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

Up Front

From left, Richard Rosenzweig, Vice Mayor of Deerfield Beach, Adam E. Carlin, Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Jayne S. Malfitano, Linda Moses, Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., and Steven M. Altschuler, M.D.

From left, Richard Rosenzweig, Vice Mayor of Deerfield Beach, Adam E. Carlin, Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Jayne S. Malfitano, Linda Moses, Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., and Steven M. Altschuler, M.D.

Sylvester Receives Landmark $50 Million Pledge from The Pap Corps

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, announced a landmark $50 million gift from The Pap Corps Champions for Cancer Research at a ceremony at Sylvester at Deerfield Beach on November 10. This commitment, one of the largest made to a cancer center nationally this year, is targeted toward saving lives by funding cancer research. Sylvester’s Deerfield Beach location, which is set to begin a major renovation and expansion in 2017, will be dedicated as “The Pap Corps Campus” in honor of the gift.

“We are tremendously grateful to The Pap Corps leadership, membership, and volunteers for their unwavering support and unique partnership over the past 64 years,” said University of Miami President Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. “The potential impact for patients is enormous, as researchers will be able to develop novel therapies that can potentially lead to cures and personalized treatments for each patient.”

Read more about the Pap Corps gift »

More News

Joshua M. Hare, M.D.

Joshua M. Hare, M.D.

Stem Cells Improve Heart Function for Patients with Chronic Non-Ischemic Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have discovered that allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cells are efficacious and safe when used to treat patients with chronic non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, a degenerative heart condition not caused by coronary disease.

The findings, the result of NIH-funded research, were announced by Joshua M. Hare, M.D., ISCI’s founding director and lead researcher, at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. In addition, he reported, the study revealed that many patients experienced significant increase in heart function after stem cell injections. The treatment thus has the potential to impact heart transplant lists by decreasing a patient’s need for a new heart.

Read more about the research findings »

From left, Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Hilit Mechaber, M.D., Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Judy Fogel, Bernard J. Fogel, M.D., and Steven M. Altschuler, M.D.

From left, Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Hilit Mechaber, M.D., Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Judy Fogel, Bernard J. Fogel, M.D., and Steven M. Altschuler, M.D.

Dr. Alex J. Mechaber Installed as the Dr. Bernard J. Fogel Endowed Chair

In a ceremony that celebrated several generations of University of Miami Miller School of Medicine alumni, Alex J. Mechaber, M.D. ’94, professor of medicine and senior associate dean for undergraduate medical education, was formally installed as the Dr. Bernard J. Fogel Endowed Chair for his 18 years of outstanding service.

Mechaber learned in April that he would become the second holder of the chair, which is named for the respected former dean who served from 1981 to 1995. The first recipient was Mark O’Connell, M.D., the former senior associate dean for educational development, who was awarded the chair in 2007 and retired in 2015.

Read more about Dr. Mechaber's chair »

Sue Miller.

Sue Miller.

Susan Miller, Matriarch of the Miller Family, Passes Away

Susan “Sue” Miller, the matriarch of a family whose business and philanthropic enterprise has left an indelible mark on South Florida and, in particular, improved medical care, student life, and the study of Judaism at the University of Miami, died Thursday after a battle with cancer. She was 81.

“Sue Miller was an inspirational force in our community,” said UM President Julio Frenk. “Her tireless and passionate advocacy for educational opportunities helped lift and shape young minds. Her legacy, in particular through the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, will endure in the many lives touched by her generosity. The University of Miami family mourns her loss, and our hearts go out to her children Stuart, Leslie, Jeffrey, and the entire Miller family.”

Read more about Sue Miller »

J. Sunil Rao, Ph.D.

J. Sunil Rao, Ph.D.

A Breakthrough to Move Cancer Precision Medicine Forward

The terms “personalized medicine” and “precision medicine” are often used interchangeably; however, in the world of science, they’re not quite the same. Personalized medicine means developing a unique treatment plan for each patient. Precision medicine means developing treatment plans for groups of patients with similar conditions. Oncologists aspire to personalized medicine, but cancer is like snowflakes — each patient’s disease has its own unique mutations and other traits.

“Physicians would like to identify red-flag mutations and come up with the magical combination that works really well for that one patient,” explains J. Sunil Rao, Ph.D., co-leader of the Cancer Control and Prevention Program at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and interim chair and professor of public health sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “It turns out, that’s very challenging because if you look deeply enough at a patient’s tumor, everyone’s cancer is different.”

Read more about cancer precision medicine »

From left, Maritza Alencar, D.N.P., M.B.A., ARNP, with Jessica MacIntyre, M.S.N., ARNP.

From left, Maritza Alencar, D.N.P., M.B.A., ARNP, with Jessica MacIntyre, M.S.N., ARNP.

