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

Up Front

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy Visits Miller School to Discuss Zika Virus Threat

From left, Michael Barron, M.D., Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., and Peter G. Paige, M.D.

From left, Michael Barron, M.D., Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., and Peter G. Paige, M.D. Photo GalleryView Photo Gallery

Although U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., smiled broadly and said visiting Miami, where he grew up, “felt like coming back home,” he was all business when it came to discussing the Zika virus threat when meeting with administrators, faculty, residents and students at the Miller School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital on August 12. The two institutions’ chief medical officers — Michael Barron, M.D., of UHealth and Peter G. Paige, M.D., of Jackson — acted as moderators for the discussion.

“The reason I wanted to come back is that I’m very concerned about the Zika epidemic that is taking place in the Americas,” said Murthy. “I was in Puerto Rico yesterday, where there is an explosive spread of Zika virus, including many pregnant women, and we have a lot of work to do there. I’m also very concerned about Florida, because while we are nowhere near where Puerto Rico is, and while I hope we never reach those numbers here in Florida, we do have an outbreak with local transmission. The question now before us is how we prevent more cases in Florida and throughout the rest of the country.”

Read more about the Surgeon General's visit »

More News

Lee Kaplan, M.D., joins the music-making during the Opening Ceremony in Rio.

Lee Kaplan, M.D., joins the music-making during the Opening Ceremony in Rio.

UHealth Doctors Return from Rio as Others Depart for the Games

As the Olympics enter week two, the games are already over for some UHealth physicians who served as medical volunteers in Rio. But even as the first doctors to journey to Rio are now home – back with unforgettable memories and stories of amazing medical accomplishments – a second wave of UHealth clinicians has arrived at the games, ready to help the best athletes in the world should they be injured.

First to arrive back in Miami was Lee Kaplan, M.D., head of UHealth Sports Medicine. Kaplan worked with trauma surgeon Antonio Marttos, M.D., to coordinate which UHealth doctors would take part in the games.

Read more about UHealth physicians in Rio »

An open-air terrace will offer outdoor relaxation.

An open-air terrace will offer outdoor relaxation.

Creating an Inviting Work Environment at UHealth Coral Gables

Todd Smaka, M.D., is looking forward to the opening of UHealth Coral Gables in The Lennar Foundation Medical Center.

“This new facility will be a great place to work,” said Smaka, a board-certified anesthesiologist who will practice in the state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center opening later this year on the Coral Gables campus. “It will help create a highly collaborative environment for delivering excellent patient care.”

Read more about UHealth Coral Gables »

Adrian K. Reynolds, Ph.D.

Adrian K. Reynolds, Ph.D.

Dr. Adrian K. Reynolds Brings New Dimension to Miller School’s Education Team

Adrian K. Reynolds, Ph.D., has joined the education team at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in a multidisciplinary role that involves building teaching and learning skills, and reaching out to middle and high school students in the community.

“I want to create opportunities for our students, residents and faculty to engage in self-regulated, active learning, and to enjoy the educational process,” said Reynolds, who was recently appointed assistant professor of professional practice in the Department of Medicine. “Whether you are in a clinical, academic or research career, the learning never stops.”

Read more about Dr. Reynolds »

From left, Maria-Rosa Velazquez, M.P.A., Yannine Estrada, Ph.D., Lourdes Forster, M.D., Guillermo J.

From left, Maria-Rosa Velazquez, M.P.A., Yannine Estrada, Ph.D., Lourdes Forster, M.D., Guillermo J. "Willy" Prado, Ph.D., Hilda Pantin, Ph.D., Allan Rodriguez, M.D., Lourdes Molleda, M.P.H., Audrey Ofir, M.D., and Maria Tapia, LCSW. Not shown, Lisa Gwynn, D.O., and Kathryn McCollister, Ph.D.

Researchers Awarded $3.8 Million for Online Hispanic Family Intervention in Primary Care Settings

A multidisciplinary team of Miller School of Medicine researchers has received a $3.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a study of Familias Unidas, a well-established, family-based intervention program for Hispanic families with children aged 12 to 17, in primary care settings.

