May 2013 Newsletter

Department of Medicine eNewsletter
May 2013
:: Interview
:: Department News
:: Department Events
:: Leadership Council Minutes
Website's New Features

Research Retreat Summary and Presentations

Research Day 2013 Abstracts

Gold Humanism Honor Society

Meet New Chief Residents

Annual Award Winners

Congratulations to our faculty, fellows, post-docs and residents!

We are truly proud of the work you do every day.

Master Clinician Educator Award

Amitabh Chak
Smitha Krishnamurthi

Faculty Research Award

Lalitha Nayak
Linda Cummings
Federico Perez
Fellow Research Award
Chris Longenecker
Nicole Williams
Andrew Parchman

Puja Van Epps

Grad/Post-doc Research Award
Xia Liu
Andrew Lavik
Tony Prosdocimo

Sanchita Basu

Resident Research Award
Abe Abernathy
Eyad Alsabbagh
Perica Davitkov
Babak Moini

Marty Tam

Ambulatory Excellence
Rasha El Rafai

Jessica Williams

Faculty Teacher of the Year
Frank Jacono

Debra Leizman

Resident Clerkship Teaching Award

Naveen Saha

Faculty Clerkship Teaching Award

Chris Longenecker

Agre Award/Faculty Research Teaching Award

Donald Anthony Jr.

Norman Gordon Award

John Winters

Peter Morgan Award

Libby Takacs

Willard A. Bernbaum Award

Maura Manion

Harold C. Klein Award

Bradley Martin

Medicine/Pediatrics Resident of the Year

Allison Han

Charles C.J. Carpenter Award

Kittu Jindal Garg

Leadership Council
May 2013

Chair ::

R. Walsh

Present ::
K. Armitage

A. Askari

R. Bonomo

R. Chandra

F. Cominelli

F. Creighton

S. Gravenstein

C. Hoppel
T. Hostetter
D. Hricik
M. Jain
N. Meropol
R. Salata
L. Sayyed Kassem
R. Schilz
R. Walsh
J. Wright
B. Bond

Recorded by ::
A. Staruch
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department interview

Robert Salata, MD, Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine and Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine Division Chief, discusses the growth of the International Health program, shares the key elements for forming a productive partnership and explains the importance of interdisciplinary research in a difficult funding climate.

As the Director of Infectious Diseases and Immunology Institute (IDII) at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, could you tell us about the projects the institute is currently focusing on?

IDII was first established in December 2011 in recognition of the depth of infectious diseases activities in the research, educational and clinical arenas. IDII is focused on expanding and broadening university programs in infectious diseases and global health. There are currently over 150 faculty members involved in research, education and clinical activities. We bring in over $50 million in annual National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The major strengths of the institute include significant pre-existing collaboration among faculty, focus on international infectious diseases, high profile of basic and clinical research and training programs as well as longstanding collaborations with multiple institutes in the U.S., Europe, Australia, South America and Africa.

The current overarching goals are to provide visibility and administrative coordination to the institute faculty, stimulate interdisciplinary grant applications and faculty recruitment, and create novel interdisciplinary educational programs for MD and PhD students. We are also developing partnerships with foundations, industry and government. Finally, we would like to create a public forum for the understanding of emerging infectious diseases.

There are a number of important strategic priorities IDII is concentrating on. The faculty steering committee is currently reviewing interdisciplinary grants submitted by young investigators for pilot projects that we hope will lead to more substantial research awards. We are also in the midst of creating an educational course that will focus on immunopathogenesis in the context of global health.

Could you tell us more about the International Health program and the collaboration between the Division of Infectious Diseases and Ugandan government? How have you been expanding this partnership lately? How do you see the International Health program developing over the next few years?

