May 2012 Newsletter

Department of Medicine eNewsletter
May 2012
:: Interview
:: Department News
:: Department Events
:: Leadership Minutes

Best doctors in America 2012

Congratulations to our faculty who were awarded the title of "Best Doctors in America" in 2012.


The Department of Medicine is proud to have over 50 of our physicians recognized in this award.


Division of Cardiovascular Medicine


Dr. Mauricio S. Arruda

Dr. Marco A. Costa

Dr. Michael J. Cunningham

Dr. Barry A. Effron

Dr. James Fang

Dr. Michel George Farah

Dr. Robert Goldstein

Dr. Lloyd Greene

Dr. A. Arthur Halle III

Dr. Brian Hoit

Dr. Richard A. Josephson

Dr. Joseph I. Krall

Dr. Judith Mackall

Dr. Sri Krishna Madan Mohan

Dr. Carl E. Orringer

Dr. Aaron Proweller

Dr. Jayakumar Sahadevan

Dr. Daniel I. Simon

Dr. Bruce S. Stambler

Dr. Albert L. Waldo

Dr. Thomas S. Wilson


Division of Endocrinology


Dr. Baha Mahmoud Arafah


Division of Gastroenterology & Liver Disease


Dr. Amitabh Chak

Dr. Fabio Cominelli

Dr. Gregory S. Cooper

Dr. Ashley L. Faulx

Dr. Kevin Geraci

Dr. Gerard Isenberg

Dr. Jeffry A. Katz

Dr. Sapna V. Thomas

Dr. Richard C.K. Wong


Division of General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics

Dr. Debra S. Leizman

Division of Hematology and Oncology

Dr. Matthew Morrissey Cooney

Dr. Brenda W. Cooper

Dr. Afshin Dowlati

Dr. Stanton L. Gerson

Dr. Joseph Gibbons

Dr. Smitha S. Krishnamurthi

Dr. Hillard Michael Lazarus

Dr. Nathan Levitan

Dr. Neal J. Meropol

Dr. Alvin H. Schmaier

Dr. Paula Silverman


Division of Infectious Disease


Dr. Keith B. Armitage

Dr. Barbara M. Gripshover

Dr. Michael M. Lederman

Dr. Robert A. Salata


Division of Nephrology

Dr. Peter DeOreo

Dr. Donald E. Hrinik

Dr. Thomas H. Hostetter

Dr. Michael C. Smith

Dr. Jay B. Wish


Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine


Dr. Rana B. Hejal

Dr. Reena Mehra

Dr. Hugo Montenegro

Dr. Robert John Schilz

Dr. Kingman P. Strohl

Leadership Council
May14, 2012

Chair ::

R. Walsh


Present ::

B. Arafah

K. Armitage

A. Askari

R. Bonomo

R. Chandra

F. Cominelli

F. Creighton

T. Hostetter

D. Hricik

M. Jain

N. Meropol

R. Salata,

D. Simon

K. Strohl

R. Walsh

Invited Guests ::

Dr. Mark Chance

Dr. Stanton Gerson



Recorded by ::
A. Staruch
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department interview
We sat down with Dr. Jonathan Stamler to learn about the latest developments of the Harrington Project.

Could you tell us about the importance of the Harrington Project for the School of Medicine?

The Harrington Project is dedicated to helping physician-scientists change the standard of care. It will support innovation in medicine and hopefully enrich our experience as physicians. We are here to help attract innovators and bright minds to UH Case Medical Center. We want to see physicians participate in and inform therapeutic development.


What has transpired since the announcement of Harrington Project in February?

We have assembled an advisory board, gotten the Discovery Institute off the ground, and the development company is up and running. The Harrington Project will be officially announcing the launch of its for-profit entity in about a month, but it is already sourcing and evaluating projects from institutions around the country. It has probably evaluated 50 technologies in the past two months. The Harrington Discovery Institute, our non-profit arm, is open for business. We have just announced our Harrington Scholar-Innovator program, which will fund 10 scholars across the country, will introduce a national yearly prize for Innovation in medicine, to be awarded to outstanding physician-scientists who embody the principles of the Harrington Institute, and have recruited our first Resident Scholar Goutham Narla from Mt. Sinai.


