, federal agencies, universities and research institutes, and private philanthropic supporters worldwide to direct their investments and help the global community meet the ambitious goal of delivering ten years progress in half that time. The time for action is now.”

UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine receive patient-centered designation

UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine receive patient-centered designation

Lisa Leon, C.C.M.A., Sean Warren, M.D. and Luz Fernandez, M.D.

Patients at all four UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine practices can be assured their care is highly focused and coordinated. Each facility has received recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long‐term, participative relationships. This is a renewal of the designation originally achieved in 2014.

“NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Recognition shows that UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.”

Earning the NCQA’s Level 3 designation – the highest recognition level -- is a significant accomplishment, says Jonathan Becker, M.D., chair of the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine.

“We strive to make sure each patient experiences continuity of care and a team-based approach to care - it’s the way medicine is supposed to be practiced,” Becker said.

Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

At UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine practices, patients experience access to not only physicians, but also a social worker, chronic care nurse, nutritionist and marriage and family therapist, a team that can provide a holistic approach to care.

Anne Banks, Ph.D., compiles data for the NCQA application. She says UofL Physicians Family & Geriatric Medicine practices are making continual improvements to better serve patients.

She says such changes as keeping a number of appointments open each day for those who need immediate care has prevented emergency room visits for something that could be treated in the office. Patients also have greater continuity in seeing the same doctor, as opposed to a different physician each visit. And, Banks says registered nurse case managers are reviewing patient charts periodically to assure individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes are appropriately tracked and seen in a timely manner.

“We are striving to break-down all barriers to great care,” Banks said. “Empathy and commitment to the patient should resonate throughout the practice - from the front-desk all the way through to physician interactions.”

UofL physiatry chief named president of national professional organization

UofL physiatry chief named president of national professional organization

Darryl L. Kaelin, M.D.

Darryl L. Kaelin, M.D., assumed the role of president of the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the organization’s annual assembly in Denver. Kaelin, professor and chief of the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Louisville, practices with University of Louisville Physicians and is medical director of the Frazier Rehab Institute. He will serve as AAPM&R president for one year.

Kaelin is the University of Louisville Endowed Chair for Stroke and Brain Injury Rehabilitation and specializes in neuro-rehabilitation with a focus on traumatic brain injury and stroke. He speaks nationally and internationally on concussion, spasticity management and neuropharmacology.

“I am honored to have been chosen to lead such a wonderful organization as the AAPM&R,” Kaelin said. “In the changing health-care landscape, it is important to promote a focus on function and quality of life. The academy advocates for patients with disabling conditions and for physiatrists to serve as essential members of the health-care team, involved early and throughout the continuum of care.”

Kaelin is an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame and the UofL School of Medicine. He received graduate medical education at Kettering Medical Center Network and Medical College of Virginia, where he was chief resident. Kaelin is a board member of the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky and a member of the Association of Academic Physiatry. 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.

About the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) is the national medical specialty organization representing more than 10,000 physicians who are specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). PM&R physicians, also known as physiatrists, treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Founded in 1938, the mission of AAPM&R is to foster excellence in physiatric practice. AAPM&R also offers education, advocates for PM&R and promotes PM&R research. For additional information about the Academy, go to

Beer and science with a twist, Oct. 18

For October, in lieu of the regular Beer With a Scientist, you are invited to a special “world tour mini event” at an ALTERNATE VENUE, Holsopple Brewing ( in Lyndon. At this informal event, you will have the chance to discuss science and ask questions about anything related to biomedical science (especially cancer) with Levi Beverly, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Medicine at UofL.


Oct 18, 2017
from 07:00 PM to 09:00 PM


Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Ln., 40222

Contact Name

Betty Coffman

Contact Phone


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On Nov. 15 at 8 p.m., BWAS returns to its normal format at Against the Grain. Speakers will be Miriam Krause and Kelly Pagidas. The title of their talk will be: “Is the designer baby a reality?”

As usual, there will be no event in December. Dates are set for the first quarter of 2018.