When the new government of Uganda came in 1986, they began to reach out to western institutions to address the problem of slim disease in the military that later turned out to be AIDS. The Ugandan government contacted Frederick Robbins, former Dean of the CWRU School of Medicine and Nobel Laureate, who became the key figure in stimulating interest in international health and international infectious diseases among faculty. Our current approach to working with colleagues in Uganda is significantly different from that of any other institution as we form a unique partnership with Ugandan physicians by doing scientific work on NIH grants together and training them to become international leaders. We have also created an infrastructure of laboratories in Uganda that are as sophisticated as any that we have here in the U.S. We have set up meaningful academic exchanges. Building on the infrastructure and trust we've established in ID, we were able to successfully expand this unique collaboration to include other specialties, particularly the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Currently the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine is working on an NIH grant that examines the changing patterns of cardiovascular diseases in Uganda, while mentoring Ugandan Master's and PhD level students. Daniel Simon, MD, Marco Costa, MD, and Chris Longenecker, MD, have been key figures in strengthening our collaboration with Uganda. Layered on top of this initiative, our cardiovascular medicine colleagues recently procured a grant from the Medtronics Foundation to establish a center of excellence in rheumatic heart disease, a condition that still plagues resource-limited areas of the world. As a component of this initiative, Drs. Costa, Simon and Longenecker have also twice performed mitral valvuloplasties and other interventional cardiology procedures in the newly opened cardiac cath lab in Kampala with colleagues from the Uganda Heart Institute.

As our cardiovascular colleagues will be examining the risk factors for heart disease that are also critical in other medical specialties, we will be further expanding the collaboration by adding research projects in neurology and nephrology. We also want to invigorate our past relationship with the Uganda Cancer Institute and hope exciting projects will surface through the collaboration Jackson Orem, MD (Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute), and Matt Cooney, MD (faculty member in the Division of Hematology & Oncology), are leading. Some of the topics we will be concentrating on are human papilloma virus-associated cancers and solid malignancies. Though a lot of time has been invested in building the infrastructure of this unique partnership, it is truly gratifying to witness this project come full circle and blossom.

This is undoubtedly a large-scale project. How do you ensure it is a productive collaboration for both parties?

In order to create a mutually beneficial partnership, we need to ensure we have engaged and motivated faculty in both countries. We are lucky to be collaborating with the second oldest school on the continent of Africa, Makerere University. Our colleagues at the Joint Clinical Research Center and Mulago Hospital are really interested in expanding their horizons and improving their clinical activities. In order to build a successful partnership, it is essential to have quality training, joint funding and dedicated physicians in both locations. It is important to think more globally about emerging health problems today because we have just as much to learn from our Ugandan colleagues as they do from us.

Your division has been concentrating on research a lot, yet current NIH funding is scarce. How do you secure funding for your division and ensure the momentum of developing new approaches and ideas continues despite the difficult funding climate?

It is important to point out that the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine is one of the most research-invested divisions in the department. We also have great international visibility and are recognized for our clinical and educational activities. As such, we present a triple threat in academic medicine. We recognize it is important to nurture and retain the faculty who have been most successful in the research realm while attracting new blood into research activities. Funding at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH is at 8 percent, so we recognize it is a daunting challenge. It is also critical to involve our faculty and other faculty members in the Department of Medicine in as many collaborative activities as we can. There will be more recognition of these projects at the University and School of Medicine level, as it will be one of the metrics for promotion and tenure. As an action plan from the Department of Medicine Research Retreat, funds will be available in the next academic year to support the faculty who wish to pursue interdisciplinary research (both inter- and intra-departmentally) as a stimulus to promote team science.

Though our division has had considerable international recognition, we decided it was time to bring our work home and create alliances with communities around CWRU. We focused our efforts on underserved and adolescent communities. We have created a successful educational program on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in Glenville through funding from the University. Our efforts in community health are a prime example of thinking outside the box and have already led to new research funding.

Could you tell us about the latest innovative approaches in HIV/AIDS management that have particularly caught your eye?

There are currently few new antibiotics in the pipeline in the context of highly resistant emerging globally important infections, some of which we are seeing in the Cleveland area and nationally. Over the past 30 years, there have been 33 new diseases discovered, and 30 of those are infectious diseases. ID remains a highly active field with significant inter-relationships with so many other areas of medicine. The best therapy for a disease is ultimately through prevention. There have been some advances in the use of medication to prevent HIV. In addition, discovering individuals who are affected by HIV and starting treatment early does have a positive public health implication by diminishing the transmission of the disease in the community. There have been a lot more discussion and resources invested in the cure of HIV. Finally, we are witnessing impressive collaborative work by Michael Lederman, MD, Mukesh Jain, MD, and others addressing the chronic complications of HIV, particularly the issue of immune activation.
department news report

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Carl Orringer, MD, was named the Treasurer of the National Lipid Association for 2013-2014 term. The National Lipid Association is a multidisciplinary medical society focused on enhancing the practice of lipid management in clinical medicine.



