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

Up Front

From left, UHealth's Marcia Dodo, DNP, ARNP, Gloria Hodgson, medical assistant, and Larkin Community Hospital's Robert Fernandez, D.O., demonstrate how nine Miami-Dade County schools use telehealth for mental health counseling.

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From left, UHealth's Marcia Dodo, DNP, ARNP, Gloria Hodgson, medical assistant, and Larkin Community Hospital's Robert Fernandez, D.O., demonstrate how nine Miami-Dade County schools use telehealth for mental health counseling.

School Health Clinics Expand to Include Dental and Counseling Services

Fueled by a $4 million federal Health Care Innovation Award, the Miller School has added mental health services and expanded dental services to the primary care programs of the School Health Initiative. The program, in operation for a decade, has served 11,000 Miami-Dade County public school students in nine schools and is positioned to be a national model.

Originally funded by the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation, the School Health Initiative established a primary care program staffed by Miller School doctors in four elementaries, two middle schools and three high schools in North Miami, North Miami Beach and Overtown. Joycelyn Lawrence, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and community health, has led the team of nurses and nurses’ aides who have been providing primary care, lab visits, vaccines and social work services.

“In addition to those services, we wanted to deliver care in a more holistic approach,” Lawrence said. “We wanted a more comprehensive model to further address the needs of our students and their families.”

Read more and view a photo gallery of the clinics »

More News

Camillo Ricordi, M.D.

Camillo Ricordi, M.D.

DRI Tests BioHub Mini Organ to Restore Natural Insulin Production in Type 1 Diabetes

Scientists from the University of Miami’s Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) are taking a quantum leap toward a biological cure for diabetes by unveiling the DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that contains lifesaving insulin-producing cells that can sense blood sugar and release the precise amount of insulin needed in real time. The BioHub platform mimics the native pancreas and brings the promise of restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels in millions of people living with diabetes one step closer to reality.

The DRI’s research focus has been on developing a biological cure for diabetes by replacing the insulin-producing islet cells that have been mistakenly destroyed by the immune system in patients with type 1 diabetes. Clinical trials have already shown that people with long-standing diabetes can achieve insulin independence after receiving infusions of islet cells from a donor organ. Some study patients continue to be insulin-free for more than a decade following transplant.

Read more about the DRI BioHub »

JoAnn Trybulski, Ph.D., ANP-BC, DPNAP

JoAnn Trybulski, Ph.D., ANP-BC, DPNAP

UMH’s New Chief Nursing Officer Looks Forward to Creating Healthcare Systems for the Future

JoAnn Trybulski, Ph.D., ANP-BC, DPNAP, who as associate dean at the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies advanced the Doctor of Nursing Practice program from an idea to a national model, has joined University of Miami Hospital’s leadership team as Chief Nursing Officer. An expert in primary care who co-edited an award-winning textbook on the subject, Trybulski assumes her new role from David Zambrana, D.N.P., M.B.A., R.N., who until now served as both Chief Operating and Chief Nursing Officer.

“JoAnn brings a wealth of expertise to UMH and we are thrilled to have her on board,” Zambrana said. “Her experience in clinical and advance practice nursing will help us continue to integrate University of Miami Hospital with the School of Nursing and Health Studies. Additionally, her keen focus on advance practice nursing and the use of nurse practitioners will allow us to fully utilize the role of the APN in support of our strategy of creating a more robust primary care network.”

Read more about Dr. Trybulski »

Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S.

Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S.

Miller School Neurology Chair Coauthors AHA Guide to Combat Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

The Miller School’s Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., the first neurologist to serve as president of the national American Heart Association, coauthored the AHA’s new recommendations for policymakers and public health providers to combat heart disease and stroke at the local level.

Published March 21 in the AHA journal Circulation, the “American Heart Association Guide for Improving Cardiovascular Health at the Community Level, 2013 Update” includes evidence-based goals, strategies and recommendations for community-based public health interventions.