Jan. 17, 2018
Feb. 21, 2018
Mar. 14, 2018

UofL Physicians recognized as a Partner in Care by National Multiple Sclerosis Society

University of Louisville Physicians has been recognized for its commitment to providing exceptional, coordinated care for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Partners in MS Care program has designated UofL as a Partner in MS Care, Neurologic Care, for its commitment to MS care and a continuing partnership with the society to address the challenges of people affected by MS. UofL Physicians is the only Partner in MS Care in Louisville and western Kentucky.

“It takes a variety of medical and non-medical professionals to empower patients with multiple sclerosis and their families,” said David Robertson, M.D., who leads the UofL Physicians Multiple Sclerosis Center and is an assistant professor in the UofL Department of Neurology. “The MS Society has a variety of resources for patients that we cannot offer through the University of Louisville. In any situation when you find a person or an institution that does good work in a responsible way, it is worth developing a mutually beneficial relationship that ultimately benefits the patients.”

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. Symptoms vary from person to person and range from numbness and tingling to walking difficulties, fatigue, dizziness, pain, depression, blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with two to three times more women than men diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

“We are so proud to partner with the University of Louisville Physicians to enhance coordinated, comprehensive care for the people who live with MS in Louisville, Ky.,” said David Haddock of the National MS Society, Mid South. “In earning this recognition, the University of Louisville has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in MS care, making a tremendous impact on people affected by MS in our community.”

The society’s Partners in MS Care program recognizes committed providers whose practices support the Society’s initiative of affordable access to high quality MS health care for everyone living with MS – regardless of geography, disease progression and other disparities.

“We treat all of our patients differently because MS treats all of our patients differently,” said Jacinta Lockard, coordinator for the Neuroimmunology Clinic at the UofL Physicians MS Center. “We have access to many different resources for our patients, and the National MS society is a big part of that.”

The UofL Physicians MS Center includes experts who can address all of a patient’s needs, including medical care, physical/occupational/speech therapies, neuropsychology and social work. 

“We offer patients access to all 13 FDA-approved drugs to treat MS. The newer drugs often require the patient to come for an infusion and we have an excellent infusion center in our building,” Lockard said. “We treat patients from all over the state and southern Indiana and we try to make medication accessible to everyone a priority, no matter their location.”

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society mobilizes people and resources so that everyone affected by multiple sclerosis can live their best lives as we stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever. Last year alone, through our comprehensive nationwide network of services, the society devoted more than $100 million to connect approximately one million people affected by MS to the connections, information and resources they need. To move closer to a world free of MS, the society also invested $42 million to support more than 380 new and ongoing research projects around the world.

Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional. For more information, visit or call 1-800-344-4867.

Current, retired UofL faculty to be honored at 22nd Annual Doctor’s Ball

School of Medicine alumna also will be recognized
Current, retired UofL faculty to be honored at 22nd Annual Doctor’s Ball

Entertainment at the 2017 Doctor's Ball will feature a James Bond theme.

For 22 years, the annual Doctors’ Ball, hosted by the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation, part of KentuckyOne Health, has honored the service of local physicians and community leaders, and in 2017, four current and two retired faculty members and one alumna of the University of Louisville are among the honorees.

This year’s event is planned for Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Marriott Louisville Downtown, 280 West Jefferson Street in Louisville.

The black-tie event will include cocktails and silent auction beginning at 6:30 p.m., then dinner and an awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a Casino Royale experience during cocktail hour and after the program concludes. Live entertainment will be provided by Stretta. Tickets are $300 each.

The 2017 Doctors’ Ball will recognize some of the area’s most innovative and caring doctors and community leaders including:

Gordon Tobin, M.D. – Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year
University of Louisville Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Dr. Gordon Tobin became a surgeon because he was attracted to the challenges of intervening in major illnesses and injuries – addressing acute needs to alleviate pain and suffering. In 1978, Tobin came to the University of Louisville where he established himself as a triple threat: skilled clinician, teacher and researcher developing innovative approaches to problems arising from surgeries to treat cancer and heart disease, and from critical injuries like burns.

