Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

April 2010

A Message from Vice President John A. McDonald, M.D., Ph.D.

John A. McDonald, M.D., Ph.D.

One of the key goals in forming the Division of Health Sciences was to encourage learning and working together. A necessary first step in that process is to learn more about the worlds in which we work and serve. Accordingly, I have been pleased that the division and our units have supported a number of collaborative professional development opportunities. I want to highlight some of these in this month’s comments in hopes of encouraging you to attend. Please let us know if you did not receive notice of these events so we can improve our communication.

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science monthly Grand Round Series guest speakers have attracted wide participation and attendance from faculty of all disciplines. Last month the university-wide Interdisciplinary Gerontology Curriculum Committee hosted the Deputy Director of the National Institute of Aging (NIA) and distinguished geriatrician Dr. Marie Bernard. Dr. Bernard covered the demographics of our aging population and then discussed some of the exciting developments from the intramural scientists at NIA. Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, a member of the Hunkpapa /Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe and associate professor of Social Work at Columbia University discussed intergenerational historical trauma of indigenous people. Over 300 faculty, students and members of the community attended and participated in this event. Ms. Monica Atlookan, a senior undergraduate social work student, deserves great credit for inviting and finding resources for Dr. Brave Heart’s visit. Her charming daughter even got to share the podium! This presentation was co-sponsored by a number of university and community organizations.

School of Medicine Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, Dr. Miriam (Mimi) Baron has initiated a monthly Grand Round Series in Las Vegas available statewide via Pictel. With the use of technology we can share knowledge from leading experts both locally and globally. The Women in Health Sciences event held in Las Vegas in January will be offered again in Reno in May, is an excellent example of collaboration between and among our respective units.

Our biannual Division of Health Sciences assembly has been particularly important in learning more about each unit and meeting our colleagues. In addition to professional development, we also have provided opportunities for our faculty and staff to participate in personal development and wellness activities through the Walk the Talk Tuesdays series.

The Upcoming Events section of the Division Dialogue is a good resource to find out about these opportunities. Collectively, these events have helped gain insight into our respective and where they fit in our plans for research, education and care. Just learning with our colleagues and sitting with them for an hour can result in collaborations and a more integrated approach to our teaching, research and clinical activities.

News from Division of Health Sciences Units

Remembering School of Medicine founding dean Dr. George Smith

George T. Smith, M.D., M.S., FACC, founding dean of the School of Medicine, passed away March 20, 2010 after battling lung cancer for six months. As a founding faculty member, he was instrumental in the efforts to establish the School of Medicine. He successfully sought and gained, then Governor Paul Laxalt’s support for the fledging school and solicited funding from large foundations on the east coast. When the School of Medical Sciences opened, he had gathered 14 full-time faculty and more than 200 community physicians committed to giving their best for the school and its students. Four decades later, the School of Medicine is still benefitting from his tireless efforts to establish the school. Funeral services were held in Boca Raton, Florida. Donations, in his memory, can be made to the School of Medicine by contacting Stefanie Scoppettone, director of development.

U.S. Senate defense appropriations bill brings $2.4 million to University of Nevada School of Medicine

The University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery was awarded $2.4 million as part of a Department of Defense appropriations bill passed by the U.S. Senate this past December.

The research award is part of nearly $90 million for high-tech initiatives in Nevada that support the U.S. military, according to a press release from the office of Sen. Harry Reid.

Emergency medicine residency earns five-year accreditation

The emergency medicine residency program recently earned full accreditation for five years, the maximum possible. A special thanks goes out to those who had a role in this success, especially Michael Epter, D.O., training director; Ross Berkeley, M.D., associate director and Dale Carrison, D.O., department chair. Miriam Bar-on, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education, also deserves recognition for her role in this effort.

RSVP plans activities to celebrate National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is April 19-23, 2010. The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), a program of the Sanford Center for Aging has planned a variety of activities to help celebrate the week:

April 20 and April 21: CPR Made Simple

One and a half hour, non-certification class that focuses on the hands-on practice of CPR. Participants will receive a personal copy of the First Aid and Preparedness Booklet, an Emergency Action Steps Wallet Card and a self-study "First Aid and CPR for Everyone Kit." Training is free. Call (775) 784-1807 or rsvp@unr.edu RSVP to sign up and times. (More dates in May and June.)

April 20: Fundraiser at Texas Roadhouse

150 Damonte Ranch Parkway

When you dine at the Texas Roadhouse on this night, 10 percent of your party's meal will be donated to RSVP. Help us fill up the restaurant that evening. There are early bird specials.

Grants, Publications and Research Activities

Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and cell biology, has been awarded a five-year, 1.5-million-dollar grant from the National Institute of Health for studying the regulation of male fertility by small non-coding RNAs. This is his second major NIH grant in the past six years during his tenure as a faculty member at the School of Medicine.

John S. Pixley, M.D., FACP, associate professor, division of rheumatology/immunology, department of internal medicine, School of Medicine recently co-authored an article on “Persistent Circulating Human Insulin in Sheep Transplanted In Utero with Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells” in the recent issue of Experimental Hematology”2010;38:311-320.

