December 2012 Newsletter

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Department of Medicine eNewsletter
December 2012
:: Interview
:: Department News
:: Department Events
:: Leadership Council Minutes
Publication of the Month

"Cord-Blood Engraftment with Ex Vivo Mesenchymal-Cell Coculture" by Dr. Marcos de Lima in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Leadership Council
December 2012

Chair ::

R. Walsh


Present ::

B. Arafah

K. Armitage

R. Bonomo

R. Chandra

F. Cominelli

F. Creighton
S. Gravenstein

T. Hostetter

D. Hricik

N. Meropol

R. Moskowitz

R. Salata

R. Schilz

D. Simon

R. Walsh
J. Wright


Recorded by ::
A. Staruch
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department interview

Marco Costa, MD, Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Center and Research and Innovation Center at the University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, shares his views on differentiating the Division of Cardiology in a competitive market, technological advancements in the cardiovascular medicine, and key qualities that are essential for a successful researcher.

You are leading Research and Innovation Center as well as Interventional Cardiovascular Center at UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute. What are some of the challenges you are planning on addressing in the coming year?


The focus of the Research and Innovation Center is to promote and facilitate cardiovascular research. We believe strongly in the benefits of multidisciplinary interactions with other disciplines to expand the horizons of our research programs. We have created strong partnerships with infectious diseases, dermatology, biomedical engineering, computer science, biology and others. The current challenge of the center lies in identifying an efficient model for promoting research and cost-efficient model for executing research innovation. Another challenge is generating more investigator-initiated studies while effectively optimizing funding opportunities offered through NIH, industry-sponsored research and philanthropy.

UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Center has succeeded in several key areas of cardiovascular medicine over the past five years; our biggest goal right now lies in moving to the next level and becoming one of the top 10 institutions in the country. In order to achieve this objective, we need to increase our volume of patients while sustaining our high academic standards.


What role does the Cardiovascular Medicine Division faculty play in advancing clinical procedures?


In order to differentiate ourselves from the competition we need to offer the services that nobody else is capable of offering. We have to size the market and recognize the population's greatest needs. It is essential to be selective about addressing the needs and pursue areas that will generate sizable societal impacts. As a division, we have been very strategic in identifying coronary heart disease, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure as target areas to concentrate on. For example, Dr. Mauricio Arruda does one-of-a-kind atrial fibrillation procedures with robotic assistance. We are also currently treating high blood pressure in the cath lab with catheters that yield better results than we were able to achieve in the past with medication. Essentially, the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine is moving forward by innovating, offering one-of-a-kind procedures and making strategic choices of goals worth pursuing.


Could you share your perspective on how technological advancements are influencing the procedures and treatments of cardiovascular medicine?


Medicine has always focused on developing new drugs and medications. However, I believe in the next few years the focus will shift to device and imaging. Cardiology will concentrate on improving its ability to diagnose health problems with the help of the latest technological achievements. The next step of solving fundamental problems of cardiology - heart failure, hypertension, atrial fibrillation and coronary disease - is to move our therapies to the level of true preventive medicine and treating the cause of the illness through smart drugs, as opposed to the current "palliative" paradigm of medical therapy.


You have been a pioneer in some of the first ever drug-eluding stents with Dr. Sousa and Dr. Serruys. What are your thoughts on sustaining the status of a breakthrough researcher?


First and foremost, I do not perceive myself as an inventor, but as a catalyst and facilitator, somebody who has the courage and drive to pursue a vision. When you are open and decisive about taking on challenging projects, all you need is to be surrounded by smart people. Then, the first successful experience gives you the extra confidence and leverage to pursue even bigger goals. I am very lucky to be surrounded by professionals who have the same mindset like Dr. Daniel Simon, Dr. Mukesh Jain, and Dr. Jonathan Stamler. To summarize, I believe it is such fundamental qualities as courage, self-confidence, knowledge and trustworthiness that can make a professional a true pioneer.


You have recently been invited to Portugal by the Vice Minister of Health. Could you tell us about your trip?


In my past travels I have identified Portugal as the country that offers exceptional access to technology that our institution can greatly benefit from. Over the past six years we have established a close relationship with Portuguese medical professionals and currently offer a summer course in cardiology for medical students and physicians in Lisbon. The program has been very successful over the past five years and led to more projects; for example, through our stem cell collaboration, we inaugurated a first stem cell production facility in Portugal this winter. On my latest trip, I was invited to give a keynote conference to health care administrators of Portugal about innovation and changes in the health care system. We focused on how innovation can lead to direct societal gain. By tackling large problems in society, we acquire the expertise to bring benefits to our patients locally.

department news report

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Dr. Mukesh Jain was the honoree of the Russell Ross Memorial Lecture in Vascular Biology of the American Heart Association. The lecture originated in 1982 and honorees are selected by ATVB council.