Dawne Gee, WAVE 3 News – Community Leader of the Year
Dawne Gee gives time to many causes, hosting as many as 200 charity events in a year. The Louisville native got into TV news more than two decades ago, while also enjoying 17 years in radio, including at WLOU, Kentucky’s first African American station. She currently anchors newscasts Monday through Friday at 5:30, 7:00 and 7:30 p.m., along with WAVE Country with Dawne Gee weekdays at Noon, profiling people working on behalf of the community. Gee has previously suffered from health issues including cancer and stroke, and has used her platform to help educate community members, also connecting them to the proper resources for help.

Valerie Briones-Pryor, M.D. – Compassionate Physician Award
Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor is described by coworkers as a “team player who advocates for patients, treating them like a member of her own family.” The University of Louisville School of Medicine alumna is not only directing care during a patient’s hospital stay, but also looking after details like transportation, follow-up appointments and funds to cover medications over the long haul. Briones-Pryor continues to see patients in the hospital about one day a week, but her main focus is on the role of hospitalists like herself – physicians who work exclusively in the hospital, quarterbacking in-patient care and serving as liaisons with patients’ private doctors.

David Casey, M.D. and Valerie Casey – Excellence in Mental Health
Dr. David Casey, chair of the University of Louisville Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Valerie Casey, director of the University of Louisville Women’s Center, work both separately and together to empower individuals and improve lives, one person at a time. Dr. Casey introduced the field of geriatric psychiatry to Kentucky. Under Valerie Casey’s leadership, the UofL Women’s Center likewise promotes advocacy and empowerment by mentoring and educating women to successfully transition into the workforce. The Caseys have extended their focus on empowerment to victims of human trafficking.

Norton Waterman, M.D. – Excellence in International Humanitarian Service
Retired surgeon Dr. Norton Waterman died on Oct. 6, but his legacy in the community lives on. Waterman noticed years ago that significant quantities of unused hospital supplies – from scrubs and bandages to wheelchairs and incubators – were getting tossed into landfills or left to gather dust in storerooms. Waterman, a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Louisville, enlisted the participation of Louisville area hospitals and private doctors’ offices, collecting unused supplies, old model beds and medical equipment, to send to impoverished countries and overseas doctors. The collection project was later dubbed Supplies Over Seas, which is now one of only 15 medical surplus recovery organizations nationwide. The organization has collected and distributed nearly 1.5 million pounds of medical equipment and supplies since Waterman founded it. At the upcoming Doctors' Ball, Waterman's family will be presented with a posthumous award in his honor – the Excellence in International Humanitarian Service Award – recognizing the impact Waterman had on the community.

Gerald Temes, M.D. – KentuckyOne Health Excellence in Leadership Award
Former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson describes Dr. Temes as “a listener who seeks facts” whose “confidence and compassion enable him to lead organizations to the next level.” Temes’ portfolio of community leadership is extensive, including spearheading development and then serving as founding chair of the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart and Lung Center, two terms on the Louisville Metro Board of Health, and decades of service to the Jewish Community of Louisville. The retired University of Louisville Professor of Thoracic Surgery says he is most proud of the creation of the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence in 2012, when he served as board chair of what was then Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services.

Sarah Moyer, M.D. – Humana Physician Excellence in Community Health Award
University of Louisville Assistant Professor of Health Management and Systems Science Dr. Sarah Moyer loves solving complex problems. Named director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness this past July – just seven years after graduating from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia – Moyer draws a parallel between treating individual patients, which she continues to do one day a week, and looking out for the health of the 750,000 residents of Metro Louisville. Moyer says she went into medicine because she wanted to help people stay healthy, and then became increasingly aware of the impact of social and environmental factors on every individual’s well-being. She went into public health, she says, “because I wanted to go upstream to help make a bigger difference in people’s quality of life.”

