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

Up Front

From left are Rep. Erik Fresen, Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Governor Rick Scott, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and UM President Donna E. Shalala

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From left are Rep. Erik Fresen, Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Governor Rick Scott, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and UM President Donna E. Shalala

Gov. Rick Scott Visits Sylvester Cancer Center

Florida Governor Rick Scott took a whirlwind tour of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center while in Miami last week, stopping to shake hands with many surprised patients and employees before meeting with center Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., UM President Donna E. Shalala and Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., to stress his commitment to improving cancer care in the state.

“We were thrilled to have him visit the cancer center and delighted in his interest in cancer,” Nimer said. “He commended us on the progress we have been making and stressed the importance of improving cancer care throughout the state of Florida as one of his primary objectives. We are very pleased by the commonality of interests and dedication to the mission.”

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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 »

Shivam Joshi, M.D.

Shivam Joshi, M.D.

Miami Transplant Institute Study Explains Disparities in Kidney Transplant Waitlist

In a study that is prompting a new education campaign for South Florida patients with chronic kidney disease, researchers at the Miami Transplant Institute have found that black and Hispanic patients with end stage renal disease remain on dialysis significantly longer than non-Hispanic white patients before being waitlisted for a transplant. Published in the journal Transplantation, the study attributes the disparities largely to the lower socioeconomic or non-citizenship status of blacks and Hispanics, and the failure to preemptively waitlist them for transplant before starting dialysis, presumably a consequence of initiating care for their failing kidneys too late.

While a longer time on dialysis, which is associated with poorer transplant outcomes, has been well documented for African-American patients who usually lack private health insurance and are poorer than their white counterparts, there are relatively few studies specifically comparing Hispanic and white access to the kidney transplant waitlist. As a result, the study’s first author, Shivam Joshi, M.D., a 2012 graduate of the Miller School and current research fellow at the institute, senior author Gaetano Ciancio, M.D., M.B.A., the institute’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Academic Officer, and their colleagues set out to investigate differences in waitlist access among whites, blacks, and Hispanics in South Florida. The goal was to pinpoint the risk factors that predict a longer time on dialysis before waitlisting, and to determine how to help providers improve patient care before and during the listing process.

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Richard M. Awdeh, M.D.

Richard M. Awdeh, M.D.

Bascom Palmer Researchers Discover Novel Way to Detect Ocular Disease

In a study led by Richard M. Awdeh, M.D., assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology, researchers at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute have discovered a novel use for optical coherence tomography to detect molecular markers and improve diagnosis of ocular disease.

Published online before print in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, a journal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the study, “Molecular Histopathology Using Gold Nanorod and Optical Coherence Tomography,” shows that gold nanorods can be used as molecular markers to image ocular tissue in the setting of ocular surface squamous neoplasia, a precancerous or, rarely, cancerous lesion that enlarges and causes vision loss.

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From left are the Miller School's Ralph Sacco, M.D., M.S., and McKnight Foundation trustees J. Lee Dockery, M.D., Nina Ellenbogen Raim, M.D., J.D., Robert M. Wah, M.D., and Melanie A. Cianciotto, and behind her, the Miller School’s Clinton Wright, M.D., M.S., and trustees Henry “Hank” H. Raattama, Jr., J.D., and Gene R. Ryerson, M.D.

From left are the Miller School's Ralph Sacco, M.D., M.S., and McKnight Foundation trustees J. Lee Dockery, M.D., Nina Ellenbogen Raim, M.D., J.D., Robert M. Wah, M.D., and Melanie A. Cianciotto, and behind her, the Miller School’s Clinton Wright, M.D., M.S., and trustees Henry “Hank” H. Raattama, Jr., J.D., and Gene R. Ryerson, M.D.

McKnight Brain Institute Highlights Research and Education Accomplishments

The Board of Trustees of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation returned to the Miller School of Medicine last week for an update on the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute’s ongoing and new research into the causes and treatment of age-related cognitive disorders of the brain.

Welcoming the trustees to the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute’s fourth program update on February 20, Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., said the institute, established in 2008 with a $5 million foundation grant, continues to explore vascular cognitive impairment, with an emphasis on modifiable risk factors, and neurodegenerative diseases that commonly affect older adults. “I don’t think there is an issue that is more important in the 21st century than to deal with changes that happen in the brain, particularly as it relates to one of its weakest functions, memory,” the Dean said.

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John E. Lewis, Ph.D.

John E. Lewis, Ph.D.

Miller School Receives “Connections for Cardiovascular Health” Grant for HIV/AIDS Patients

The Miller School’s “Healthy Living for Better Days” initiative has received a $223,738 grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s “Connections for Cardiovascular Health” program. Under the leadership of John E. Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, “Healthy Living for Better Days” is designed to combine an exercise program and healthy eating education into a community program for improving the overall and cardiovascular health of people of low socioeconomic status who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Florida ranks third in the United States in the number of HIV/AIDS cases, while Miami-Dade County ranks first in the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the state. “The ‘Healthy Living for Better Days’ program works to improve overall health among the most underserved HIV/AIDS patient population of Miami-Dade County,” said Lewis. “All of our participants will have an opportunity to train for local walkathons to achieve and promote the ‘Healthy Living’ program.”

Read more about the program »

On the ninth floor of the CRB, Pasha's Restaurant is offering 50-percent discounts from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays.

On the ninth floor of the CRB, Pasha's Restaurant is offering 50-percent discounts from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays.

Pasha’s Cuts Prices in Half for Late-Afternoon/Early-Evening Meals

Pasha’s Restaurant on the medical campus is offering a 50-percent discount on all regularly priced menu items purchased between 4 and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The discount applies to dine-in and carry-out orders.

Located on the newly remodeled ninth floor of the Clinical Research Building, adjacent to the Medical Wellness Center, Pasha’s offers fresh, healthy and delicious Mediterranean cuisine, including all-natural juices and smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, wraps and platters. For more information, call 305-243-7693.