Familias Unidas was first developed at the Miller School 15 years ago. The program was fine-tuned in Miami through rigorous clinical trials and introduced into 24 Miami-Dade County middle schools in 2010. It has since been adopted in other locations in the U.S., and it is currently being implemented and evaluated in Chile and Ecuador.

Read more about the research »

Michelle Schladant, Ph.D.

Michelle Schladant, Ph.D.
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Mailman Center Receives Prestigious Grant to Develop Training Program to Build Language Skills

Many South Florida children with developmental disabilities benefit from assistive technology devices to improve their hearing, vision or communication skills.

“Unfortunately, a substantial number of child care workers, pre-school teachers and parents have not been trained in how to use assistive devices to help these children, especially in underserved neighborhoods,” said Michelle Schladant, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and Assistant Director of the Mailman Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Read more about the grant »

More than 20 Miller School students, graduates and faculty members attended the Florida Medical Association meeting.

More than 20 Miller School students, graduates and faculty members attended the Florida Medical Association meeting.

Miller School Students and Residents Honored at Florida Medical Association’s Annual Meeting

Two University of Miami Miller School of Medicine students and a resident were honored for their clinical and research work at the annual meeting of the Florida Medical Association on July 30 and 31 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

“Three of the six awards for poster presentations went to our Miller School participants — a remarkable accomplishment since there were 100 submissions,” said Steven Falcone, M.D., M.B.A., Executive Dean for Clinical Affairs, Chief Executive of the UHealth Clinical Practice, and Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs. Falcone participated in the FMA meeting as a member of the House of Delegates for the Dade County Medical Association.

Read more about the Florida Medical Association meeting »

Xi

Xi "Steven" Chen, Ph.D.

Sylvester’s Dr. Xi “Steven” Chen Receives NCI Funding to Study Breast Cancer

Xi “Steven” Chen, Ph.D., a member of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate professor of biostatistics in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, has received a $1.8 million R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute. The funding will be used to conduct research in precision medicine for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), using statistical genomics approaches.

“The term ‘triple-negative breast cancer’ refers to a heterogeneous collection of tumors that lack expression of the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 amplification,” said Chen. “TNBC represents about 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancers, affects younger patients more frequently, and is more prevalent among African-American women. The estimated number of newly diagnosed TNBC cases is around 40,000 each year, which is larger than patient cohorts for many other cancer types.”

Read more about Dr. Chen's research grant »

Leopoldo Raij, M.D.

Leopoldo Raij, M.D.

Research Finding Offers Hope for Treating or Preventing Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease

A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researcher has found that inhibiting or reducing oxidative stress on podocytes, key cells of the kidney filter, can prevent their damage, suggesting a potential new target for treating patients and reducing progression of chronic kidney disease.

“Currently, clinicians rely on ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors that reduce hypertension and slow the progression of kidney disease,” said Leopoldo Raij, M.D., professor of medicine, Director of Hypertension in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, and Director of the Program for International Research Scholars at the Miller School’s International Medicine Institute. “But we need to find complementary ways to arrest both primary and indirect damage to the kidney.”

Read more about the research findings »

Vicky Egusquiza, M.D. ’87, addresses families at the Medical Parents Orientation.

Vicky Egusquiza, M.D. ’87, addresses families at the Medical Parents Orientation.

Families Urged to Get Involved at Medical Parents Association Orientation

Parents recently had the opportunity to learn how they could get involved at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as they sent their daughters and sons off to their first year of medical school. The Medical Parents Association (MPA) held an orientation session August 3 to welcome the Class of 2020 and to urge their families to become volunteers.

“Parents, your daughter or son stands on the threshold of an incredible adventure, as they begin the journey of going from pre-med student to a highly trained physician,” said Vicky Egusquiza, M.D. ’87, who, along with Lourdes Sanjenis, M.D., M.B.A. ’96, is co-president of the MPA.

Read more about the MPA orientation »

Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D.

Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D.
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Kidney Cholesterol Identified as Major Contributor to Chronic Kidney Disease Development

A team of University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers has found a key mechanism linking inflammation in the kidney and lipid-dependent toxicity of podocytes, which are kidney cells that filter waste products from the blood into the urine.