Proceeds from this year’s Doctors’ Ball will benefit the Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center patient assistance fund. The Trager Transplant Center is nationally recognized for performing Kentucky’s first adult heart, pancreas, heart-lung and liver transplants, as well as the first minimally invasive kidney donation in Kentucky. More than 5,000 organs have been transplanted at Jewish Hospital since 1964 including 500 hearts, 900 livers and 3,000 kidneys.

To purchase tickets to the Doctors’ Ball, visit For sponsorship opportunities, email Carol Wade at or call 502-587-4543.

Show support for breast cancer research with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center Facebook frame

Show support for breast cancer research with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center Facebook frame

The UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center has made this frame available for Facebook cover photos to show support for breast cancer research.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at UofL invites you to show your support on your Facebook page all month long.

The stats are sobering: Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women, and about one in eight women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

You can show support for all that the Brown Cancer Center does to end breast cancer by adding our Facebook profile frame. It’s easy:

From your phone: 1. Click on your profile picture. 2. Click “Add Frame.” 3. In the search function, type in “Brown Cancer Center.” 4. Click “Change Frame.”

From your desktop or laptop: 1. Go to 2. In the search function type in “Brown Cancer Center.” 3. Once you have found the correct frame, click “Use as Profile Picture” to save.

While you are at it, like the Brown Cancer Center on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest news and events.


Professor with bipolar disorder will discuss genius, mania at UofL Depression Center annual dinner

Professor with bipolar disorder will discuss genius, mania at UofL Depression Center annual dinner

Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.

A Johns Hopkins University psychiatry professor and New York Times bestselling author will discuss her experience overcoming bipolar disorder and her latest book on the relationship between mental illness and art at a University of Louisville-sponsored event in October.

Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, will speak at the UofL Depression Center’s Annual Benefit Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. A book-signing featuring Jamison will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m.

The dinner benefits the UofL Depression Center, Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education. Tickets are $125 per person and can be ordered by phone at 502-588-4886 or by email.

Jamison’s current book, “Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania and Character,” published in February, brings a fresh understanding to the work and life of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Lowell, whose intense, complex and personal verse left a lasting mark on the English language and changed the public discourse about private matters.

Jamison brings her expertise in mood disorders to bear on Lowell’s story, illuminating the relationships among mania, depression and creativity, as well as the details of Lowell’s treatment and how illness and treatment influenced the great work that he produced and often became its subject. 

Jamison herself battled mental health issues as early as her teenage years. While pursuing her career in academic medicine, Jamison found herself succumbing to the same exhilarating highs and catastrophic depressions that afflicted many of her patients, as her disorder launched her into ruinous spending sprees, episodes of violence and an attempted suicide. Her memoir, “An Unquiet Mind,” rose to the best-selling list upon its release in 1995 and was cited for its candor in its examination of bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed, revealing both its terrors and the cruel allure that at times prompted her to resist taking medication. 

Oct. 9, 2017

Pride Week keynote to address meeting the health-care needs of LGBT older adults

The 2017 Pride Week HSC Campus keynote address will feature leading scholar and researcher Noell Rowan, Ph.D., addressing the unique challenges of the aging LGBT population, the clinical and social needs of LGBT communities and specific strategies professionals can employ to improve the health of LGBT populations, especially in later life.

Rowan is professor and associate director at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is the former director of the bachelor of social work program at the Kent School of Social Work at UofL (2007-2013). She earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Georgia and her doctorate in social work from the University of Louisville/University of Kentucky joint program. She has authored more than 20 publications in the research areas of gerontology, LGBT populations, alcohol and other drug addictions, and interprofessional education.

Presented by the University of Louisville LGBT Center and the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging, the event will be held in the HSC Auditorium in Kornhauser Library, on Tuesday, Oct. 31 from noon to 1:00 p.m. Lunch is provided by the School of Public Health and Information Sciences Student Council.

A part of the LGBT Health Certificate as well as Grand Rounds for the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, this lecture is designed for mental health and primary care professionals, however it is open to all community members. Medical CME and Social Work CEU credit are offered. 

Click here to register. 

