e-Update: News for University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Faculty and Staff

Up Front

Miller School Maintains Highest Grade for Conflict of Interest Policy

The Miller School of Medicine received an ‘A’ grade for the second year in a row from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) for its conflict of interest policies governing interactions between students or faculty and health industry entities.

AMSA described the Miller School’s conflict of interest policy as a model, noting that “all outside activities by faculty are disclosed on a publicly accessible website. Samples are prohibited, industry representatives may only meet with faculty by appointment, and compliance and appropriate course of action for violation of policies are outlined.”

Read more about the Miller School's conflict of interest policy »

More News

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., addresses Miller School staff at a town hall meeting on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle.

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., addresses Miller School staff at a town hall meeting on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle.

Dean Goldschmidt Hosts Town Hall Meetings to Update Faculty and Staff

In an effort to keep faculty and employees informed through a period of rapid change at the Miller School and UHealth-University of Miami Health System, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., held a series of town hall meetings this month to discuss the medical enterprise’s progress and changes to his leadership team. He also invited and answered questions about a host of topics, including finance, patient access, research, and the recently launched Momentum2 fundraising campaign.

Dean Goldschmidt, who is also Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of UHealth, held three meetings, one each for clinical faculty, basic science faculty and general staff, to ensure participants had the chance to focus on issues relevant to them and their jobs.

Read more about the town hall meetings »

Valbona Bushi hugs daughter Angela after a news conference.

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Valbona Bushi hugs daughter Angela after a news conference.

Six-Year-Old Recovers from First-of-Its-Kind Liver, Pancreas and Kidney Transplant

For most children with Wolcott-Rallison Syndrome (WRS), life is short and filled with multiple problems, including diabetes, liver and/or kidney failure, bone and growth problems, repeated infections, intellectual impairment, and premature death.

Fortunately for 6-year-old Angela Bushi, doctors at the Holtz Children’s Hospital and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine diagnosed her extremely rare condition before many of the complications associated with the genetic disorder took her life, as they did her little sister’s. More importantly, just four days after Christmas 2011, transplant surgeons from UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital performed an innovative and unprecedented combined transplant of a liver, two kidneys and a pancreas while keeping her other healthy organs working well.

Read more about the life-saving surgery »

Julia “Julie” Zaias, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Julia “Julie” Zaias, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Dr. Julia Zaias Named Attending Veterinarian and Director of Veterinary Resources

Julia “Julie” Zaias, D.V.M., Ph.D., has been appointed as the attending veterinarian and director of the Division of Veterinary Resources. Dr. Zaias has served in both those positions on an interim basis since last March, after a six-year stint as the associate director. The University’s Division of Veterinary Resources supports a large number of investigators working in diverse animal models and is accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.

“Julia’s demonstrated dedication to enhancing the division, as well as her research background, ideally position her to take the division to a new level of service, expertise and collaboration,” said Norma Sue Kenyon, Ph.D., the Martin Kleiman Professor of Surgery, Microbiology and Immunology and Biomedical Engineering who was recently named chief innovation officer.

Read more about Dr. Zaias »

Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D.

Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D.

Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D., Awarded $3.2 Million to Improve Schizophrenia Treatment

Philip D. Harvey, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the Division of Psychology, has been awarded a $3.2 million grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health to study schizophrenia and improve treatment for the disorder that impairs the ability to function in everyday settings.

Empirically-based, sound instrumentation is key to assessing the outcomes of interventions designed to ameliorate social cognitive impairments, and the five-year study, “Social Cognition Psychometric Evaluation,” will identify and improve existing measures of social cognition that can be applied in large-scale treatment studies.

Read more about Dr. Harvey »

Julia Belkowitz, M.D., received the AMSA National Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence on March 10.

Julia Belkowitz, M.D., received the AMSA National Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence on March 10.

Dean of Students Honored with National Award

Julia Belkowitz, M.D., assistant regional dean for student affairs and assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, received the American Medical Student Association’s National Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence this past weekend.

The award recognizes medical school professors who make a significant impact on their students and medical education. Belkowitz was nominated by third-year medical student Irene Chang.

“In medical training, all too often we are caught up in the scientific intricacies of disease pathophysiology and lose sight of the less tangible, empathetic art of medicine,” Chang wrote in her nomination essay. “Dr. Belkowitz continuously rekindles this compassion within every student by fostering emotional health, encouraging personal growth and promoting community service.”

Read more about Dr. Belkowitz's award »

Cherie Stabler, Ph.D.

Cherie Stabler, Ph.D.

DRI Scientists Develop Oxygen-Generating Biomaterial to Improve Islet Survival

Scientists at the Diabetes Research Institute have developed a revolutionary technique to provide critical oxygen to insulin-producing cells after transplantation, assuring their long-term survival and inching closer to a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Published online last month in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study on the new technique, which for the first time successfully employed a biomaterial to deliver oxygen locally to islet cells, represents a major step toward the goal of developing an alternative site for housing transplanted islets.