Sylvester Introduces Oncology Fellowship Program for Nurse Practitioners

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is launching Florida’s first oncology fellowship program developed for nurse practitioners. The announcement is being made during National Nurse Practitioners Week, November 13-19.

“Nurse practitioners play an essential role in the care of the oncology patient,” said Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D. “They provide caring, compassion and education, and they are dedicated advocates for exemplary patient care, guiding patients through their treatment process. We are proud to provide such an exclusive program at the cancer center.”

Read more about the fellowship program »

From left, Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., with Brian L. Strom, M.D., M.P.H.

From left, Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., with Brian L. Strom, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Omaida C. Velazquez Honored as a Rutgers 250th Anniversary Fellow

Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., professor and chair of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery at the Miller School of Medicine and Surgeon-in-Chief for the University of Miami Health System and Jackson Health, was honored as a Rutgers 250th Anniversary Fellow last Thursday at the culmination of a year-long celebration at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Velazquez, valedictorian of the Class of 1991 at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), presented on “Surgical Innovation: the Convergence Effect.”

Read more about Dr. Velazquez's honor »

Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., second from left, with donation from Hockey Fights Cancer partnership with Florida Panthers.

Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., second from left, with donation from Hockey Fights Cancer partnership with Florida Panthers.

Sylvester and Florida Panthers Celebrate Hockey Fights Cancer Partnership with $25,000 Donation

November has been an exciting month if you are a Florida Panthers fan or a cancer fighter or survivor. Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has been honored to be the official Hockey Fights Cancer partner of the Panthers this year and announced a $25,000 donation for cancer research during a check presentation at the last Hockey Fights Cancer game on November 12.

The Hockey Fights Cancer partnership kicked off with the Viktor E. Dash 5k race on October 22, followed by the November 1 game vs. the Boston Bruins, November 3 vs. the NJ Devils, November 7 vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning and November 12 vs. the NY Islanders. A portion of the registration fees for the race and the games made up the $25,000 donation to Sylvester, and an additional $5,000 was donated by the NHL.

Read more about the partnership »

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D.

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D.

CREATE Receives National Prize for Interdisciplinary Team Research

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE), directed by Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Center on Aging, was recently selected as the inaugural recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Prize for Interdisciplinary Team Research.

The prize was developed to recognize interdisciplinary research teams that include one or more psychological scientists in major roles and that have produced significant scientific work. CREATE was selected because of the wide scope of its work to ensure that the benefits of technology can be realized by older adults to support and enhance their independence, productivity, health, safety, social connectedness and quality of life.

Read more about CREATE's prize »

Thinh H. Tran, M.D., M.B.A., signing Consent-to-Contact form, with patient access representative Miguel Martinez.

Thinh H. Tran, M.D., M.B.A., signing Consent-to-Contact form, with patient access representative Miguel Martinez.

University of Miami Health System Patients Gain New Access to Clinical Studies

Patients at the University of Miami Health System are now being asked a new question when they check in for their appointment, one that will open a new opportunity to take advantage of the many innovative therapies and treatments available through the health system. In addition to the regular questions about updated address and insurance information, patients will be asked if they would like to be contacted in the future about clinical studies for which they may qualify.

The launch of the Consent-to-Contact Initiative provides a major step for UHealth to expand the way its pioneering research impacts the lives of patients.

Read more about the Consent-to-Contact Initiative »

Clockwise from top left, Juan Dominguez-Bendala, Ph.D., Luca A. Inverardi, M.D., and Ricardo L. Pastori, Ph.D.

Clockwise from top left, Juan Dominguez-Bendala, Ph.D., Luca A. Inverardi, M.D., and Ricardo L. Pastori, Ph.D.

DRI Scientists Receive Grant to Increase Insulin-Producing Cells for Transplant

Scientists at the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, along with UM start-up Ophysio, Inc., have been awarded a $1.4 million National Institutes of Health grant to advance their work turning leftover pancreatic tissues that are typically discarded after transplantation into insulin-producing cells that could be transplanted into type 1 diabetes patients.

Combined with a UM-developed oxygen modulation technology that improves the survival and function of pancreatic islet cells before transplantation, the new technology may lead to the generation of enough insulin-producing cells to transplant several patients from a single donor organ.

Read more about the NIH grant »

Sandra Lemmon, Ph.D., is welcomed to Iron Arrow with cheers and applause.

View Photo Gallery »

Sandra Lemmon, Ph.D., is welcomed to Iron Arrow with cheers and applause.

Iron Arrow Honor Society Taps Seven from Medical Campus

Seven Miller School of Medicine students, faculty members and alumni were among the 22 “tapped” last week for membership in the Iron Arrow Honor Society.

Being selected for Iron Arrow is considered the University of Miami’s highest honor. Members of the “tribe,” who wear brightly colored patchwork jackets based on Seminole designs, are chosen based on leadership, character, humility, scholarship and love of alma mater.