UofL receives $13.8 million to study use of promising new adult stem cell to treat heart failure

Award is one of university’s largest-ever federal grants for medical research
UofL receives $13.8 million to study use of promising new adult stem cell to treat heart failure

The research team on the Program Project Grant is shown on the steps of the Abell Administration Center at the UofL Health Sciences Center in October 2016, with principal investigator Roberto Bolli, M.D., at front center.

The University of Louisville has received one of its largest grants for medical research in the school’s 219-year history, a $13.8 million award from the National Institutes of Health to study a promising new type of adult cardiac stem cell that has the potential to treat heart failure.

The announcement on Friday was made by Gregory Postel, M.D., interim president of UofL, and the study’s principal investigator, Roberto Bolli, M.D., director of UofL’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology. Bolli also serves as scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute at UofL and as a professor and chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the School of Medicine.

“This is a prestigious grant reflecting the magnitude of the work being conducted here,” Postel said. “Being awarded this grant is a huge, huge accomplishment.”

Bolli thanked the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the NIH for their support. “It is critical that we have this type of support for the important research programs that we carry out, which can help patients around the world,” he said.

Heart failure affects millions of people, and the most common cause is a heart attack. When a person suffers a heart attack, part of the heart muscle dies from lack of oxygen and is replaced with scar tissue, which does not contract. Because of the loss of muscle, the heart becomes weaker and less able to pump.

Until now, conventional treatments for heart failure have consisted of surgery or medications, which can alleviate symptoms but do not cure the disease. In contrast, Bolli’s focus has been on how to repair the heart itself and actually cure heart failure using a patient’s own stem cells. It is an approach that could revolutionize the treatment of heart disease.

The NIH grant is a continuation of a Program Project Grant (PPG) that Bolli and his team were originally awarded in 2005. The overall goal of this PPG is the use of stem cells to repair the damage caused by a heart attack by regenerating heart muscle in the area that died, replacing the scar tissue with new muscle and thereby making the heart stronger and able to pump more blood.

A PPG is a cluster of several projects with a common focus relating to one theme, in this case, the use of adult stem cells to repair the heart. It involves a collaboration among different investigators working as a team, a collaboration that otherwise might not be able to occur without funding.

The latest round of funding comes after Bolli and his colleagues discovered a new population of adult stem cells, called CMCs, in the heart three years ago.

“CMCs seem to be more effective,” Bolli said. “In addition to showing more promise than those we have used in the past, these cells also offer several advantages in that they can be produced more easily, faster, more consistently and in larger numbers than other adult stem cells, which have proven tricky.”

He said this would make them easier to apply for widespread use, as specialized labs to isolate the cells would not be needed as with other types of adult stem cells.

Bolli and his team want to find out what CMCs will do when transplanted into a diseased heart in mice and pigs, ultimately laying the groundwork for clinical trials in patients.

On Friday, Postel noted that the NIH didn’t just approve UofL’s grant application - a long, multistep process involving more than a dozen reviewers who are experts in the field - it funded the project with a perfect score and rare high praise. In fact, the committee reviewing the application concluded Bolli’s program was, quote “exceptional,” with “significant translational impact, an exceptional leader and investigative team and an exceptional environment.”

“We are continually striving for new and better ways to treat heart disease,” Bolli said. “I’m confident we are not that far from a cure.”


Let's do the time warp again

Rocky Horror Halloween Party honors breast cancer survivors Oct. 10
Let's do the time warp again

The Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville invites breast cancer survivors to do the time warp again in celebration of survivorship at “The Rocky Horror Halloween Party,” an event to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The event will be held Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Buckhead Mountain Grill, 707 W. Riverside Dr., Jeffersonville, Ind. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. Admission is free and open to breast cancer survivors only. Participants must register to attend by calling 502-852-6318.

Attendees are invited to dress for the occasion with prizes for the best Halloween costume and the best “Rocky Horror Picture Show” costume.

Rachel Platt of WHAS11’s “Great Day Live!” will emcee. The nonprofit theater company Acting Against Cancer will present “The Rocky Horror Halloween Party,” marking the fourth consecutive year the company has staged the production for Kentuckiana audiences.