An elevated level of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) within the kidney can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and Director of the Peggy and Harold Katz Family Drug Discovery Center.

Read more about kidney disease »

Anne Burdick, M.D., M.P.H.

Anne Burdick, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Anne Burdick Named to New State Telehealth Advisory Council

Anne Burdick, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Dean for Telehealth and Community Outreach at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been appointed to the newly created Florida Telehealth Advisory Council. She is one of 13 health professionals in the state selected to serve on the council, which will survey health care facilities, practitioners and health insurers on the status and scope of telehealth activities in the state.

The council, chaired by the Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, will submit a report to the legislature and governor by October 31, 2017, with recommendations to increase the use and accessibility of services provided via telehealth. The announcement comes from the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Health.

Read more about Dr. Burdick's appointment »

Thomas Curtis.

Thomas Curtis.
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Thomas Curtis Remembered as Outstanding Philanthropist, Visionary and Friend

Hazel Riser remembers Thomas Curtis as a generous man, who was unfailingly good to his word. The prominent South Florida businessman, who she describes as a “real Georgia gentleman,” died in 2015, leaving behind a tremendous gift of philanthropy and commitment.

“He was a very gentle and dependable person,” said Riser, 90, his longtime neighbor and friend. “He was very giving, and if he said he was going to do something, it would always get done.”

Curtis, the founder of the Miami Battery Manufacturing Company and the Curtis Battery and Electric Company in Miami, was among the top supporters of the University of Miami and the Miller School of Medicine.

Read more about Thomas Curtis »

Kari Riddle, M.S.

Kari Riddle, M.S.

Kari Riddle Named Clinical Athletic Trainer of the Year

Kari Riddle, M.S., an athletic trainer at UHealth Sports Medicine-Plantation, was named the 2016 Clinical Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Athletic Trainers’ Association of Florida (ATAF). She received the award on July 16 during the association’s annual meeting.

The award is given to a clinical athletic trainer who has displayed throughout that year a high level of professionalism and whose actions have improved both the profession and the ATAF. The nominee must be a Certified/Licensed Athletic Trainer, a member of ATAF for a minimum of five years, licensed to practice athletic training in the State of Florida, and work in a clinical or corporate setting.

Read more about Kari Riddle's award »

From left, Vivek Venkatramani, M.D., Sanjaya Swain, M.D., Bruno Nahar, M.D., Daniel Garcia, P.J. Loyello, Michael Hill, Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., Sanoj Punnen, M.D., Chad Ritch, M.D., Billy the Marlin, Ranjith Ramasamy, M.D., and Nipun Merchant, M.D.

From left, Vivek Venkatramani, M.D., Sanjaya Swain, M.D., Bruno Nahar, M.D., Daniel Garcia, P.J. Loyello, Michael Hill, Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., Sanoj Punnen, M.D., Chad Ritch, M.D., Billy the Marlin, Ranjith Ramasamy, M.D., and Nipun Merchant, M.D.

Marlins Foundation Steps Up to the Plate for Prostate Cancer Awareness

Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., grew up in his native India following the sport of cricket. But the renowned urologist recently had a chance to show off his baseball skills on a major league ball field. Parekh, professor and chair of urology and a urologic oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Marlins Park June 19.

Parekh made the pitch after receiving a $20,000 check from the Marlins Foundation for prostate cancer research. This year, the team named the Department of Urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as the beneficiary of their annual “Father’s Day Play Catch” event, which gave a sold-out group of 200 dads and their children a chance to play catch on the same field the big leaguers play on.

Read more about the Marlins Foundation donation »

From left, Niurka Del Valle, Jackson Health Foundation's Senior Director of Major Gifts and Director of Wonderfund, Carlos and Maria Fiallo, Ramzi Younis, M.D., Russell Benford, Deputy Mayor for Miami-Dade County, Carolina La Mendola Diago, Alana Grajewski, M.D., Rebeca Sosa and Eduardo Alfonso, M.D., Chairman of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and holder of the Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology.