Read more about Iron Arrow »

Seated from left, Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Ana Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.P.H., and Edward L. Hunter.

Seated from left, Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Ana Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.P.H., and Edward L. Hunter.

Film Screening, Panel Discussion Kick Off Public Health Certificate Program

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences, the School of Business Administration, and the de Beaumont Foundation recently launched the Building Expertise in Administration and Management (BEAM) Certificate Program that will train public health professionals in business fundamentals and skills.

The October 25 event featured a screening of the documentary Public Health and Politics: Examining the Surgeon General and a panel discussion with UM President Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Edward L. Hunter, President and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, and Ana Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.P.H., the first Surgeon General of the State of Florida.

Read more about the BEAM Certificate Program »

Dr. Sara J. Czaja to Serve as Reviewer for VA Research Award

Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Center on Aging, has been invited to serve on the review panel for the Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

This award is the highest honor for VA health services researchers. As a reviewer, Czaja will be asked to evaluate the nominees and select one candidate for recommendation to the Under Secretary for Health.

Flu Vaccine Deadline Extended to Wednesday, November 16

The deadline for Miller School of Medicine and University of Miami Health System employees to receive a flu shot has been extended to Wednesday, November 16, at 5 p.m.

At UHealth, patient safety is our top priority and the primary driver in requiring flu vaccination for health care workers and other staff who work in facilities where patient care is provided. Health care workers are all those Miller School of Medicine and UHealth employees whose role requires them to have in-person interactions (both clinical and non-clinical) with patients. This would include all hospital and clinic workers (both faculty and staff), regardless of location.

Read more about the extended flu shot deadline »

2016 United Way Silent Auction Is Now Live!

The Department of Finance and Treasury’s annual United Way Silent Auction is open through November 21, at www.miami.edu/silentauction. With prizes from name-brand electronics to fabulous hotel getaways, there’s something for everyone. The auction is open to faculty, staff and students. Contact Travel Management at 305-284-6585 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

Photo ID & Parking Office Will Close November 24-25

The Photo ID & Parking Office, located in Dominion Parking Garage suite 145, will close on Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25. Anyone needing to purchase daily parking passes and those responsible for distributing transit passes should prepare accordingly. The office plans to distribute transit passes on November 22. In the event of an emergency on November 25, call 243-6000, and the office will find a way to accommodate the situation.

Business Plan Competition First Deadline is November 30

Do you have a great idea for a new business? The University of Miami School of Business Administration’s annual Business Plan Competition has more than $50,000 in prize money just waiting for great ideas. The competition is open to all UM students and alumni, but your first deadline is coming up soon; concept papers are due by November 30. For more details visit miami.edu/bplan or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Need to Know About New Overtime Regulations? View These Resources

The University is offering multiple live seminars, including “Redefining Your Budget” with Fidelity and “Managing Change” with the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, in November to assist employees affected by changes to federal overtime regulations that take effect December 1. Affected faculty and staff are also encouraged to attend one of the live sessions offered on all three campuses.

The Department of Labor announced earlier this year that it was updating the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime rules by increasing the salary threshold for qualifying for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. The University began notifying employees who are affected by the change last week. Depending on their “job profile,” some employees will transition from exempt to non-exempt, even if their salary meets or exceeds the new FLSA salary threshold of $47,476.

Read more about the FLSA overtime seminars »

Executive MBA for Health Care Professionals Class Begins January 6

The School of Business Administration’s next Executive MBA for Health Care Professionals class begins January 6, 2017. Contact Catherine Garrido at 305-284-3710 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

‘Smoke Out’ Exhibit Continues through November 25

Art MD, a nonprofit organization formed by colleagues from University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital to create health promotion campaigns through art, invites you to see “Smoke Out.” It will be on display at the Louis Calder Memorial Library through November 25.

“Smoke Out” is an art exhibit that focuses on tobacco cessation. All the art pieces presented in this exhibit seek to inspire the viewer in a different way to quit smoking. Some are made from recycled cigarette butts that have been collected from prior clean-up events. In a way, we are healing our environment by picking up cigarette butts contaminating our beaches and streets, and turning something ugly into something beautiful to give people the courage needed to quit a habit that damages their health.

Read more about the "Smoke Out" exhibit »

Registration Continues for The Business of Health Care Post-Election, March 3

The 2016 U.S. election and anticipated policy outcomes will significantly impact the health care industry over the next four years and beyond. On Friday, March 3, 2017, the Center for Health Sector Management and Policy at the University of Miami School of Business Administration will host the sixth in its series of premier health care industry impact conferences, “The Business of Health Care Post Election.”

Read more about the conference »

*** Reminder: Submission Deadline for the Next Issue ***

The next issue of e-Update will be published on Tuesday, January 24. The deadline for submissions will be the prior Wednesday, January 18, at noon.