The event is made possible with support from Buckhead Mountain Grill, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield and Rocky’s Italian Grill.

The Kentucky Cancer Program is the state mandated cancer control program jointly administered by the University of Louisville (West Region) and the University of Kentucky (East Region). At UofL, the program is sponsored by the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The mission of the Kentucky Cancer Program is to reduce cancer incidence and mortality by promoting cancer education, research and service.

UofL developing leaders in academic medicine

School of Medicine launches Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine program with 16 faculty members
UofL developing leaders in academic medicine

2017 Class of LIAM

The University of Louisville School of Medicine is training its future leaders.

Sixteen members of the UofL School of Medicine faculty began a 10-month training program on Sept. 21, aimed at developing future leaders for academic medical institutions. Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine (LIAM) is designed to develop innovative thinking skills in early to mid-career faculty who may be interested in pursuing leadership roles in the future.

“This program will equip the future leaders of the UofL School of Medicine with the foundational platform to build their leadership skills for the rest of their careers,” said Gerard Rabalais, M.D., M.H.A., associate dean of faculty development.

Participants will attend monthly three-hour meetings, work independently and prepare interdisciplinary projects designed to improve some aspect of the school. Leaders in the UofL School of Medicine, as well as faculty from the UofL College of Business, College of Education and Human Development and members of the business community, will lead the monthly meetings. The curriculum will address leading oneself, leading others and leading an organization, all focused on leadership challenges specific to academic medicine.

“I hope they gain an appreciation for the importance of emotional intelligence, and an understanding that the key role of the leader is to provide more than operational effectiveness, but to cast the vision and devise the innovation strategy that provides new and sustainable value to the academic medical center and the communities we serve,” Rabalais said.

The 2017-18 participants, below, were selected from 54 applicants. Rabalais and Staci Saner, M.Ed., program manager of faculty development, part of the Office of Faculty Affairs and Advancement, developed the curriculum.

“We anticipate that the innovative solutions they develop as part of their projects will be directly applicable to current challenges in the School,” Rabalais said.


The 2017 class of LIAM

Christine Brady, PhD                            Pediatrics

Elizabeth Cash, PhD                              Otolaryngology-HNS & Communicative Disorders

Jeremy Clark, MD                                 Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Luz Fernandez, MD                              Family Medicine

Brian Holland, MD                                Pediatric Cardiology

Adrienne Jordan, MD                          Pathology

Farid Kehdy, MD                                   Surgery

Kathrin LaFaver, MD                            Neurology

Sara Multerer, MD                               Pediatrics

Alexander V. Ovechkin, MD, PhD     Neurological Surgery

Sara Petruska, MD                                Ob/Gyn and Women's Health

Carolyn Roberson, PhD                       Microbiology and Immunology

Tyler Sharpe, MD                                  Internal Medicine

Hugh Shoff, MD                                     Department of Emergency Medicine

Leah J. Siskind, PhD                              Pharmacology and Toxicology

Laura Workman, MD                           Internal Medicine-Pediatrics

Leadership and Innovation in Academic Medicine

Department of Medicine's Carrico named president-elect of Kentucky Nurses Association

Department of Medicine's Carrico named president-elect of Kentucky Nurses Association

Ruth Carrico, PhD, RN

Ruth Carrico, PhD, RN, associate professor of medicine at the University of Louisville Department of Medicine and the associate founding director of UofL’s Global Health Initiative, has been named president-elect of the Kentucky Nurses Association.

Each year, the members of the KNA elect nurses to leadership of the premier nursing nonprofit professional association in the Commonwealth. The candidates will be inducted into office on Friday, Nov. 3, during the bi-annual KNA Education Summit in Lexington, Ky.

