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

Up Front

Guillermo Amescua, M.D., left, examines the eye of Juan Aguirre.

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Guillermo Amescua, M.D., left, examines the eye of Juan Aguirre.

Bascom Palmer Physician Makes Mother’s Dying Dream Come True

Back in 1979, Miriam Aguirre Santos was walking with her 5-year-old son Juan and his younger sister in their hometown of Holguin de Oriente in Cuba. Suddenly, a motorcycle driver swerved, striking Juan in the head and leaving him with a scar on the cornea of his left eye.

Soon after, the Santos family moved to the U.S., and Juan grew up to be a successful musician, husband and father despite the poor vision in his damaged eye. Through the decades, his mother – a strong believer in organ donation – dreamed of giving one of her corneas to her son, and wrote down her wish in a personal journal. After she died of a heart attack September 30 on Miami Beach, a dedicated team of professionals from the Florida Lions Eye Bank and the Miller School’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute combined their expertise to make her dream come true.

Read more about the unprecedented transplant »

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The Miller School’s IGAP team includes, from left, John R. Gilbert, Ph.D., Gary Beecham, Ph.D., Eden R. Martin, Ph.D., Brian Kunkle, Ph.D., Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., and Kara Hamilton-Nelson. Not pictured is  Amanda Meyers, Ph.D.

The Miller School’s IGAP team includes, from left, John R. Gilbert, Ph.D., Gary Beecham, Ph.D., Eden R. Martin, Ph.D., Brian Kunkle, Ph.D., Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., and Kara Hamilton-Nelson. Not pictured is Amanda Meyers, Ph.D.

International Collaboration Finds 11 New Alzheimer’s Genes to Target for Drug Discovery

Miller School researchers played a key role in the largest international Alzheimer’s disease genetics collaboration to date, which identified 11 new regions of the genome that contribute to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, doubling the number of potential genetics-based therapeutic targets to investigate. Published October 27 in Nature Genetics, the study gives a broader view of the genetic factors contributing to Alzheimer’s and expands the understanding of the disease to new areas, including the immune system, where a genetic overlap with other neurodegenerative diseases, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, was identified.

Read more about the study »

Surrounding Robert and Sissi Feltman, holding plaque, are from left Mauro Moscucci, M.D., M.B.A., Interim Chair of Medicine, Maria Abreu, M.D., and Amar Deshpande, M.D.

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Surrounding Robert and Sissi Feltman, holding plaque, are from left Mauro Moscucci, M.D., M.B.A., Interim Chair of Medicine, Maria Abreu, M.D., and Amar Deshpande, M.D.

Retired Radiologist Robert F. Feltman’s Teaching Legacy Honored at Luncheon

When Robert F. Feltman, M.D., joined the Department of Radiology at UM’s medical school in 1960, he so enjoyed teaching gastrointestinal fellows to read and make diagnoses from X-rays that, for decades, he spent his own time conducting bi-weekly training conferences on campus. Fifty-three years later, Feltman and his family returned to the Miller School for a luncheon honoring his work and lifetime commitment to teaching, a legacy carried on by The Dr. Robert F. Feltman Gastroenterology Education Endowment Fund.

“The Feltman Fund is a critical lifeline in the teaching process, supporting GI fellows who travel to conferences to present their work in this field, and exemplifies the commitment that Robert Feltman had and continues to have in teaching the next generation of physicians,” Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., said in welcoming Feltman, his wife Sissi, several of their children, grandchildren and other family members to the October 21 luncheon held in the Seminar Center at University of Miami Hospital.

Read more about the Feltman Fund »

Daniel J. Feaster, Ph.D.

Daniel J. Feaster, Ph.D.

To Halt AIDS, Stop Brief Risk Counseling and Concentrate on Testing, National Study Finds

For decades, people seeking an HIV test have been counseled on realistic and achievable steps they could take to avoid infection. But a national study led by Miller School investigators has determined that, given the rapid HIV tests available today, the resources devoted to pre-test counseling would be better spent on universal testing that could detect more HIV cases earlier, and link newly infected people to the treatment that could halt the spread of the virus.

Published October 23 in The Journal of the American Medical Association, the study co-led by the Miller School’s Daniel Feaster, Ph.D., associate professor of public health sciences, found that the brief patient-centered counseling recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before rapid HIV testing has no significant impact on the subsequent acquisition of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and should be reconsidered as an AIDS prevention strategy.

Read more about the study »

From left, Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and Norm Parsons, Director of the UM Wellness Centers, lead the 2013 Out of the Darkness walk on the Coral Gables campus.

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From left, Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and Norm Parsons, Director of the UM Wellness Centers, lead the 2013 Out of the Darkness walk on the Coral Gables campus.

Out of the Darkness Walk Sheds Light on Suicide Prevention

Hundreds of people who had lost a friend, a relative or a colleague to suicide joined on the Coral Gables campus Sunday morning for the Out of the Darkness walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The goals of the walk, one of many held around the country, are to raise awareness of suicide and to strengthen care and other efforts to prevent it. There will be more than 40,000 suicides in the U.S. this year, said Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and President of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Florida Southeast Chapter. “There is no health without mental health,” Nemeroff said.

Read more about the walk »

At the AHA Heart Walk, UHealth Aware Director Malinda Clark, R.N., provided heart disease screenings.

At the AHA Heart Walk, UHealth Aware Director Malinda Clark, R.N., provided heart disease screenings.

