Noteworthy News

Noteworthy News

March 2014

Honors and Awards

Bledsoe receives national EMS award

Bryan Bledsoe, DO, FACEP, FAAEM, professor of emergency medicine, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus was awarded the 2014 John P. Pryor, M.D. Award at the EMS Today conference in Washington, DC. Edward T. Dickinson, M.D. and Mike McEvoy, Ph.D., RN, both longtime friends of Dr. Pryor, presented the award during the opening session of the conference. The honor recognizes Dr. Bledsoe’s “exemplary service” to the field of emergency medicine and, specifically, emergency medical services (EMS). Dr. Bledsoe has been intimately involved in EMS for 40 years as a paramedic, educator and EMS physician. He is a prolific textbook author with over one million textbooks in print worldwide. His work and writings have aided millions of EMS providers and an untold number of ill or injured patients.

Longo awarded grant from American College of Emergency Physicians

Bernadette Mae Longo, Ph.D., RN, associate professor of nursing, Orvis School of Nursing, received a chapter grant award from the American College of Emergency Physicians for development of a Volcanic Air Pollution Education Project for all emergency physicians in the state dealing with acute exposure-related illnesses experienced by residents and tourists in Hawaii.

Nevada Academy of Family Physicians award Pasternak with award

Andy Pasternak, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of family medicine, received the 2013 Family Physician of the Year award from the Nevada Academy of Family Physicians. He serves on the boards of directors for the Washoe County Medical Society, Access to Healthcare and the Nevada State Health Information Exchange. He also assists the School of Medicine in establishing and organizing research projects.

Larson elected as board chair of Nevada Public Health Foundation and delivers keynote address

Trudy Larson, M.D., professor and director, School of Community Health Sciences, delivered the keynote address at the annual Silver Syringe Awards on March 1, 2014. This event, sponsored by Immunize Nevada, was the 16th annual event and the largest ever with more than 200 people attending. The awards are given to people and organizations that support immunization and included recipients statewide. Larson also was elected to be the chair of the Nevada Public Health Foundation (NPHF). The NPHF partners with public health organizations to facilitate education, program development and evaluation and public health initiatives to improve the health of Nevadans. The Foundation is directed by a board of directors that includes representatives from governmental and non-governmental health agencies and organizations and has input from local and state public health departments. NPHF executive director, Rota Rossachi, is an alumna of the UNR School of Social Work and is an active member of the Community Advisory Board for the School of Community Health Sciences.

Shaw and Shea become TeamSTEPPS Master Certified Trainers

Laura Shaw, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, and Joseph Shea, M.D., obstetrics/gynecology fellow, Department of Family and Community Medicine (Las Vegas) recently completed TeamSTEPPS training to become a Master Certified Trainer. They join Elissa J. Palmer M.D., professor and chair, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Las Vegas campus; Aron Rogers, D.O., residency program director, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Las Vegas; Kelly O'Shaughnessy, J.D., network director, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Las Vegas; and Marsha Matsunaga-Kirgan, associate professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as Master Certified Trainers for the TeamSTEPPS, an evidence based patient safety teamwork system designed for health care professionals developed by AHRQ and the Defense Department. Attendance at the training was funded by an award to the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Las Vegas, through Health Insights from the Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in support of the Partnership for Patients for the project entitled “Nevada Hospital Engagement Network.”

AAMC awards grant for Bridge Program

Ranna Nash, M.A., learning specialist, Office of Student Affairs, School of Medicine, will serve as PI for a grant awarded a Western Group in Student Affairs Mini-Grant from AAMC. The grant is to fund the piloted Bridge Program this summer for matriculating students the week before orientation. The $4250 award will fund operation of the bridge program. The grant was co-written with Timothy Baker, M.D., associate dean of medical education, and Cherie Singer, Ph.D., interim associate dean of admissions and student affairs, and Gwen Shonkwiler, Ph.D., director of evaluation and assessment.

May named to Board of Directors for Sutter Health

Jerry May, Ph.D., emeritus professor of psychiatry and behavioral science and former associate dean, School of Medicine, has been named to the board of directors for the Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region. He also is working as an Olympic sport consultant for the US Sailing Team, assisting with preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

UNSOM physicians named as Top Doctors in Las Vegas

Nineteen physicians and surgeons from the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus were recognized in the 4th Annual Top Doctors survey by Vegas Seven magazine. The survey was conducted by Castle Connolly Medical, a New York-based health care research and information company founded in the early 1990s by a former medical college board chairman to help guide consumers to America’s top doctors and hospitals. Faculty honored in the 2014 survey include:

Colon and rectal Surgery: Ovunc Bardakcioglu, M.D., Leslie Browder, M.D.; Gastroenterology: Christian Stone, M.D., Tarek Ammar, M.D.; Internal medicine: John Varras, M.D., Sandhya Whai Gururaj, M.D.; Neurology: Eric Farbman, M.D., David Ginsburg, M.D.; Otolaryngology: Matthew Nu, M.D., Robert Wang, M.D.; Pediatric otolaryngology: Tsung O-Lee, M.D.; Pediatric surgery: Michael Scheidler, M.D.; Plastic surgery: Kayvan Khibani, M.D., John Menezes, M.D., William Zamboni, M.D.; Pulmonary disease: Hidenobu Shigemitsu, M.D.; Rheumatology: Ewa Olech, M.D.; Surgery: Daniel Kirgan, M.D., Deborah Kuhls, M.D.