From left, Niurka Del Valle, Jackson Health Foundation's Senior Director of Major Gifts and Director of Wonderfund, Carlos and Maria Fiallo, Ramzi Younis, M.D., Russell Benford, Deputy Mayor for Miami-Dade County, Carolina La Mendola Diago, Alana Grajewski, M.D., Rebeca Sosa and Eduardo Alfonso, M.D., Chairman of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and holder of the Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology.

UHealth Doctors Honored by County Commissioner for Helping Blind and Deaf Brazilian Toddler

Doctors with UHealth-the University of Miami Health System and community members who worked together to restore sight and hearing to a Brazilian toddler were honored by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa. The commissioner and her staff paid a special visit to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where 2-year-old Nicolly Pereira received life-changing surgery for pediatric glaucoma after seven unsuccessful surgeries in Brazil.

Nicolly was diagnosed with pediatric glaucoma, which left her unable to see or detect any light at all. Alana Grajewski, M.D., Director of the Samuel and Ethel Balkan International Pediatric Glaucoma Center at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, performed the three-hour surgery that restored Nicolly’s sight. Nicolly was also deemed deaf since birth, but further examination by Ramzi Younis, M.D., professor and Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology at UHealth, identified a blockage of fluid in her inner ears. He performed a 30-minute surgery to drain the fluid buildup and restore hearing.

Read more about Commissioner Sosa's visit »

From left, Dr. Jayne Greenberg, Gillian A. Hotz, Ph.D., and Mark Richt.

From left, Dr. Jayne Greenberg, Gillian A. Hotz, Ph.D., and Mark Richt.

UHealth Concussion Expert Receives President’s Council Award

Gillian A. Hotz, Ph.D., Director of the KIDZ Neuroscience Center at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Director of the Concussion Program at UHealth Sports Medicine, has received a 2016 President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award for her work in promoting healthy lifestyles and impactful safety initiatives.

Hotz received the distinction August 2 at what is now an annual concussion workshop held for all Miami-Dade County athletic trainers and athletic directors. The award presentation took place at the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus.

Read more about Dr. Hotz's award »

From left, Kumarie Hayes, Vanessa Bello, Dianelys Menendez, Kassandra Lage, Natacha Caballero, Enery Samlut, Bryant Barajas and Hernan Pena make up the on-site Patient Access team.

From left, Kumarie Hayes, Vanessa Bello, Dianelys Menendez, Kassandra Lage, Natacha Caballero, Enery Samlut, Bryant Barajas and Hernan Pena make up the on-site Patient Access team.
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Job Fair for UHealth Coral Gables Draws Hundreds

More than 250 applicants attended a recent job fair held to fill positions at UHealth Coral Gables in The Lennar Foundation Medical Center. The 206,000-square-foot, five-story facility, under construction since October 2014 at the corner of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Dickinson Drive, is on track to open in late 2016. Applicants who arrived at the fair on the downtown Miami campus of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine were pre-screened by recruiters and then met with hiring managers for an on-the-spot interview.

About 81 positions are open at the Coral Gables facility, which will feature cancer care from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center physician-scientists, ophthalmologic care from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute physicians, and multi-disciplinary care from a variety of UHealth specialties, including men’s and women’s health, diabetes, neurology, and the UHealth Sports and Performance Institute. In addition to a healthy café, free parking and an on-site pharmacy, patients will also experience unique amenities, such as live performances by students at the UM Frost School of Music.

Read more about the job fair »

George R. Attia, M.D., M.B.A., and Christine L. Curry, M.D., Ph.D.

George R. Attia, M.D., M.B.A., and Christine L. Curry, M.D., Ph.D.

UHealth Zika Seminars to Address Family Planning

UHealth – the University of Miami Health System is hosting free Zika seminars on Tuesday, August 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and on Sunday, August 21, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Both events will take place in the executive boardroom at the University of Miami Hospital, 1400 N.W. 12th Ave.

The first session will be hosted by Christine L. Curry, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and a top UHealth OB/GYN caring for women with Zika in Miami, as well as UHealth fertility specialist George R. Attia, M.D., M.B.A., associate professor, Director of the UHealth Reproductive and Fertility Center and Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Attia will lead Sunday’s session.