The following nurses filed to be candidates and were elected to leadership positions:

KNA Board of Directors: President-Elect, Ruth Carrico, PhD, MSN, FNP-C, RN; Vice-President, Beverly Rowland, PhD, RN; Secretary, Misty Ellis, MSN, APRN-PC/AC; and Directors, Ann W. Christie, MSN, RN, and Jodie V. Rogers, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

Education & Research Cabinet: Nurse Administrator, Karen Newman, EdD, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Nurse Faculty, Kimberly Tharpe-Barrie, DNP, RN; and Staff Nurse, Loretta Elder, DNP, RN, CNE

Governmental Affairs Cabinet: Staff Nurse, Michael D. Gordon, MSN, ARNP, RN, CNS, Adult Health ANCC Certified,

Professional Nursing Practice & Advocacy Cabinet: Clinical Practice, Lisa Lockhart, MSN, MHA, RN, NE-BC, Traci L. Lorch, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, RNC-OB, and Danielle Angeli House, RN, HN-BC; Clinical Practice Staff Nurse, Stephanie J. Fugate, MSN, ARNP-ACNP-BC; Administration, Michelle Speicher, MBA, BSN, RN, FACHE, ME-BC; and Education, Jessica Wilson, PhD, APRN, RN

Ethics & Human Rights Committee: Secretary, Angela Combs, BSN, MSNED, RN; and  Members, Rhonda Vale, MSN, RN, and Pam Azad, MBA, Ph.D, RN

Nominating Committee: Members, Deb Chilcote, DNP, RN, RNC-MN, Leslie Jeffries, MSN, BSN, RN; Lynn Roser, Ph.D, RN, CIC; and Maribeth Wilson, Ph.D (c), MSN, MSPH








Improved DBS device offers a better solution for tremor

UofL, Jewish Hospital physicians first in region to offer refined DBS technology
Improved DBS device offers a better solution for tremor

Kathleen Prezocki with Joseph Neimat, M.D.

Kathleen Prezocki finally had enough.

Her essential tremor had progressed to the point that writing was nearly impossible, she always ordered sandwiches instead of soup or salad when eating out, and she was forced to use a card-holder so she could continue to play bridge.

“It was affecting me in eating, in writing and in speech. The medicine was not allowing me to control the symptoms anymore,” Prezocki said. “Trying to put a necklace on and trying to get that hook in there – my goodness that was frustrating!”

Prezocki’s UofL physicians suggested deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy, in which surgeons implant in the brain a wire lead that is attached to a battery controller, similar to a pacemaker used for the heart. The lead provides electrical stimulation to a precise point in the brain to mitigate the tremor. DBS has been in use for nearly 20 years, but a new device allows more precise control over the stimulation, avoiding side effects, and is controlled with an iPod touch, a more intuitive control device than previous DBS technology.

The St. Jude Medical Infinity™ DBS system was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. The St. Jude system is the first in the United States to feature a directional lead designed to precisely customize therapy to help maximize patient outcomes and reduce side effects. The more precise control of the direction of the electrical stimulation allows for reduced strain on the battery, leading to longer battery life. In addition, the iPod Touch controller is more intuitive and familiar for patients.

When Prezocki learned of this improved DBS device, she decided it was time to take the next step, and was the first patient in the region to receive the St. Jude device. Joseph Neimat, M.D., a neurosurgeon with UofL Physicians, recently provided the implant for Prezocki at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, to control tremor in her right hand. Neimat, also chair of the UofL Department of Neurological Surgery, has implanted several hundred DBS devices.

“This therapy can make a dramatic difference in a patient’s quality of life, particularly if they like to write, to play piano, to eat soup,” Neimat said. “And even though it is brain surgery, it’s a relatively low-risk surgery.”

Neurologist Victoria Holiday, M.D., clinical director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Program at UofL Physicians, has monitored Prezocki’s condition for several years and programmed her Infinity system to provide the proper stimulation. Holiday said the ability to more precisely control the stimulation allows doctors to achieve stimulation in the desired location while avoiding side effects.

“Think about a wire inside the brain and electricity is surrounding that wire in a ball shape. With this device, we can cut that ball into pie pieces. It allows us to steer away from areas of the brain that may be causing trouble,” said Holiday, also an assistant professor in the UofL Department of Neurology.

Since activating the device, Prezocki has been able to stop taking tremor medications. Her ability to write is improved and she is able to play bridge without a card-holder.