Elissa Palmer, M.D., chair of family medicine in Las Vegas, recently co-authored several articles for medical publications. The first, for the Journal of Graduate Medical Education is entitled “Impact of Proposed Institute of Medicine Duty Hours: Family Medicine Residency Directors' Perspective.”

She also had three different titles published in recent issues of the Annals of Family Medicine. Palmer has been invited to co-present at two half-day sessions at American Academy of Family Physicians meetings in November 2010 and March 2011.

Doina Kulick, M.D. M.S, FACP, assistant professor, department of internal medicine and nutrition, School of Medicine, was recently published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association for article, “The Bariatric Surgery Patient: A Growing Role for Registered Dietitians.” Kulick is board certified in nutrition by the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists.

Kate Martin, M.D.’06, a 2009 graduate of the family medicine residency in Las Vegas and presently an assistant professor in the family medicine department in Las Vegas, successfully achieved board certification by the American Board of Family Physicians.

Nevin Wilson, M.D., chair of pediatrics in Reno co-authored a manuscript entitled “Influence of Cytokine Gene Variations on Immunization to Childhood Vaccines” which won an award as the best paper of 2010 for the Society of Toxicology meeting in Salt Lake City earlier this year. It was also recently published in the journal Vaccine.

Ray Plodkowski, M.D., chief, Division of Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Metabolism and medical students Rebecca Michael and Charles Calvo had their abstract, "The Impact of Metformin on Vitamin B12 Levels in Older People with Type 2 Diabetes" accepted for presentation at the 2010 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society in May.

Other faculty contributors to the abstract were Diane Chau, M.D., chief, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Quang Nguyen, D.O. and Sachiko St. Jeor, Ph.D. of the Division of Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Plodkowski also had the abstract, "Naltrexone SR/Bupropion SR Combination Therapy Led to Significant and Sustained Weight Loss and Improved HbA1c in Overweight/Obese Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes" accepted for presentation at the American Diabetes Association’s 70th Scientific Sessions national meeting in June. He is second author on the abstract and collaborated with co-authors from Baylor Medical Center and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University.

Upcoming Events

April 23: Open House at RSVP/Sanford Center for Aging, 2pm - 4pm, 800 Haskell St.

Join us for a celebration of all of the RSVP volunteers. Meet the faculty and staff of the Sanford Center for Aging and RSVP. We'll have light refreshments and giveaways. Feel free to bring friends and family you want to introduce to volunteering.

April 19 to April 23: Community Book Drive "Round-Up"

RSVP is collaborating with Washoe County School District Volunteer Services Read and Succeed Program. We will have WCSD book containers at our office. Bring new or lightly used books for grades K-6.

Sacks and Bennett complete Great Basin Public Health Leadership Institute

The Great Basin Public Health Leadership Institute (GBPHLI) is pleased to announce that Teresa M. Sacks and Jennifer J. Bennett have completed the curriculum requirements of the Institute. They were two of the 29 health professionals selected from Nevada and Utah that graduated from the program at a ceremony held on March 30, 2010 in Springdale, Utah.

Teresa Sacks, MPH, is a health research analyst at the Sanford Center for Aging and Jennifer Bennett, MPH serves as a program specialist, for the Center for Education and Health Services Outreach, University of Nevada School of Medicine and the School of Community Health Sciences. Their public health deliverable to Nevada via their group project, A Public Health Collaborative Proposes Implementation of Two School-Based Nutrition Programs in Battle Mountain, received the most votes from their fellow scholars and will advance to compete for the National Public Health Leadership Development Network’s Balderson Leadership Project Award. Their team partners on the project were Cherie Jamason, president and CEO, Food Bank of Northern Nevada and Brenda K. Keller, RN, C.H.N. II, Lander and Humboldt County, Nevada State Health Division.

Founded in 2002 by public health leaders in the states of Nevada and Utah, the GBPHLI is a year-long leadership development program offered to senior public health officials. The mission of the Institute is to strengthen the leadership competencies of state, county, and community leaders and to further enhance collaborative efforts to improve the public’s health. The program is offered by a dynamic partnership between the Nevada State Health Division and the Utah Department of Health. Funding support for the Institute is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the sponsoring organizations. The Institute operates under the auspices of HealthInsight, a non-profit quality improvement organization serving both Nevada and Utah.

Division of Health Sciences honors, convocation and hooding ceremonies

  • Scholars in Aging: April 26- 4:30 pm– Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom
  • School of Community Health Sciences: May 4- 2:30 pm- Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom
  • CASAT: May 13- 2 pm- Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre
  • Orvis School of Nursing: May 13- Noon - Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom
  • School of Social Work: May 14- 10 am- Nightingale Hall
  • School of Medicine: May 14- 1 pm- Lawlor Event Center

Commencement for Master’s and Doctoral Degrees will be Friday, May 14 at 4:50 pm

Undergraduate commencement will be Saturday, May 15, at 8 am

The Division of Health Sciences will be graduating 361 undergraduates with the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Community Health Sciences ( Health Ecology) 48
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing 47
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing 11
  • Bachelor of Social Work 55
  • Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology 24

“DSM-V” is topic of Grand Rounds speakers series on April 21

Allen Frances, M.D., emeritus professor,department of psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, will speak on “Opening Pandora’s Box: The 10 Worst Ideas in DSM-V” on April 21 at 4 pm at the Pennington Medical Building, Room 16 in Reno. Parking permits will be available in Room 16 of the Pennington Bldg. at the time of the Grand Rounds. Designated parking will be in the Green zone at the back of the Pennington Bldg. The Grand Rounds can be seen via Pic-Tel in Las Vegas at the Simulation Center, 1001 Shadow Lane.