Division of Clinical & Molecular Endocrinology


Dr. Saul Genuth published a paper in the Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications entitled "The Association Between Skin Collagen Glucosepane and Past Progression of Microvascular and Neuropathic Complications in Type 1 Diabetes." The study describes advanced glycation molecules that are associated with type 1 diabetic complications in the DCCT/EDIC study.







Division of General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics

Dr. Brook Watts, Dr. Rebecca Boxer, Dr. Scott Ober, and Dr. Jose Ortiz were awarded $140,000 from the VA Geriatric Research and Education Clinical Center for the project entitled "Extended In-Home Care Options for Geriatric Patients with Heart Failure: Nurse/Pharmacist-Driven Medication Protocols."

Division of Hematology & Oncology

Dr. Marcos de Lima's study entitled "Cord-Blood Engraftment with Ex Vivo Mesenchymal-Cell Coculture" was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study demonstrates that ex vivo co-culture of cord blood with mesenchymal stromal cells enhances clinical outcomes with stem cell transplantation.






Dr. Hillard Lazarus was the session chair and moderator for an Educational Session of the American Society of Hematology. The session was entitled "New Insights into the Genetic Pathogenesis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and New Treatment Strategies." In addition, Dr. Lazarus presented a talk entitled "When, How and What Cell Source for Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation in First Complete Remission Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia."




Dr. Sandy Markowitz became one of the recipients of the inaugural Harrington Scholar-Innovator Grants from the Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Awardees were chosen from the national pool of applicants based on the merits of innovation, quality and impact following a rigorous and transparent review by the Harrington Discovery Institute Scientific Advisory Board. The two-year award will support Dr. Markowitz's development of compounds that can modulate tissue prostaglandin levels through modulation of the prostaglandin degrading enzyme 15-PGDH. Compounds that can induce 15-PGDH will then be evaluated for activity in prevention and treatment of colon cancer. Compounds that can inhibit 15-PGDH will be evaluated for activity in tissue regeneration, transplantation, and healing of ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract.


Dr. Neal Meropol became a board member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). ASCO is the world's leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. The ASCO Board of Directors consists of 18 members and is responsible for executing the mission, vision, and strategic management of the organization as well as translating ASCO's mission into ongoing programs that attain the organization's goals. With more than 30,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals.



Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine

Dr. John Johnson and his colleagues Drs. Andreas Diacon and Jeannine Du Bois from Stellenbosch University are actively developing new treatments for tuberculosis. A new DMID/TBRU phase 2a trial of investigating the effectiveness of a new AstraZeneca anti-TB drug was launched in Cape Town, South Africa. The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The investigators are hoping the new drug that belongs to a class of antibiotics active against Gram-positive bacteria and mycobacteria will be able to effectively address the spread and shorten the treatment of tuberculosis in high-burden countries.


Drs. Robin Jump, Olds and Higgins, together with their colleagues Dr. Ken Schaemder from the VA in Durham, NC, and Dr. Chris Crnich from the VA in Madison, WI, were awarded $247,000 from the VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center. Their proposal, "A Multi-Site Educational Intervention to Improve the Treatment of Infections Among Older Veterans," will implement two educational tracks, one for prescribers and one for nursing staff, across several VA facilities. The long-term goal of the project is to improve antimicrobial utilization for older adults.




Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine


Dr. Kingman Strohl was the invited speaker and professor at Asia Sleep Research Society in Taipei, Taiwan. Dr. Strohl was also the consultant of the 3rd World Chinese Sleep Forum and featured speaker in 8th Sleep Respiration Forum. Finally, Dr. Strohl was the visiting professor and consultant in Binzhou Medical College in Nantai and People's Hospital in Beijing University.