“I can write again!” Prezocki said.

“Her handwriting is much better than expected. Ms. Prezocki was not able to write at all prior to surgery and is now scrutinizing how her Zs look,” Holiday said. “She is successfully using the patient programmer at home and seems very pleased with how the system works.”

Culinary medicine program gives future doctors hands-on skills to help patients eat better

UofL’s Eat 2B Well provides in-the-kitchen instruction to guide medical students in improving health with food
Culinary medicine program gives future doctors hands-on skills to help patients eat better

Eat 2B Well

A doctor, a dietitian and a chef walk into a kitchen …

No joke. They are there to teach medical students about choosing and preparing food that will sustain their own health as well as give them the tools to talk about food realistically with their patients.

The Eat 2B Well culinary medicine program is a new eight-week elective for students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine designed to help future physicians understand the challenges their patients face in obtaining, selecting and preparing foods. Eat 2B Well was conceptualized by Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the school of medicine, Jon Klein, M.D., Ph.D., vice dean for research, and Karan Chavis, the dean’s chief of staff. UofL nutritionist Diana Pantalos, Ph.D., R.D.N., developed the curricular content. Eat 2B Well was modeled on The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University, developed by Timothy Harlan, M.D.

With increasing evidence that a poor diet causes or exacerbates many chronic diseases, it is more important than ever for physicians to help their patients eat well. However, physicians traditionally learn about nutrition in terms of science and clinical impact, which doesn’t always translate to helping patients eat better. Eat 2B Well is aimed at helping future doctors understand the issues their patients face in terms of resources, time and food preparation skills.

“Many of the chronic health problems that burden the Commonwealth, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can be prevented through good nutrition. The goal of Eat 2B Well is to equip UofL medical students with the real-world practical knowledge of nutrition and healthy cooking so that they can best help their future patients,” Klein said.

Each Eat 2B Well class includes instruction on practical nutrition, disease association, and food preparation from a team that includes a registered dietitian/nutritionist, a professional chef and a member of the medical school faculty. Local chefs, including Anoosh Shariat of Anoosh Bistro and Noosh Nosh, Kathy Douglas of the Fresh Chef Experience and Bobby Benjamin of Butchertown Grocery provide instruction for the food preparation portion of the class.

Joining the medical students in the classes are students from the culinary track of YouthBuild Louisville, an education, job training and leadership program for low-income young adults ages 18-24.Classes include discussion of issues associated with food insecurity and the health problems resulting from poor nutrition. Class groups will then prepare meals utilizing cost-conscious ingredients readily available at grocery stores and markets in West Louisville, and prepared with equipment available in low-income homes.

“To talk comfortably about food, medical professionals need to be respectful of individuals’ food cultures, to understand how complex social factors influence food habits and to have hands-on experience preparing food themselves,” Pantalos said.

In the near future, organizers are planning to extend the program to include community engagement activities, providing at-risk families with food preparation education.

Whole Foods Market is providing food for the classes, which take place at Cooking at Millie’s, 340 W. Chestnut St. Additional sponsors include Gordon Food Service (GFS) and Save-A-Lot Grocery. New Roots, Inc. and the Sullivan University and Jefferson Community and Technical College culinary arts programs have provided logistical support.


Celebrity Chefs:

Eneitra Beattie, Brown Forman Corporation, Bourbon Street Café

Bobby Benjamin, Butchertown Grocery

Kathy Douglas, Fresh Chef Experience

Tina Lee, Fresh Stop Market, Dare to Care

Lorita Rowlett, Fresh Stop Market

Anoosh Shariat, Anoosh Bistro, Noosh Nosh

Gabe Sowder, Wiltshire Pantry

Andrea Wells, Farm to Baby Louisville


More about The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine

Developed in 2012 by Timothy Harlan, M.D., at Tulane University, The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine is directed by Chef Leah Sarris. Support for the center includes a director for research and development and the Teaching Kitchen Medical Student Club, which coordinates community outreach, medical student service learning and children’s programming.