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

Up Front

Corey Martin, M.D., student speaker for the Miller School Class of 2014, makes the ‘U’ as he congratulates his classmates at Saturday’s medical commencement ceremony.

Corey Martin, M.D., student speaker for the Miller School Class of 2014, makes the ‘U’ as he congratulates his classmates at Saturday’s medical commencement ceremony.

Class of 2014 Celebrates the End of a Journey

“We made it!”

With that declaration, student speaker Corey Martin, M.D., captured the feeling of the entire Class of 2014 as the Miller School graduates received their medical degrees at the commencement ceremony held at the BankUnited Center Saturday evening.

Before the processional fanfare began, the men and women about to embark on their careers in medicine excitedly put on their robes, embraced one another and smiled nervously in anticipation. As Martin noted in his speech, over the past four or more years the graduates had turned from friends into family, urging one another to find their “light” so the “world can shine a little more brilliantly.”

View photos of the ceremony >>

Read more about medical commencement 2014 »

More News

The UHealthConnect team celebrates its win.

The UHealthConnect team celebrates its win.

UHealthConnect Wins Top Award for Improvements in Patient Access

The UHealthConnect patient access center has won the “Best Strategic Value to the Organization” Award in the Global Contact Center Awards program sponsored by the International Customer Management Institute. The ICMI is the largest professional organization for call centers, and the awards are the highest recognition in the industry.

UHealthConnect won for its improvements in patient access since operations were centralized in 2012, and the benefits those improvements have had on the entire UHealth system. It is the first health system patient access center to win an award from ICMI in any category.

Read more about UHealthConnect »

From left, Letitia Winston, assistant director of program and professional services, and Kyle Taylor, communications manager, both from the School-Based Health Alliance, Marcia Dodo, DNP, ARNP, clinic manager at North Miami Beach Senior High, and Mary Saiz, HMO consultant for the School Health Initiative, attend a CVS Project Health wellness campaign in Washington, D.C.

From left, Letitia Winston, assistant director of program and professional services, and Kyle Taylor, communications manager, both from the School-Based Health Alliance, Marcia Dodo, DNP, ARNP, clinic manager at North Miami Beach Senior High, and Mary Saiz, HMO consultant for the School Health Initiative, attend a CVS Project Health wellness campaign in Washington, D.C.

School Health Initiative Extends Reach with “New Directions” Grant

The Miller School’s Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation School Health Initiative has been awarded a New Directions for School-Based Health Grant funded by the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and administered by the School-Based Health Alliance. The grant will allow the School Health Initiative to build upon its existing structure, increase program visibility and promote community awareness and buy-in.

A partnership between the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation and the Miller School Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, the School Health Initiative brings free healthcare services to children in nine Miami-Dade County public schools.

Read more about the grant »

Marie-Denise Gervais, M.D.

Marie-Denise Gervais, M.D.

Marie-Denise Gervais, M.D., Named Assistant Dean for Admissions and Diversity

Marie-Denise Gervais, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and community health, has been named the Miller School’s first Assistant Dean for Admissions and Diversity. The new position takes effect June 1.

Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education and associate professor of medicine, made the announcement.

“Dr. Gervais is highly qualified for this position,” he said. “She is a longstanding member of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and an active member of the School’s Admissions Committee. In addition, she directs the Family Medicine clerkship and continues to see patients. She is passionate about and dedicated to everything she does, and she will be a great addition to the medical education team.”

Read more about Dr. Gervais »

Dileep Yavagal, M.D., left, and Joshua M. Hare, M.D.

Dileep Yavagal, M.D., left, and Joshua M. Hare, M.D.

Study Finds Effective Approach for Delivering Stem Cells to Repair Stroke Damage

A new Miller School research study has identified a safe and effective route for delivering stem cells to the brain, where they can potentially repair stroke-damaged tissue.

“Our team found that delivering a low dose of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) through the carotid artery at 24 hours after stroke resulted in effective therapy for ischemic stroke in an animal model,” said lead author Dileep Yavagal, M.D., associate professor of clinical neurology and neurological surgery, Director of Interventional Neurology, and Co-Director of Endovascular Neurosurgery. It is the first study to identify a safe dose for intra-arterial delivery of MSCs in a rat stroke model and show the dose to be effective.