Division of Rheumatology


Dr. Donald Anthony received $650,000 VA Merit Award to investigate the effects of HIV co-infection and host IL28B genotype on NK cell control of HCV infection.





department conferences & events

Medicine Grand Rounds

Location: Kulas Auditorium

Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

  • January 8 - "Treating Type 2 Diabetes in 2013" by Saul Genuth, MD, Division of Endocrinology
  • January 15 - "Heart Failure - When to Worry" by James Fang, MD, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Center
  • January 22 - "Clinical Risk Management Program: How Not to Get Sued or Lose" by Kim Bixenstine, Deputy General Counsel & VP, Claims & Litigation Services; 1 hour live risk management credit; CME Credit
  • January 29 - "Combined Clinical Risk Management and Compliance Education Program: Joint Compliance and Legal Presentation on HIPAA and Patient Privacy Issues" by Kim Bixenstine, Deputy General Counsel & VP, Claims & Litigation Services; 1 hour live risk management credit; CME Credit
Research Retreat 2013
Date: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Wolstein Research Building, 2103 Cornell Road, Cleveland, OH 44106
department leadership council minutes

Leadership CouncilDr. Walsh introduced a new member of the Leadership Council, Dr. Stefan Gravenstein. Dr. Gravenstein was recruited from Brown University as Professor of Medicine and Associate Director, Geriatric Center for Academic Affairs.


Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh updated the Council on the Joint Planning Group meetings with Price Waterhouse Coopers. The focus of the group is combined strategic planning for the university and hospital missions of research, teaching, patient care. Dr. Walsh will continue to present summaries to the Council as these meetings progress.


Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh announced that the hospital is conducting a national search for Chief Operating Officer to replace Dr. Achilles Demetriou who is retiring at the end of this calendar year and will be missed. At the School of Medicine, there are searches being conducted for a Vice Dean for Education as well as an Associate Dean for Graduate Education.


Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh followed up on a request by the UHMG Steering Committee to identify a faculty member from each division as a representative to Central Scheduling. This representative will assist in the event that Central Scheduling has difficulty processing an appointment for an individual patient.


Dr. Salata announced that there will be a Department of Medicine Research Retreat on Saturday, February 9, 2013, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Wolstein Research Building. He distributed the retreat agenda including details on the two Plenary Sessions and the four Breakout Sessions. There is a "Research Tab" on the Department of Medicine website,, with additional details on this retreat and registration information. Research Day for the Department of Medicine will be the afternoon of Friday, May 3, 2013, with details to follow in the department newsletter and on the website.


Leadership Council

Dr. Hostetter presented a Case Western Reserve University Medical Student Research Timeline he received from Dr. James Bruzik, Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research. It included information on the summer projects medical students can participate in between their first and second years. Dr. Hostetter encouraged the council to recommend that faculty members update their research interests on the ePortfolio at This will communicate their research focus to medical students. In addition, faculty may email a short description of their research to Todd Fennimore, Director of the Office of Medical Student Research This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , so that it can be forwarded to medical students via listserv.


Leadership CouncilDr. Armitage distributed data on the 2012 Subspecialty Fellowship Match.



Leadership Council

Dr. Meropol presented information on the data from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center Patient Satisfaction Survey for the Division of Hematology/Oncology. Data is collected on the following: Overall Satisfaction with Care, Relationship with Nurses, Response of Hospital Staff, Relationship with Doctors, Hospital Environment, Pain Management, Communication about Medicines and Discharge Information. Dr. Meropol cited the new University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center as a positive with patients and reviewed the Hem/Onc and Hospitalist services with the council. He reported that in January 2012, Hematology/Oncology conducted a survey of inpatients and, in October 2012, the division began the Seidman 4 Pilot Communication program. Checklists for physicians have been designed as well as "Meet Your Physicians" fliers for patients which include pictures of attendings, residents and interns. Dasha Slobozhanina reported that the "Meet Your Physician" fliers have now been made available to patients on the following Medicine inpatient services: Eckel, Dworken, Wearn and Naff.

Leadership CouncilDr. Cominelli reported on a Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology Strategic Planning Retreat held on December 1 with 100 percent participation by division faculty members. The University Hospitals Digestive Health Institute's five-year strategic plan, aligned with UH priorities, will increase productivity and market share for GI diseases for the UH system while maintaining the high level of academic and clinical excellence achieved over the past 5 years. Dr. Cominelli will prepare a comprehensive document that describes this strategic plan and vision in Digestive Health. He plans on presenting this information to Mr. Zenty and hospital leadership in early 2013.



Leadership CouncilMr. Creighton distributed Department of Medicine YTD Q2 hospital financial data to council members. This data, by division, compared YTD June 2011 to YTD June 2012. It was noted that there was significant improvement in the fiscal performance data from 2011 to 2012.


Leadership CouncilDr. Wright announced a celebration of "50 Years of Continuous NIH Funding of the William T. Dahms, MD Clinical Research Unit" Friday, December 14th with Poster Presentations from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. (Biomedical Research Building Atrium) and the Anniversary Program from 2:15 - 4:15 p.m. (Frohring Auditorium, BRB 105).  Dr. Susan Redline will be the Key Note Speaker. He encouraged all faculty to attend this important milestone event.