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

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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Ranks No. 1 in Ophthalmology for Ninth Straight Year

For the ninth consecutive year, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is the nation’s No. 1 ophthalmology program in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Hospitals rankings.

“This recognition reflects the unwavering commitment and expertise of the 1,200 talented ophthalmologists, vision researchers, nurses, ophthalmic technicians, and support staff who consistently demonstrate their top priority – ensuring that every patient receives the latest, best and most compassionate vision care,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School of Medicine and CEO of UHealth-University of Miami Health System. “It is the well-being of their patients that motivates the Bascom Palmer staff to reach ever higher and continuously break new ground in vision research, education, and surgical innovation.”

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The members of the team are, from left, Eugene Roberts, Ph.D., Ashley Beecham, M.S., Susan Blanton, Ph.D., Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., Tatjana Rundek, M.D., Ph.D., Liyong Wang, Ph.D., and Chuanhui Dong, Ph.D.

The members of the team are, from left, Eugene Roberts, Ph.D., Ashley Beecham, M.S., Susan Blanton, Ph.D., Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., Tatjana Rundek, M.D., Ph.D., Liyong Wang, Ph.D., and Chuanhui Dong, Ph.D.

Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., and Multidisciplinary Team Awarded $2.8 Million to Study Cardiovascular Risks

Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., the Olemberg Chair of Neurology and Professor of Neurology, Epidemiology and Public Health, Human Genetics, and Neurological Surgery, and a multidisciplinary team of Miller School investigators have received a $2.8 million grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to search for genetic determinants of subclinical carotid disease, cardiac hypertrophy, and left atrial enlargement.

The competitive five-year grant continues the work Sacco began at Columbia University in 2002 to study the genetic determinants of stroke among the rapidly growing Hispanic community. Although race-ethnic variations in the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors among Hispanics are known, most epidemiological studies regarding cardiovascular risk factors have not included large numbers of Hispanics. For this study, researchers will perform state-of-the-art exome sequencing on about 1,500 members of 100 extended Dominican families living in the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic who have well-characterized risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

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Leonardo Tamariz, M.D, M.P.H.

Leonardo Tamariz, M.D, M.P.H.

Miller School Researchers Identify Comprehension Gaps in Informed Consent Process

Miller School and Miami VA researchers are leading efforts to identify and close gaps in the process for informed consent, which often requires the completion of lengthy, jargon-laden forms. A study led by Leonardo Tamariz, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, found the process to be particularly problematic for minority research participants who do not read above the eighth-grade level.

Published online in the July issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the study, “Improving the Informed Consent Process for Research Subjects with Low Literacy: A Systematic Review,” noted that nearly half of the adult population in the United States is marginally health literate, yet few interventions exist to address this deficiency for those considering participation in research.

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Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., left, and Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., right, hold the oversized check presented by Lewis Ress, center.

Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., left, and Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., right, hold the oversized check presented by Lewis Ress, center.

Alzheimer’s Research at the Miller School Gets $400,000 Boost

The Department of Neurology has received a $400,000 boost for Alzheimer’s research, thanks to the Barbara M. diTullio and Martin A. Fleischman Alzheimer’s Research Endowed Fund.

On July 12, fund trustee Lewis M. Ress presented an oversized check representing the gift to Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School, and Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., the Olemberg Chair of Neurology and Professor of Neurology, Epidemiology and Public Health, Human Genetics, and Neurological Surgery.

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Eric Greidinger, M.D., researches rheumatic disorders in his lab.

Eric Greidinger, M.D., researches rheumatic disorders in his lab.

Researchers Discover Link Between Sunburn and RNA Damage that May Help Lupus Patients

Sunburn—that painfully familiar red and inflamed response to ultraviolet radiation—is caused by damage to ribonucleic acids (RNAs) in skin cells, a team of researchers that included Miller School rheumatologist Eric L. Greidinger, M.D., reported in Nature Medicine this month.

The findings from the study led by researchers at the University of California San Diego could help scientists pinpoint ways to block the inflammatory process, and create better treatments for patients with lupus, who are particularly sensitive to sun, or with a number of other medical conditions.

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Eight-year-old cancer survivor Michael McLean applies his handprint on a Hyundai Tucson, with a little help from, from left, Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester, John Goldberg, M.D., director of the Pediatric Oncology Early Phase Clinical Trials Program, and Dima Hamideh, M.D.

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Eight-year-old cancer survivor Michael McLean applies his handprint on a Hyundai Tucson, with a little help from, from left, Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester, John Goldberg, M.D., director of the Pediatric Oncology Early Phase Clinical Trials Program, and Dima Hamideh, M.D.

Hyundai Hope on Wheels Awards Grant to Sylvester for Pediatric Cancer Research

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center physicians and researchers, pediatric cancer patients and South Florida Hyundai car dealers joined forces on the Miller School campus on July 13 to support cancer research. In a ceremony showcasing the colorful handprints of childhood cancer survivors, Hyundai Hope On Wheels and representatives from 10 local Hyundai dealerships awarded the Miller School of Medicine a $75,000 Hyundai Scholar Grant for Dima Hamideh, M.D., chief fellow of pediatric hematology-oncology.

Hamideh, one of 42 nationwide recipients of Hope On Wheels’ 2012 Hyundai Scholar Grants, researches early signs of heart disease in childhood cancer survivors. Cure rates for childhood cancers are now near 80 percent, and Hamideh said, after children survive cancer, “we need to make their quality of life count.”

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