“This is a comprehensive guide to help communities shift more of their residents into ideal cardiovascular health,” said Sacco, professor and Chair of Neurology, the Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders and Executive Director of the McKnight Brain Institute.

Read more about the guide »

Mohammad A. Faghihi, M.D., Ph.D.

Mohammad A. Faghihi, M.D., Ph.D.

Miller School Faculty Awarded $1.7 Million to Study Non-Coding RNA Mediated Epigenetic Regulation

Mohammad A. Faghihi, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Center for Therapeutic Innovation, has been awarded a $1.7 million five-year grant by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study epigenetic regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important nerve growth factor found in the brain and periphery. BDNF supports the survival of existing neurons, and encourages the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.

With his grant for “Antisense RNA Mediated Epigenetic Regulation of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor,” Faghihi will study how long non-coding antisense RNAs, which are endogenous regulatory elements frequently transcribed in the human genome, mediate alteration of epigenetic marks to suppress the expression of sense mRNA and protein.

Read more about the grant »

R. Rodney Howell, M.D.

R. Rodney Howell, M.D.

R. Rodney Howell, M.D., Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Newborn screening pioneer R. Rodney Howell, M.D., professor of pediatrics and chair emeritus of pediatrics at the Miller School, has received the March of Dimes/Colonel Harland Sanders Lifetime Achievement Award in Genetics. Howell, a geneticist and pediatrician who played a key role in developing the uniform panel of serious disorders for which nearly every baby in the United States is tested, received the award from Edward R.B. McCabe, M.D., March of Dimes Medical Director, and Joe Leigh Simpson, M.D., March of Dimes Senior Vice President of Research and Global Programs. The ceremony took place in Phoenix, Arizona, at the American College of Medical Genetics annual meeting on Wednesday, March 20.

Howell is credited with leading his colleagues in evaluating and creating the core list of newborn screening tests for genetic or functional conditions that can be catastrophic to a baby if not detected early. In many cases, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent or lessen the severity of these conditions. Today, these screening tests are administered to nearly all infants born in the U.S. each year, and expansion of newborn screening is a key public health accomplishment.

Read more about Dr. Howell »

Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., left, and Clinton Wright, M.D., M.S.

Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., left, and Clinton Wright, M.D., M.S.

Study Finds Cold Sore Virus May Cause Memory Problems

Miller School researchers led by Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., professor and Chair of Neurology, collaborated on a study that found the virus that causes cold sores, along with other viral or bacterial infections, may be associated with cognitive problems. Published March 26 in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, the study shows that people with higher levels of infection in their blood, which indicates exposure over years to various pathogens such as the herpes simplex type 1 virus that causes cold sores, were more likely to have cognitive problems than people with lower levels of infection in the blood.

Read more about the study »

At the airway workshop, medical students John Collazo, left, and Nicholas Cortolillo observe while Chase Knickerbocker practices patient ventilation using a bag valve mask.

At the airway workshop, medical students John Collazo, left, and Nicholas Cortolillo observe while Chase Knickerbocker practices patient ventilation using a bag valve mask.

Miller School Hosts Emergency Medicine Symposium

More than 50 students from five medical schools across South Florida gathered on the Miller School campus this month to learn more about emergency medicine from leaders in the field at the second annual Southeast Regional Emergency Medicine Student Symposium.

Sponsored by the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association, the symposium offered a variety of activities. First-year students took a break from lectures to learn how to use bag valve masks and laryngoscopes during a structured airway workshop, while students more acquainted with emergency medicine discussed the wide range of fellowships available in the specialty, including sports medicine, critical care, and emergency medical services.

Read more about the symposium »

From left are Eric Weiss, Jessica Li, Gaurav Singh, Rep. Eduardo Gonzalez, Jenna Bordelon, Laura Stone, and Richa Taneja.