Led by Cherie Stabler, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical engineering and surgery, and director of the DRI’s Tissue Engineering Program, the DRI team designed and developed a novel material, PDMS-CaO2, which has the capacity to spontaneously generate oxygen when exposed to water.

Read more about the study »

Corneliu Luca, M.D., Ph.D.

Corneliu Luca, M.D., Ph.D.

Parkinson’s Researcher Wins Grant to Identify New Therapy for Gait Impairment

Corneliu Luca, M.D., Ph.D., the Miller School’s movement disorder fellow and neurology instructor, has been awarded a 2012 American Academy of Neurology Clinical Research Training Fellowship to test a possible medication for patients with Parkinson’s disease who have impaired gait.

Funded by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation, the fellowships include a two-year, $130,000 grant designed to nurture the next generation of clinical neurology researchers. Luca will use the award to conduct a randomized, double blind trial to assess the safety and efficacy of 4-aminopyridine in patients with Parkinson’s disease-related gait dysfunction at the University of Miami Movement Disorders Center.

Read more about the grant »

Volunteer Malorie Hill, left, and her mother Mary Hill, manager of the Center for Liver Diseases research lab, help patients complete consent forms under a tent at the Fruit and Spice Park.

Volunteer Malorie Hill, left, and her mother Mary Hill, manager of the Center for Liver Diseases research lab, help patients complete consent forms under a tent at the Fruit and Spice Park.

Center for Liver Diseases Screens Dozens for Hepatitis at South Miami Dade Festival

Committed to identifying people who are unaware they have hepatitis B or C, the Miller School’s Center for Liver Diseases, in collaboration with the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation, provided free hepatitis screenings at the Asian Cultural Festival in Homestead earlier this month.

Of the 231 people who gave blood samples for the quick and simple test at the Fruit and Spice Park, four tested positive, underscoring the need for more awareness and broader testing of the often asymptomatic diseases that many Americans have no idea they carry – until they develop serious problems, including liver cancer.

Read more about the screenings »

Third-year Miller School student Miguel Gosalbez, right, co-president of the LMSA southeast region, discusses his poster, which won first place at the conference, with first-year student Karenia Soto.

Third-year Miller School student Miguel Gosalbez, right, co-president of the LMSA southeast region, discusses his poster, which won first place at the conference, with first-year student Karenia Soto.

Miller School Hosts Fourth Annual LMSA Regional Conference

Under the banner “Palante Juntos: Aligning to Discover Health Solutions for our Communities,” the UM Hispanic American Medical Student Association last month hosted the fourth annual Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) Southeast Regional Conference at the Miller School.

Held February 17-19, the conference brought together Latino health care professionals, students, and community members to address the health care needs of Latinos through a series of lectures, panels and workshops. Palante Juntos, which means moving forward together, signified the goal for attendees to work together to recognize the value of research, advocacy, passion and education in the practice of medicine.

Read more about the conference »

Miller School Gets Pepped Up for the 2012 Corporate Run/Walk

The Med Student Dance Squad, and a few friends, show their spirit at a March 6 pep rally held on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle for the 2012 Mercedes Benz Corporate Run/Walk. Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., who is known to have run a marathon or two, was on hand to urge Miller School faculty, staff and students to join Team UM for the 5K, or 3.1-mile, race, which begins at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, in downtown Miami.

The first 750 people to sign up for Team UM will receive a $10 discount off the $31 early registration fee, compliments of Benefits Administration, so sign up now by logging on to www.miami.edu/corporaterun, or emailing Team UM captain Ashley Falcon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), for more information. The fee goes up to $36 after March 22 — $26 with the employee discount — but all race participants must register online by April 5.

Sign Petition to Increase NIH Budget by March 18

The FY 2012 budget passed by Congress will slash the NIH budget by more than $50 million. NIH funding created 350,000 jobs and contributed $50 billion to the national economy in 2007. Under the proposed budget, medical research dominance, labs and jobs in the United States are at risk. Members of the Miller School community are encouraged to sign a petition to increase the NIH budget to $33 billion, which would undo the cuts imposed by Congress.

If 25,000 signatures are received, the White House is required to issue an official response. Signatures are needed by March 18.

Taste and Sounds of Miami Begins This Thursday

Experience the Taste and Sounds of Miami weekly food truck rally, farmers market and concert series in the parking lot of the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park, starting Thursday, March 15. Balans Restaurant, a future UM Life Science & Technology Park tenant, will sell wine and beer, and local entertainers will perform from 5 to 9 p.m. this and every Thursday through June 28.

Read more about the Taste and Sounds of Miami »

Women’s History Month Celebration at UM

The University of Miami’s Women’s Commission has embarked on a living history project that chronicles the many contributions women have made to the University. The women who have made outstanding contributions to the University community are featured on the Women’s Commission website.

The project includes a display of pictures and memorabilia through March, which is Women’s History Month.