Albert Waldo, MD, received the Pioneer in Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology award from the Heart Rhythm Society. This annual award is presented to individuals who have been active in cardiac pacing and/or cardiac electrophysiology for many years, and have made outstanding contributions to the field of cardiology.

Schedule a clinical appointment with Cardiovascular Medicine physicians


Division of General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics

Brook Watts, MD, Rebecca Boxer, MD, Jose Ortiz, MD, and their colleagues at Cleveland VA HeartFit Team were awarded $375,000 in competitive renewal from the VA Office of Specialty Care Services for their project entitled "IMPACT HF Care: Integrating Managment of PACTs and Heart Failure Care."

Schedule a clinical appointment with General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics physicians


Division of Hematology & Oncology

Joe Baar, MDJoseph Baar, MD, was awarded a Komen grant totaling nearly $1 million. The funding will support Dr. Baar's project of an autologous dendritic cell vaccine targeting stromal vasculature following standard chemotherapy in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Dr. Baar will be working with a team of investigators from Cleveland Clinic and University of Pittsburgh.

Stan Gerson, MDStanton Gerson, MD, was named Distinguished University Professor, the highest recognition bestowed by Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). This honorific title acknowledges Dr. Gerson's the outstanding contributions and distinguished academic record of extraordinary research, scholarship, teaching and service.



Sanford Markowitz, MD, received the Distinguished Researcher Award from CWRU. This honor recognizes Dr. Markowitz's significant scientific contributions.





Paula Silverman, MD, Clinical Director of University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center Breast Cancer Disease Team, received a letter of congratulations from the National Cancer Institute Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU) for her support of clinical trials available through the CTSU to all members of the National Cooperative Group Clinical Trials Network. Dr. Silverman was among the top enrollers to CTSU studies in 2012. Support of the publicly funded clinical trials system is critical to establishing new standards of cancer care.

Schedule a clinical appointment with Hematology & Oncology physicians

department conferences & events

Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis

University Hospitals Digestive Health Institute will be walking in Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis, the nation's largest event dedicated to finding cures for digestive diseases. Join us in energizing the community and raising funds for critical research by joining our team. Stop by our sponsorship table at the event to meet the team members or serve as a representative for the institute.

Location: Voinovich Bicentennial Park

Date: Sunday, June 23, 2013

Time: 3:00 p.m. - Check in and festival

4:00 p.m. - Walk

Click here to register for the event

Gold Humanism Induction Ceremony

The Inaugural Gold Humanism Induction Ceremony took place on May 7, 2013, and united nurses, residents and seasoned physicians in an inspiring discussion about compassionate patient care. Click here to view more photos from the event.

Spring Dinner 2013
Faculty, fellows, post-docs and residents came together to honor the graduating class of 2013. The evening was filled with warm atmosphere and engaging conversations. Click here to view more photos from the event.
department leadership council minutes


Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh updated the council members on the searches for chairs of Ophthalmology and Cardiovascular Surgery at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center. He also outlined the process for the search for a Director of the Respiratory Health Institute where six outstanding candidates have been identified for first visits. One candidate is coming for a second visit this week.

Leadership Council
Dr. Walsh distributed information on UHMG Net Margins through April 2013 by division. The data compared YTD 2012 (Actual) to YTD 2013 (Actual).

Leadership Council

Dr. Armitage updated the council members on Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accreditation process, future measurement of trainee competency levels and the evaluation system.

Leadership Council

Dr. Bonomo gave a brief overview of proposed budget reductions at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Center due to government sequestration.

Mr. Bradley Bond, Vice President of Finance for Treasury and Community Hospitals at UH Case Medical Center, discussed the investment of endowment funds and asset allocations.
Among the nation's leading academic medical centers, University Hospitals Case Medical Center is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, a nationally recognized leader in medical research and education.