From left are Eric Weiss, Jessica Li, Gaurav Singh, Rep. Eduardo Gonzalez, Jenna Bordelon, Laura Stone, and Richa Taneja.

UM Medical Students Meet State Legislators for FMA Legislative Visit Day

Six Miller School students joined medical school classmates from across the state for the Florida Medical Association’s Legislative Visit Day at the Florida State Capitol.

Jenna Bordelon, Jessica Li, Gaurav Singh, Richa Taneja, Eric Weiss and Laura Stone were selected to represent the University of Miami at the exclusive event for FMA Medical Student Section members.

Read more about the students' visit »

Pictured at the Emerging Leaders graduation ceremony are, from left, Joe Natoli, Interim Chief Operating Officer, Miller School of Medicine and UHealth, and Senior Vice President for Business and Finance and CFO; Emerging Leaders Fernande Saintilis, Kelley Seaman, Sidney Hartley, Daiana Geca, Yojaira Henry, and Suzanne Fong; Nerissa Morris, Vice President for Human Resources; and Steve Cawley, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.

Pictured at the Emerging Leaders graduation ceremony are, from left, Joe Natoli, Interim Chief Operating Officer, Miller School of Medicine and UHealth, and Senior Vice President for Business and Finance and CFO; Emerging Leaders Fernande Saintilis, Kelley Seaman, Sidney Hartley, Daiana Geca, Yojaira Henry, and Suzanne Fong; Nerissa Morris, Vice President for Human Resources; and Steve Cawley, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.

Ready to Lead: Six Honored for Completing Emerging Leaders Program

Six of the University of Miami’s newest emerging leaders hail from departments across the institution and have recently sharpened the skills they will need to become highly effective managers. The group was honored on February 15 during a private ceremony at the Newman Alumni Center for completing UM’s Leadership Academy Emerging Leaders Program, an initiative that prepares high-performing employees for the transition to supervisory roles.

They include Fernande Saintilis, team manager in the Office of Research Administration; Suzanne Fong, senior administrative assistant in the Department of Radiology; Yojaira Henry, senior administrative assistant, UHealth Revenue Cycle; Daiana Geca, senior healthcare contracting analyst in Business Development and Managed Care; Sidney Hartley, senior administrative assistant in the Department of Anesthesiology; and Kelley Seaman, senior administrative assistant of academic computing in Information Technology.

Read more about the Emerging Leaders Program »

By walking through a tunnel representing a giant colon, visitors see the difference between normal and diseased colon tissue.

By walking through a tunnel representing a giant colon, visitors see the difference between normal and diseased colon tissue.

Touring Giant Colon Raises Awareness of Deadly But Preventable Colorectal Cancer

Dozens of visitors walked through the “Giant Inflatable Colon” stationed in the courtyard of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center on March 22 as part of a nationwide tour to renowned cancer centers during March, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The interactive exhibit, which features examples of normal healthy tissue, benign polyps and advanced colon cancer, is meant to increase awareness about colon cancer and encourage people to get colonoscopies. Though 90 percent of colorectal cancers are preventable and 90 percent are treatable if detected early, colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the nation. View the online photo gallery.

One More Day for Ticket Distribution for Family Weekend with the Miami Marlins

The last day to pick up tickets for the Family Weekend with the Miami Marlins is Wednesday, March 27, on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In appreciation of the dedication and outstanding work of its employees, the University will once again host the event on Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, at Marlins Park in Little Havana, where the Marlins will take on the National League Central Division Chicago Cubs at 7:10 p.m. on Saturday and 1:10 p.m. on Sunday.

Each regular employee, as well as contract employees, can receive one complimentary ticket and purchase up to two additional tickets for $1 each. Employees are allowed to pick up one complimentary ticket and purchase up to two additional tickets for one game only — either the April 27 or April 28 game. Children under 3 do not require tickets. Each ticket comes with a food voucher for a hot dog, chips, and a fountain drink or bottle of water.

Read more about UM's Family Weekend with the Miami Marlins »