Women in Health Sciences Workshops- May 3 in Reno

All faculty and students are invited to attend the first “Women in Health Sciences” professional development event. The program will be held in both Reno in Room 423 at the Joe Crowley Student Union and will feature workshops and presentations, 8 am to 1 pm, including guest speaker, Elizabeth Travis, Ph.D. speaking on “Achieving Work-Life Balance”. Box lunches are provided, please RSVP to (775) 784-6777 or OFAD@med.unr.edu. This event is co-sponsored by the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Office of Faculty Affairs and Development, Division of Health Sciences, Orvis School of Nursing.

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Education topic for May 4 presentation

The Orvis School of Nursing and the UNLV School of Nursing are pleased to invite you attend a presentation entitled “Herding Cats and Colleagues: Toward Enhancing Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Education,” by Stephanie Myers Schim, Ph.D. R.N., PHCNS-BC, associate professor, family, community and mental health nursing, Wayne State University on May 4 at 9 am in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom A. Dr. Schim serves as the cultural competence consultant for a collaborative grant between the UNR and UNLV nursing programs sponsored by the Health Resources Services Administration. The purpose of the grant is to increase the number and diversity of students in the online Ph.D. in nursing education program.

Our People

Kenneth Maehara and Marc JohnsonKenneth Maehara, Ph.D., pictured left, associate professor and assistant dean for student admissions, Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, who was selected as the 2009 Division of Health Sciences Teaching Award winner, was selected as a runner up for the prestigious Donald Tibbitts Distinguished Professor Award. Provost Marc Johnson, pictured far left, surprised Maehara during one of his lectures and presented him with the award.

Judith A. Sugar, Ph.D., associate professor of gerontology, School of Community Health Sciences, has been presented with a Connecting our Community Award by the Northern Nevada Immunization Coalition at their 12th Annual Silver Syringe Awards ceremony. The award recognizes work with students in her course, “Aging: An Interdisciplinary Approach” in developing materials on older adults’ immunizations for the Coalition’s website. She also received a Certificate of Commendation from Senator Harry Reid in recognition of her efforts to help keep Nevada families healthy.

Patsy Ruchala, D.NSc. R.N., director, Orvis School of Nursing, has been appointed by the president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to be a member of the AACN Government Affairs Committee.

Helen Gray, M.D. and Jonathan McCaleb, M.D., were elected by their peers to be Chief Residents for the year 2010-11 for the University of Nevada School of Medicine Family and Community Medicine Residency in Reno. They will both be awarded with the Arnold P. Gold foundations’ Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award at the upcoming Clinicians Ceremony.

Judy Hammock, M.S., instructor, School of Social Work, will be honored in July at the Bb World 2010 convention in Orlando, Florida for the development and teaching of the online social work course “Disability: Social and Health Issues ” (SW466). The course was chosen as one of 10 that were identified as “Exemplary” in a nationwide WebCT Blackboard contest.

James Pennington, RDMS, lead perinatal sonographer, department of OB/GYN, Las Vegas, School of Medicine, attended the annual national conference of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM). The AIUM is the organization that establishes and maintains the standard guidelines for the practice of medical ultrasound in every modality. Pennington has been a speaker, accreditation reviewer, and committee member of the AIUM for nine years. Pennington presented on several topics including concepts of maintaining a positive work environment, distinguishing technical errors in advanced obstetric imaging, imaging abnormal multiple gestations, and moderated a hands on work shop in post volume 3-D imaging reconstruction. He has also presented on ground breaking concepts for the use of advanced 3-dimensional ultrasound among other high-level ultrasound imaging processes previously.

Student News

Monica Atlooken, senior undergraduate student, School of Social Work and the Undergraduate Student Social Work Association, was responsible for bringing Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, a member of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux and associate professor of Social Work at Columbia University, to present “Why the Warriors Cry: Healing Intergenerational Trauma”. Over 300 students, faculty and members of the community attended the event held April 12.

Shilpa Shahani, MS IV, has had her research abstract accepted and will be presenting at the CDC 44th National Immunization Conference to be held April 19-22 in Atlanta, Georgia. The title of her research is “Impact of Hospital Based Immunization Information Systems.”

The School of Community Health Sciences is pleased to announce that 11 students will be hooded and earn their Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree in May. The students are: Angel Stachnik, Lara Evans, Katie Louderback, Dane Bay, Ingrid Mburia, Aliya Buttar, Rama Gurugubelli, Hsiu-Hui Tai, Joe Medellin, Faira Sullivan and Zheng Li.

Copyright © 2010 Health Sciences.