Hunt and Baker accepted for prestigious AAMC LEAD program

Thomas J. Hunt. M.D., associate professor, department of family and community medicine, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, and Timothy K. Baker. M.D., assistant professor and associate dean for medical education, department of internal medicine, Reno campus, were accepted into the AAMC Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Certificate Program. The LEAD program is an intensive two-year, cohort-based leadership development program that provides the knowledge, skills, values and practical experience that educational professionals in academic medicine need to be successful leaders.

Publications and Presentations

  • Kate Martin. M.D., assistant professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus and Amy McFarland, M.P.H., director of community based medical education, will be presenting a poster at the AAMC Western Group on Education Affairs annual meeting this month on “Transformation to a Multi-Campus Scholarly Concentration Program in Service Learning.”
  • Judith Sugar, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Community Health Sciences, co-authored a textbook, “Introduction to Aging: A Positive, Interdisciplinary Approach” recently published by Springer Publishing Company.
  • Mary Beth Hogan, M.D., professor of pediatrics and chief of allergy/immunology, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, taught a seminar, “Alternate Mechanisms of Anaphylaxi,” at the national meeting of the American Academy of Asthma Allergy and Immunology on March 1, 2014
  • James Pennington, RDMS, lead perinatal sonographer for maternal-fetal medicine at the Patient Care Center, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, has been invited to be the Luminary Speaker and Moderator for a scientific panel regarding ultrasound education in the medical school setting at the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) international conference, April 2, 2014. Pennington is the lead perinatal sonographer for the division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the Patient Care Center in Las Vegas. He has been practicing perinatal ultrasound for high-risk obstetric patients for more than 20 years and sits on the Board of Governors for the AIUM. Pennington has the distinction of being the only non-physician member of the Committee for the Endowment for Education and Research in the history of the AIUM and has been a presenter at the national level for many years.
  • Ryan D. Wuebbles, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar, Apurva Sarathy, graduate research assistant, Dean Burkin, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, and Joe N. Kornegay published an article, “Levels of α7 integrin and laminin-α2 are increased following prednisone treatment in the mdx mouse and GRMD dog models of Duchenne muscular dystrophin, Disease Models & Mechanisms, 2013 6:1175-1184. The article provides insight into the mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of corticosteroid therapy in DMD and reveals potential candidates to target in future therapeutic approaches that might overcome the negative side effects associated with steroid use.
  • Kate Martin, M.D., assistant professor/medical student clerkship director, Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, presented a poster titled "Using Nature to Enhance Clinical Reflection Skills" at the 2014 international Innovations in Medical Education Conference at Keck School of Medicine of USC in February.
  • Elissa J. Palmer M.D., professor and chair, Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, chaired the American Academy of Family Physician's national Women's Health course March 5-8, 2014.
  • Elissa J. Palmer, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, and William Rosenberg, M.D., medical director-head team physician, UNLV and UNSOM sports medicine fellowship program director, were awarded a University of Nevada, Reno AIRE (Acquisition of Instructional and Research Equipment) grant for their collaborative proposal, "Portable Musculoskeletal Ultrasound."
  • Pisespong Patamasuco, M.D., professor of pediatrics, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, and David Nelson, M.D., from Children’s Hospital of Nevada at UMC, led a week-long visit and lectured at Samitivej Srinakarin Children’s Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Both faculty members also participated in the 3rd International Golden Day in Pediatric Emergency: The Life-Threatening Events You should Not Miss on February 21,2014.
  • Julie Smith-Gagen, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Community Health Sciences, co-authored three recently-published articles: “The Association of State Law to Breastfeeding Practices in the U.S.” in Maternal Child Health Journal, February 2014; “Breastfeeding laws and breastfeeding practices by race and ethnicity,” in Women’s Health Issues, Jan-Feb. 2014; and “Practices that reduce the Latina survival disparity after breast cancer,” in the Journal of Women’s Health, November 2013.
  • Samrat U Das, MD, FAAP, associate program director, Department of Pediatrics, Las Vegas campus will be presenting "Clinical Competency Committee at UNSOM pediatrics" at the APD SIG Grassroots Forum of the National Association of Pediatric Program Directors, spring 2014 meeting. Cynthia Chase and Jack Lazerson, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus. are co-authors
  • Jessica Doolen Ph.D., APRN, FNP-C, CNE; Michelle Giddings DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, PMHNP; Michael Johnson MSN, RN; Gigi Guizado de Nathan, B.A., coordinator of simulation education, School of Medicine. Las Vegas campus; and Lysander Abadia have co-written a manuscript titled "Simulation Using Standardized Patients as a Learning Strategy for Psychiatric Nursing Students." It has been accepted to be published by the International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship.
  • Jessica Doolen, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-C, CNE; Michelle Giddings, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, PMHNP; Michael Johnson, MSN, RN; and Gigi Guizado de Nathan, B.A., coordinator of simulation education, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, presented their poster, "Simulation Using Standardized Patients as a Learning Strategy for Mental Health Nursing Students," at the 14th Annual International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) in San Francisco this January. The poster's abstract also was published in Simulation in Healthcare: Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, December 2013, Volume 8, Number 6.
  • Several Division of Health Sciences faculty presented workshops at the recent “Navigating Health: Cultural Considerations in Health Care” event on Feb. 24- 25. Maureen Barnes, M.S.N., M.Ed., R.N., assistant professor, Orvis School of Nursing, presented “Exploring Cultural Differences of Pain”; Christine Aramburu Alegria, Ph.D., R.N., FNP-BC, assistant professor, Orvis School of Nursing presented “Caring for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Persons”; Gerold Dermid, M.B.A., coordinator of community relations and field studies, and Jeff Angermann, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental health, School of Community Health Sciences, presented “Navigating Cultural Relativism in Global Health”; Susan Harris, Ph.D., coordinator, Gerontology Academic Program and Patricia Swager, M. Ed., director Nevada Geriatric Center, facilitated “Act Like You’re Aging-Aging Sensitivity”; Jim Fitzsimmons, Ph.D., director of campus recreation and wellness conducted a workshop on “ Optimizing Your Fitness Potential“; and Shavon Moore, Med Student II, conducted a workshop on “Navigating Your Biases.” The two-day event was attended by students and faculty from all Division of Health Sciences units and was sponsored by the Division of Health Sciences and High Sierra AHEC under the leadership of Richelle O’Driscoll, M.A., director of public affairs, Division of Health Sciences and Andrea Gregg, executive director for High Sierra AHEC.
  • Patricia Swager, M.Ed., director, Nevada Geriatric Education Center, School of Medicine, facilitated a roundtable discussion on the new Scholars in Health Literacy and Aging curriculum at the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education annual meeting. She also co-presented at the conference a poster, “Purposeful Connections: Community Professionals, Students, and Faculty,” with gerontology students Christine Smith and Raina Bedford.
  • Natalie Mazzullo, M.Ed., program advisor; Patricia Charles, Dr.PH, director, Nevada AIDS Education and Training Center (AIDS ETC).and Patricia Swager, M.Ed., director, Nevada Geriatric Education Center, School of Medicine, co-presented a workshop on “The Synergism of Partnerships” at the Aging in America meeting in San Diego, California.