Read more about the Zika seminars »


Security Awareness Tip – August 2016: Beware of Microsoft Phone Scams

Scammers can be very creative and tricky. One ongoing social engineering attack is from scammers who claim to be from Microsoft. Victims will receive a telephone call, or a popup message can appear on your computer to contact Microsoft at a number listed in the popup. If you call that number, it will be answered as “Microsoft Technical Support” or something similar. The intent is to appear as an actual part of the real Microsoft Corporation. The “fake” Microsoft employee will then state that the computer has been infected with a virus, for example, and offer to assist in fixing your computer.

Victims may be talked through steps in order for the scammers to gain remote access to your computer to access personal files and information. In some instances programs are also installed that allow the scammers to have unlimited access to the computer without the victim’s knowledge.

Read more about Microsoft phone scams »

Medical Compliance Services Tips of the Month

Physician Billing Compliance Tip

Insufficient documentation continues to be a leading cause of Medicare noncompliance for providers who bill for CT scans.

The CMS Provider Minute: CT Scans Video includes pointers to help you properly submit claims with sufficient documentation.

Read more about medical compliance services »

Zika Virus Testing Available at Department of Surgery Transplant Laboratories

The Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery Transplant Laboratories are now offering Zika virus testing. Available tests, with results that are reportable in TeLOS, are:

1. Zika virus PCR (qualitative) – plasma (lavender top tube); the test is also “approved” for urine and serum

2. Zika serology (IgG & IgM) – serum (red top, tiger top)

Read more about Zika virus testing »


UM Virtual Private Network To Be Upgraded September 30

University of Miami Information Technology (UMIT) has initiated a virtual private network (VPN) upgrade, which provides the University community with more efficient external connectivity to resources within the University of Miami network. On September 30, the legacy VPN solutions at the Medical Campus (sg.med.miami.edu) and the Coral Gables Campus (sphinx.miami.edu) will be consolidated to the new VPN solution: remote.miami.edu.

Important: Prior to September 30, please download the new VPN client software for your desktop computer and test your VPN connection: https://miami.box.com/vpn. Mobile iPhone and Android users may download the VPN client software from the iTunes and Google Play App stores, respectively.

Read more about the VPN upgrade »


New Location, Same Great Marketplace Experience

The Well ’Canes Marketplace moves to a new location at the Miller School of Medicine on the Fred Cowell Mall beginning on Thursday, August 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Support our local vendors and fill your senses with the sights and smells of baked goods, artisanal cheeses, local honey, marinades, ceviche, and more.

An initiative of the Department of Human Resources and UM Student Government, the Well ’Canes Marketplace will be held every other Thursday in front of Calder Medical Library at the Miller School. For more information, please contact the UM benefits team at 305-284-3004 or via the online form.

Registration Continues for Human Trafficking Conference September 9

A conference on stopping human trafficking through a mix of awareness and activism will be held at the BankUnited Center on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus on Friday, September 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration for the free program is open now.

The conference, “Organizing for Change: Students Taking Action Against Human Trafficking,” is being held in partnership with The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, with numerous other organizations, including University of Miami Women’s and Gender Studies, and Project Freedom: Medical Students Against Human Trafficking, participating.

Additional information and free registration are available here.


Sterilization Wrap Recycling Pilot Program at UMH

From nylon fabric to plastic lumbers, our UMH teams are giving a new life to the sterilization wraps used in the OR. This new pilot program will divert tons of sterilization wraps from landfills.

Thanks to their effort, U Health is lessening its impact on the environment and greening the OR.

Learn more about our Green Committee at the Miller School of Medicine here.

*** Reminder: Submission Deadline for the Next Issue ***

The next issue of e-Update will be published on Tuesday, September 20. The deadline for submissions will be the prior Wednesday, September 14, at noon.

Upcoming Grand Rounds

Thursday, September 1, 2016Ophthalmology Grand Rounds

View more Grand Rounds »

For Your Benefit

 

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program Seminar: Mindful Living

 

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