UHealth Joins American Heart Association Heart Walk

Thousands of walkers turned out at Marlins Park for the American Heart Association Heart Walk Miami, an annual event that is held in cities around the nation. Saturday’s walk brought together people from all over South Florida to raise money and celebrate progress made in the fight against the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers, heart diseases and stroke.

The UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center’s Zumba instructors led the walkers in a rousing warm-up. After the walk, participants were invited to take UHealth Aware assessments to learn their risks for heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea and spine disorders. Mauro Moscucci, M.D., M.B.A., professor and interim Chair of Medicine and Chief of the Cardiovascular Division, led the UHealth Team. The risk assessments were conducted by Malinda Clark, R.N., Director of the UHealth Aware Program, and her team of cardiovascular nurses and UM student nurses.

More than 100 University of Miami students and employees participated in the DCC Spin-a-Thon, taking turns on 37 stationary bikes that were temporarily relocated in the spacious atrium of UM’s Herbert Wellness Center.

More than 100 University of Miami students and employees participated in the DCC Spin-a-Thon, taking turns on 37 stationary bikes that were temporarily relocated in the spacious atrium of UM’s Herbert Wellness Center.

Spinning for a Cure: DCC Spin-a-Thon Raises Funds for Cancer Research

It wasn’t the encouragement from classmates and friends that gave Celia Schieffelin the will to pedal a stationary bike for a solid hour, but the courage of a 50-year-old woman who’s been battling cancer for the past three and a half years.

“She’s my motivation to keep going,” said Schieffelin, an 18-year-old University of Miami freshman, referring to her mother, Barbara Burg. “I’ve seen how driven and determined she’s been throughout her fight, and she inspires me.”

Schieffelin was one of more than 100 students and employees who donned workout clothes and sneakers last Wednesday to pedal, pant, and perspire at the Dolphins Cycling Challenge Spin-a-Thon, which is geared to raise funds for the lifesaving treatment and research programs at UM’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Read more about the Spin-a-Thon »

Sheryl Borg at last year’s Dolphins Cycling Challenge.

Sheryl Borg at last year’s Dolphins Cycling Challenge.

Faculty and Staff Support the U: Grateful Patient Cycles for a ‘Wheel’ Good Cause

Sheryl Borg knows better than anyone the importance of getting screened for cancer. Diagnosed with and treated successfully for a rare form of uterine cancer 12 years ago, Borg is now the picture of health. As a cyclist at this weekend’s Dolphins Cycling Challenge, she will help support the lifesaving treatment and research programs of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Do you have a story to share? Tell us why you give to the U.

Read her story »

Take Advantage of Preventive and Clinical Gastroenterology Services at UHealth

The Division of Gastroenterology’s team of physicians, nurses, scientists, and staff offer an array of services centered on improving patient health, including free preventive care for UM/Aetna medical plan members.

Beginning at age 50, members can receive one free colonoscopy annually. Provided by nationally and internationally recognized faculty, preventive and clinical care is available at University of Miami Hospital and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami. To schedule a screening colonoscopy, UM employees need a referral from their primary care physician and should call the GI Pre-Procedure Unit at University of Miami Hospital, 305-689-2023, to make an appointment. Physician referrals can be faxed to 305-689-2025. The procedure will be performed by a board certified gastroenterologist.

Read more about employee benefits »

2013 Gross Lecture: “The Anatomy of Hate: A Physician’s Perspective”

Bernd A. Wollschlaeger, M.D., voluntary assistant professor of family medicine and community health, will deliver the 12th Biennial Ralph H. and Ruth F. Gross Lecture at the Louis Calder Memorial Library at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 21.

The son of a decorated German tank commander who converted to Judaism after learning more about World War II, Wollschlaeger will present a thought-provoking lecture titled “The Anatomy of Hate: A Physician’s Perspective.”

Read more and RSVP »

2013 United Way Campaign Takes Flight with Goodyear

University of Miami faculty and staff who contribute to the United Way at the leadership level (one percent of salary) will have the chance to join an elite club of aerial travelers. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has partnered with TeamUM to provide the opportunity for a UM United Way campaign contributor and one guest to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to soar up to 1,500 feet above Earth aboard the world famous Goodyear Blimp.

Read more about winning a ride on the Goodyear Blimp »

2013 Finance and Treasury United Way Silent Auction

The UM Department of Finance and Treasury’s annual United Way Silent Auction, which runs through November 18, is still open for bidding at www.miami.edu/silentauction. Prizes include iPads, airline certificates, and much more!

The auction is open to all UM faculty, staff, and students. For more information, please contact Travel Management at 305-284-6585 or travel@miami.edu.

The New World Symphony plays at the New World  Center.

The New World Symphony plays at the New World Center.

New World Symphony Offers Medical Community Half-Price Tickets for November 1 Concert

The New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy, is inviting members of Miami-Dade County’s medical community to take advantage of discounted tickets to its Encounters Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 1. Available to all Miller School faculty and staff at just $12.50 each, the tickets are for an hour-long concert accompanied by engaging narrations and beautifully produced video projections and featuring “Young Giants” exploring the early works of Shostakovich, Bizet, Mendelssohn, and Mozart. The tickets also include two complimentary drinks at a post-concert cocktail hour in the atrium of the New World Center, 500 17th Street, Miami Beach, where concert-goers can meet orchestra members. For more information or to order tickets visit the New World Symphony.