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

Up Front

Rodrigo Vianna, M.D.

Rodrigo Vianna, M.D.

Pioneering Surgeon Rodrigo Vianna, M.D., Named Director of Miami Transplant Institute

Rodrigo Vianna, M.D., one of the world’s most experienced multiorgan transplant surgeons, has been named Director of Transplant Services and Chief of Liver and Gastrointestinal Transplant at the Miami Transplant Institute, a collaborative program between the Miller School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Vianna, who completed his training at the University of Miami at Jackson Memorial Hospital, joins the Miller School faculty and an expanded leadership team at the institute after a decade at Indiana University School of Medicine, where he built the nation’s largest volume Intestinal/Multivisceral Transplant program, and dramatically reduced the average operating time – and thus recovery time – for liver transplants.

“We are grateful to Jackson’s leadership and to Dr. Gaetano Ciancio for their help in bringing Dr. Vianna home,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. “He brings a level of technical expertise that will be of extraordinary benefit to our patients and partners.”

Read more about Dr. Vianna »

More News

Jeffery M. Vance, M.D., Ph.D., and Karen Nuytemans, Ph.D.

Jeffery M. Vance, M.D., Ph.D., and Karen Nuytemans, Ph.D.

UM Researchers Sequence Rare Variants Associated With Parkinson Disease

Miller School researchers have conducted whole exome sequencing to further investigate genes recently identified as being associated with Parkinson disease. The findings of their study, “Whole exome sequencing of rare variants in EIF4G1 and VPS35 in Parkinson Disease,” were published online this month in the journal Neurology.

Led by senior author Jeffery M. Vance, M.D., Ph.D., professor of human genetics and neurology, the investigators are among the first to use whole exome sequencing to evaluate rare variants in Parkinson disease. The journal recognized the accomplishment with an accompanying editorial, “The importance of rare DNA variation in neurologic disease.”

Read more about the study »

Margaret Fischl, M.D., and Richard Myers, Ph.D.

Margaret Fischl, M.D., and Richard Myers, Ph.D.

Two Miller School Faculty Members to Receive Faculty Senate Awards

Two Miller School faculty members have been chosen to receive two of the three annual awards the Faculty Senate bestows to recognize exceptional efforts in three key areas of academia – scholarly achievement, teaching and service.

Margaret Fischl, M.D., professor of medicine, Director of the Miami AIDS Clinical Research Unit and Co-Director of the Miami Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), will be the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award. Richard Myers, Ph.D., lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will be honored with the Outstanding Teaching Award.

Read more about Dr. Fischl and Dr. Myers »

Diana D. Cardenas, M.D., M.H.A., serves on the IOM committee that issued the report.

Diana D. Cardenas, M.D., M.H.A., serves on the IOM committee that issued the report.

IOM Committee, Including Diana D. Cardenas, M.D., Recommends Customized Care for Veterans

Members of a blue-ribbon panel convened by the Institute of Medicine, including the Miller School’s Diana D. Cardenas, have found that many U.S. war veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from the same set of medically unexplained symptoms as veterans who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

In a recently issued report, the Committee on Gulf War and Health: Treatment for Chronic Multisymptom Illness, said there is no single therapy or universal treatment that will help all veterans afflicted with chronic multisymptom illness (CMI) and recommended the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs customize care with an array of therapies tailored to meet each veteran’s individual needs. A prepublication copy of the report, which was sponsored by the VA, is available online.

“This is a serious problem for veterans,’’ said Cardenas, M.D., M.H.A., professor and Chair of Rehabilitation Medicine, who has been a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) since 2004 and previously served on the IOM Board on Military and Veterans Health. “One of the issues is that so many physicians discount their problems. Many soldiers told us, ‘Doctors make us think it’s all in our head.’ So one of our charges was to inform the VA how to improve care.”

Read more about the report »

Hermes Florez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Hermes Florez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Hermes Florez Named Interim Chief of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine

Hermes Florez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine and epidemiology and public health, has been named Interim Chief of the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at the Miller School and Interim Director of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Miami VA Healthcare System. Florez replaces Bruce Troen, M.D., as division chief and Bernard Roos, M.D., as GRECC director. Both professors of medicine are stepping back from administrative duties to focus on their research.

“Hermes brings a tremendously positive influence to both roles,” said Mauro Moscucci, M.D., M.B.A., professor and Interim Chair of Medicine. “His knowledge, expertise, background and determination are a good fit for the future of geriatrics, which is such a critical component in our evolving healthcare environment.”

Read more about Dr. Florez »

Dedicating the new division are, from left, James Grichnik, M.D., Ph.D., Linda and David Frankel, their son Greg with grandson Vince, and daughter-in-law Alexandra, and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and Lawrence A. Schachner, M.D.

Dedicating the new division are, from left, James Grichnik, M.D., Ph.D., Linda and David Frankel, their son Greg with grandson Vince, and daughter-in-law Alexandra, and Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and Lawrence A. Schachner, M.D.