Could you tell us about the advisory panel? What professionals is it comprised of and how will it function?

The advisory board consists of preeminent physician-scientists from institutions around the country. All are National Academy members and recognized for their innovative contributions in the field of medicine. The advisory panel will help with the selection of the scholars, provide guidance and mentoring to Harrington Scholars and advise on the direction of the Institute. The first ten Harrington Scholars will be selected August 1st and will receive up to $200,000 over two consecutive years.


What kind of individuals is the commercial entity comprised of? What experience do they bring?

The for-profit entity is responsible for developing the discoveries made by physician- and other biomedical- scientists from around the country. It will also provide guidance, business planning and development capability to all Harrington Scholars. For example, the company's CEO, Bob Keith, who is moving from San Diego brings the expertise and experience of a leading a biopharmaceutical executive. He has outstanding management and leadership skills. Our CSO, David U'Prichard was the head of global R&D for a large pharmaceutical company. Together, they bring unprecedented drug development capability to an Academic Medical Center.


What means were used to publicize the Harrington Project and its opportunities to scholars?

The University Hospitals media handled a lot of publicity and marketing of the Harrington Discovery Institute. The information about the Harrington Project was circulated to every university in the country. There were also publications in main scientific journals as well as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.


Can you tell us about the scholars you have attracted so far and their research?

We currently have one resident scholar Goutham Narla, he conducts research in cancer genetics and is currently working on developing new classes of drugs for lung and prostate cancer. He was recruited with the help of CWRU, the Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine, and the Cancer Center.


What is next for the Harrington Project?

We have a couple of exciting projects up our sleeves. Ideas we are working on that you will, hopefully, hear about very shortly. We are developing new programs and exploring partnerships and collaborations based on the non-profit-commercial partnering model that we have created.

department news report

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Dr. Rebecca Boxer has been awarded a $82,652 grant from the McGregor Foundation to develop a training program for "Family Caregivers for Older Adults with Heart Failure."







Dr. Saptarsi Haldar has received ASCI/AAP Career Development award as well as ASCI/AAP Best Poster Award at the 2012 joint meeting.








Dr. Mukesh Jain has identified the protein that is responsible for sudden cardiac arrest in the morning. Dr. Jain has been studying a protein called Kruppel like factor 15 (Klf15) and discovered that it controls susceptibility to arrhythmia and sudden death in mice, and its production in the body varies in a 24-hour cycle. This finding explains the molecular correlation between the circadian clock and the heart rhythms that lead to sudden death. Dr. Jain's article entitled "Circacian Rhythms Govern Cardiac Repolarization and Arrhythmogenesis" was published in Nature.

Dr. Mukesh Jain was also elected Vice President of American Society for Clinical Investigation Council for 2012-2015. ASCI is one of the nation's oldest and prestigious medical honor societies. It currently has over 3,000 members who are in the upper ranks of academic medicine and industry.


Dr. Rich Josephson has been awarded a PACE (Patient Adherence through Collaborative Education) grant in the amount of $43,000 from the state of Ohio for "Intensive Behavioral Counseling for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention."








Dr. Carl Orringer was named Secretary of the National Lipid Association for a one year term beginning in May 2012.








Behavior of bacteria has shed light on potential cure for some of the most common and deadly diseased. Dr. Jonathan Stamler and his team have discovered that the gas nitric oxide (NO), produced in all cells of the human body plays a vital role as a fundamental signaling mechanism. In addition, 150 new genes regulating the signaling mechanism have been identified. The disruption of the  genes created bacterial cell damage similar to that seen in common human diseases. The discovery gives a novel picture of fundamental processes essential to cellular functions and promises new potential for developing cures to treat many common diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease, and cancer. Dr. Stamler's article entitled "Endogenous Protein S-Nitrosylation in E. coli: Regulation by OxyR" was published in Science.

Dr. Albert Waldo has received the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from The State University of New York College of Medicine. Dr. Waldo's work has also been recently recognized through this year's Distinguished Physician Award from University Hospitals Case Medical Center.