Faculty and Staff

Department of Pharmacology welcome three new faculty

Three new faculty have joined the Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine in Reno. Welcome to:

  • Heather Burkin, Ph.D. was hired as Research Assistant Professor in August. Burkin earned her Ph.D. in Reproductive Biology/Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 2003. She was a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Iain Buxton’s laboratory prior to being hired in her current position. Her research focuses on the signaling pathways that regulate stretch-induced activation of the human uterine myometrium and the development of therapeutic targets for the treatment of preterm labor.
  • Scott Earley, Ph.D., associate professor, joined the department in September from Colorado State University. Earley earned his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in 2002. His research is in the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in endothelial and smooth muscle cell function and recently was invited to join the editorial board of AJP-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Board members are selected on the basis of their scientific expertise and recognized stature in the field.
  • Shailesh Agarwal, Ph.D., was hired as a research assistant professor in December. Agarwal earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology/pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Montana, Missoula, in 2007. He was a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Robert Harvey’s laboratory prior to being hired in his current position. His research is focused on the regulation of ion channels and cell signaling by autonomic nervous system in the mammalian heart.

Romero and Jayakumar join Las Vegas Department of Internal Medicine

  • Arthur Oliver Romero. M.D., has joined the internal medicine department, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus. Romero completed residency in internal medicine and a pulmonary critical care fellowship at UCSF Fresno. Following residency, he worked with Pulmonary Associates in Las Vegas and has been an assistant clinical professor at the School of Medicine. His clinical interests include diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopy and lung cancer diagnosis and staging.
  • Also joining the department is Praveen Jayakumar, M.D., who will serve as director of quality improvement for ambulatory clinics. Jayakumar completed his internal medicine training at UNSOM in Las Vegas. Since residency, he has practiced, taught trainees and has worked extensively in the areas of quality and performance

Kaleb Wartgow, Jen Minor
Medical students (L) Kaleb Wartgow and (R) Jen Minor

Medical students receive scholarship from Carson-Tahoe Health System

Second year medical students Jen Minor and Kaleb Wartgow were recognized at the Carson-Tahoe Health System board of directors meeting as the 2013-2014 recipients of the CTH medical student scholarship. Members of the board expressed appreciation for of the students’ traveling to Carson City to meet the board and thank them for their support. Minor is a graduate of Dayton High School and Wartgow is a graduate of Douglas High, having met the criteria established for the scholarship requiring the award to be given to students from either Carson City, Lyon, Storey, Churchill or Douglas County.

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