Generous Gift Establishes Melanoma Division in Department of Dermatology

With the extraordinary generosity of David M. Frankel, M.D., and his family, the Miller School’s Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery has established The Frankel Family Division of Melanocytic Tumors, bringing researchers and physicians one step closer to conquering a formidable foe.

As Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., noted at the February 13 naming ceremony for the division, which was launched with a $1 million gift made by Frankel, a UM dermatology resident in the class of 1980, and his family, melanoma kills one American every hour. Under the leadership of Lawrence A. Schachner, M.D., Chairman and Harvey Blank Professor of Dermatology, James Grichnik, M.D., Ph.D., professor of dermatology and one of the nation’s foremost melanoma experts, will serve as chief of the new division.

Read more about the gift »

Laura Stone, center, receives the Leadership Award from, at left, the AMA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer James L. Madara, M.D., Foundation President Clarence Chou, M.D., and President Jeremy A. Lazarus, M.D., and Jack B. Watters, M.D., Vice President for External Medical Affairs at Pfizer Inc.

Laura Stone, center, receives the Leadership Award from, at left, the AMA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer James L. Madara, M.D., Foundation President Clarence Chou, M.D., and President Jeremy A. Lazarus, M.D., and Jack B. Watters, M.D., Vice President for External Medical Affairs at Pfizer Inc.

AMA Foundation Honors Miller School Student With National Leadership Award

Third-year medical student Laura Stone is one of only 20 recipients of the American Medical Association Foundation’s 2013 Leadership Award. The national award recognizes exceptional medical professionals — medical students, residents, fellows and early career physicians — who positively influence healthcare beyond the practice of medicine.

Stone received the award, presented in association with Pfizer Inc., at the foundation’s annual Excellence in Medicine Awards ceremony on February 11 in Washington, D.C., where recipients were recognized for demonstrating outstanding leadership skills in advocacy, community service and education.

Read more about Laura Stone »

Stroke survivor Mycle Brandy, left, meets Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., at University of Miami Hospital.

Stroke survivor Mycle Brandy, left, meets Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., at University of Miami Hospital.

Four-time Stroke Survivor Meets UM’s Leading Stroke Expert After Cross Country Walk

Four-time stroke survivor Mycle Brandy met Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., professor and Chair of Neurology and the Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders, at University of Miami Hospital on February 14 after completing the final leg of his third cross country walk, this one from Maine to Miami. Brandy’s Walking Across America project is designed to raise awareness about the warning signs for stroke and encourage other stroke survivors to walk as part of their rehabilitation. Sacco, the first neurologist to serve as national president of the American Heart Association, told Brandy that he exemplifies how stroke patients can recover.

CaneSearch University-Wide Research Day to Address Community Concerns About Obesity

In a community with nearly 80 percent racial and ethnic minorities and with two-thirds of adults and up to 20 percent of children ages 2-4 obese or overweight, the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) drives scientific discovery and its translation into evidence-based practices to improve minority health and reduce health disparities. That’s why on Wednesday, February 27, the Miami CTSI will hold its first major University-wide initiative, “CaneSearch,” to help identify these goals through a poster session on topics related to obesity, including research, educational, clinical and community-based activities across disciplines.

The goals of the event, which will focus on the Science of Obesity, are to bring together University scientists, clinicians, students, educators and caregivers to promote meaningful partnerships, advance collaborative research, display cutting-edge science and community initiatives that address this serious issue, and engage colleagues from regional universities and research institutes as well as community-based partners and research foundations.

Read more about CaneSearch »

University of Miami to Host Impact Obesity “Hackathon”

Lift1428, a Miami-based innovation, design, and strategy firm devoted to the healthcare industry, is joining the University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) to stage a unique hackathon in South Florida aimed at tackling obesity.

Hackathons typically bring together computer programmers and others involved in software development to collaborate intensely on a given software project, but on Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24, entrepreneurs and innovators are invited to join UM students and faculty and healthcare professionals to focus on a community crisis: the obesity epidemic in our diverse community. The event will be hosted by Right Space Innovation at UM’s Life Science & Technology Park, starting at 8 a.m.

Event coordinator Norma Kenyon, Ph.D., Director of the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research, Chief Innovation Officer at the Miller School, Director of the Novel Clinical and Translational Methods component of the Miami CTSI and Vice Provost for Innovation at the University of Miami, says the hackathon is designed to bring together teams that have innovative business ideas related to managing and reducing obesity.

Read more about the hackathon »

Sylvester at Deerfield Beach Celebrates Feel the Hugs Day

Nurses at UHealth’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at Deerfield Beach celebrated Feel the Hugs Day this Valentine’s Day to promote a positive environment for patients and families.

After their own family was affected by cancer, Karen Rapport and Leslie Bruce founded the Feel the Hugs organization to help others experiencing challenging times by providing emotional support and focusing on the healing power of hope and love.

For more information on Feel the Hugs, please visit www.feelthehugs.com.