Division of Endocrinology

There are currently over 26 million people in U.S. suffering from type 2 diabetes; one of the most important goals of glycemic management is to minimize long-term complications while avoiding severe hypoglycemic events. Dr. Faramar'z Ismail-Beigi argues that glycemic management in type 2 diabetes is best achieved through a multitude of approaches, including educational, medical and nonpharmacological (such as weight loss and exercise). Dr. Ismail-Beigi recommends lifestyle modifications and metformin as cost-effective methods to reduce the risk of microvascular and macrovascular complications. He also mentions that several oral agents with complimentary mechanisms of action can be added to metformin to aid in glycemic management. Dr. Ismail-Beigi's article entitled "Glycemic Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus" was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.




Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Disease

Dr. Gregory Cooper, Dr. Li Li (Department of Family

Medicine) and a team of physician-scientists are

studying a promising new non-invasive technology

for colon cancer screening. The five-year study is recruiting patients to compare the effectiveness of stool DNA (SDNA)  testing with colonoscopy for detecting large colon polyps. Developed in the laboratory of Dr. Sanford Markkowitz,SDNA is a novel test that detects colon cancer in its earliest stages, based on analysis of stool DNA.






Division of Hematology and Oncology

Dr. Lisa Arfons was awarded a Center of Excellence in Specialty Care Education grant by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations. $1.5 million grant will support the transformation of clinical education and patient care by preparing graduates of health professional schools and programs to work in and lead patient-centered interdisciplinary and/or interprofessional teams providing oncology care.


Dr. Nate Berger published a book "Energy Balance and Hematologic Malignancies." The monograph focuses on the relation of obesity to hematologic malignancies, including epidemiology, potential mechanisms, and therapeutic considerations related to energy balance. Dr. Nate Berger also published a book with Dr. Sanford Markowitz titled "Energy Balance and Gastrointestinal Cancer."



Dr. Joe Bokar received the 2012 "Kaiser-Permanente Award for Excellence in Teaching." This recognition is based on the selection of medical school graduates and celebrates Dr. Bokar's preclinical teaching at CWRU School of Medicine.







Dr. Afshin Dowlati was designated as the inaugural Lucille and Robert H. Gries Endowed Director of the SCC Center for Cancer Drug Development. This honor will provide programmatic support for an enriched coordinated effort in new therapeutics, with a goal of bringing home-grown laboratory insights to the patients.





Dr. Lyndsay Harris received the Center of Excellence in Integrative Cancer Biology and Genomics award for the presentation titled "Next generation RNA sequencing reveals transcriptomic changes after brief exposure to preoperative nab-paclitaxel, bevacizumab and trastuzumab."




Dr. Smitha Krishnamurthi was featured on the Cover of Cleveland Magazine when she shared with readers her advice on how colonoscopy can reduce the risk of colon cancer.






Dr. Hillard Lazarus was named the inaugural "George and Edith Richman Professor" by CWRU Board of Trustees for his contributions to cancer research.








Dr. Rom Leidner was announced as one of the recipients of 2012 Career Development Award given by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Conquer Cancer Foundation. The award was given in recognition of Dr. Leidner's proposal entitled "Molecular Cytology in Barrett's Esophagus", that explores a novel, non-invasive method for detecting molecular changes associated with Barrett's esophagus and progression to cancer.




Dr. Shigemi Matsuyama and Dr. Matthew Cooney are the recipients of a Department of Defense (DoD) Idea Development Award the project "Apoptosis Induction by Targeting Interferon Gamma Receptor 2 (IFNgammaR2) in Prostate Cancer: Ligand (IFNgamma) - Independent Novel Function of IFNgammaR2 as a Bax Inhibitor."




Dr. Alvin Schmaier and Dr. Hillard Lazarus have recently published a book titled "Concise Guide to Hematology."











Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine

Even with effective antiretroviral therapy, many patients with HIV infection cannot restore adequate levels of CD4+ T-cells - important immune cells that are targeted and depleted by HIV. Dr. Michael Lederman has found in his study that in such instances of immune failure, T-cells remained activated and this was associated with inflammation and evidence of systemic exposure to microbial products from the damaged gut. The findings suggest that even with the proper use of antiretroviral therapies to control HIV, persistent inflammation is linked to a failure to normalize immune defenses, placing these patients at greater risk for complications. The article entitled "Immunologic Failure Despite Suppressive Antiretroviral Therapy is Related to Activation and Turnover of Memory CD4 Cells" was published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.