Read more about the study »

Bohdan Khomtchouk, left, and Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D.

Bohdan Khomtchouk, left, and Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D.

Human Genetics and Genomics PhD Student Awarded Prestigious Fellowship

Bohdan Khomtchouk, a first-year graduate student working in the Center for Therapeutic Innovation and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has received a prestigious three-year National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship through the Department of Defense. A triple-degree honors graduate summa cum laude in Mathematics, Physics, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Khomtchouk is currently involved in several genome and epigenome projects in the laboratory of Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., vice chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Center for Therapeutic Innovation at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics.

Khomtchouk is the first recipient of the distinguished NDSEG fellowship in the history of the Miller School of Medicine and one of only 200 NDSEG recipients this year nationwide. His recognition as an NDSEG fellow is a national academic achievement and a remarkable honor for both Khomtchouk and the Human Genetics and Genomics Graduate Program.

Read more about Bohdan Khomtchouk »

Lee Kaplan, M.D., and Lauryn Williams discuss UM’s advances in the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries.

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Lee Kaplan, M.D., and Lauryn Williams discuss UM’s advances in the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries.

Conference Spotlights UM’s Leadership in Healthcare Technology

UM alumna and Olympic athlete Lauryn Williams and Lee Kaplan, M.D., professor of orthopaedics and Director of the UHealth Sports Performance and Wellness Institute, joined for a presentation on UM’s advances in the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries at last week’s eMerge Americas Techweek Expo and Summit in Miami Beach.

Appearing in a session titled “Technology & Sports Medicine: The UHealth Sports Institute Perspective,” the pair discussed UHealth’s innovations and Williams’ own experience as a patient. When Williams, the runner-turned-bobsledder, who introduced herself first, held up her gold and silver medals, she drew applause and loud cheers from the audience.

Read more about the conference »

Annual General Faculty Meeting

President Donna E. Shalala, Provost Thomas LeBlanc and Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., will host the annual General Faculty Meeting on Wednesday, May 28, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at University of Miami Hospital, Seminar Center.

All Miller School faculty members are encouraged to attend this important meeting.

Gregory Bossart, V.M.D., Ph.D., presents “Marine Mammals as Sentinels for Ocean and Human Health.”

Gregory Bossart, V.M.D., Ph.D., presents “Marine Mammals as Sentinels for Ocean and Human Health.”

Record Turnout for Pathology Grand Rounds By Marine Mammal Expert

The Department of Pathology, in conjunction with the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), hosted a special Grand Rounds by marine mammal expert and pathologist Gregory Bossart, V.M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Animal Health, Research, and Conservation and Chief Veterinary Officer at Georgia Aquarium. In his May 1 presentation, “Marine Mammals as Sentinels for Ocean and Human Health,” Bossart discussed the application of aquatic species as sentinels for the effects of global climate change, ecosystem and human health.

More than 100 students, clinicians, scientists and veterinarians turned out for the Grand Rounds in the Lois Pope LIFE Center’s seventh-floor auditorium.

Read more about the lecture »

Charles W. Luetje, Ph.D.

Charles W. Luetje, Ph.D.

Researchers Discover “Simple and Elegant Mechanism” to Regulate Mutually Beneficial Relationship

Symbiosis is the process that occurs when two different organisms live together to form a mutually beneficial partnership. In many symbiotic relationships, host animals and their microbial symbionts are partners that make up a whole – neither one can function without the other, but together they grow and reproduce.

A study by University of Miami researchers reveals how, at the cellular level, an animal and its symbiotic bacteria work together to make up a single organismal system. The study titled “Aphid amino acid transporter regulates glutamine supply to intracellular bacterial symbionts” is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

Read more about the study »

Come to an Open Forum with Joe Natoli

Learn about the current business strategy for the Miller School and UHealth, as well as key initiatives driving change at the University, in an open discussion led by Joe Natoli, Interim Chief Operating Officer of the Miller School and UHealth and Senior Vice President for Business and Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

The next forum will be at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4, in the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, Broad-Bussel Auditorium, located on the first floor of the Clinical Research Building. Additional sessions for satellite locations have been added. Click here to register and view additional dates and locations.

Early Submission Deadline

The deadline for the May 27 issue of e-Update will be noon on Wednesday, May 21. The University will be closed on Monday, May 26, for Memorial Day.