Division of Nephrology and Hypertension

Dr. Donald Hricik received the inaugural Centers for Dialysis Care's Leonard C. Rosenberg Renal Researach Foundation Master Clinician in Nephrology.







Dr. Mahboob Rahman's work has been featured in many articles. Among his recent publications are Blood Pressure Measurement: Clinic, Home, Ambulatory and Beyond in American Journal of Kidney Disease; Association Between Retinopathy and Cardiovascular Disease in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study) in American Journal of Cardiology; Long-Term Renal and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) Participants by Baseline Estimated GFR in Clinical Journal of American Social Nephrology; The Renal Transcriptome of DB/DB Mice Identifies Putative Urinary Biomarker Proteins in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot Study in American Journal of Physiology; Electrocardiogram Abnormalities and Cardiovascular Mortality in Elderly Patients with CKD in Clinical Journal of American Social Nephrology.




Division of Rheumatology

Dr. Ali Askari's article "Identification of Oral Bacterial DNA in the Synovial Fluid and Dental Plaque in Patients Having Periodontal Disease and Arthritis" that he wrote in collaboration with the School of Dental Medicine was published in The Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.


department conferences & events
Grand Rounds Kulas Auditorium - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.


May 22

Sarah Augustine, MD

Section Head, General Internal Medicine
Cleveland Regional VAMC

"Impact of Quality Improvement on Resident Education"


May 29

Bruce Berger, MD

Division of Nephrology

"Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS): A Decade of Discoveries in Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Treatment"




Dr. Donald Hricik Receives Master Clinician in Nephrology Award

Colleagues, family and friends joined UH President Dr. Fred Rothstein and Dr. Richard Walsh, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at CWRU, as they honored Dr. Donald Hricik with Centers for Dialysis Care's Leonard C. Rosenberg Renal Research Foundation Master Clinician in Nephrology award. Dr. Donald Hricik was selected to receive this high honor by a committee that considered such factors as recognition by peers, teaching talents, and ability to foster innovation in clinical care delivery. Dr. Hricik has set high standards for quality in patient care and exemplified excellence in education and research throughout his distinguished medical career.




Research Day 2012

Research Day 2012 was an excellent event, filled with of engaging speakers, insightful posters from young researchers and stimulating discussions among the attendees.


See all photos from Research Day 2012 on our Facebook page.


department leadership minutes

Leadership CouncilDr. Walsh welcomed Dr. Mark Chance, Vice Dean for Research, CWRU, to the Council meeting. Dr. Chance presented on a Draft Strategic Plan: Basic Science Research. His presentation included information on: School of Medicine Priorities; Positive Growth School of Medicine Total Revenue; Strategic Planning and the Research Opportunities Task Force; Themes for 2012 and Beyond; Basic Science Enhancement Plan; Clinical and Basic Science Department Interactions; the Strategic Plan Development Process; Basic Science Investment; Parallel Implementation Strategies; Desired Outcomes for Basic and Clinical Research; and Additional Strategic Plan Development for Future Meetings. Dr. Chance and Dr. Jain will lead the strategic planning for Clinical Research. Dr. Walsh opened the meeting up for discussion. Dr. Chance noted that this draft is in an early stage of development and he is continuing to meet with Clinical Department Chairs, Division Chiefs and will conduct additional Town Hall meetings. Dr. Walsh thanked Dr. Chance for his presentation.

Leadership Council


Dr. Walsh distributed information from a Healthcare Institute CEO Survey, March 2012 by McKinsey & Company on Results from Member Cost Reduction Survey. The survey outlines cost reduction initiatives being considered by survey participants, including community hospitals across the country as well as academic medical centers.


Leadership Council


Dr. Armitage reminded Council members that this year's Spring Dinner is Thursday, May 24th at 6:00 p.m. at the Thwing Center.