October 2013 Newsletter

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

Department of Medicine Awards


Medical Students' Resources


Research Seminars and Workshops


Leadership Council
October 2013

Chair ::

R. Walsh


Present ::

B. Arafah

K. Armitage

R. Bonomo

R. Chandra

F. Cominelli

F. Creighton

S. Gravenstein

C. Hoppel

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

Amitabh Chak, MD, Advanced Technology Innovations Center Director and BETRNet Principal Investigator, talks about BETRNet progress and future goals, discusses the importance of translational research in finding cures for complex diseases and shares his insight on the approaches that will be shaping gastroenterology health care tomorrow.


Barrett's Esophagus Translational Research Network was established at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine to study the role of genetics and environment of the Barrett's Esophagus progression and prevention. What has been the progress of BETRNet up to this point? What are some of the goals you are concentrating on currently?

We have three major projects that aim to identify genetic susceptibility markers, coding and noncoding RNA markers, and epigenetic markers for the detection of Barrett's Esophagus and prediction of its progression to cancer. All three projects utilize state-of-the-art sequencing techniques. The major work of accrual of patients, processing of samples and sequencing has been accomplished and the large amount of generated data is being finalized. The informatics approaches to understanding NextGen sequencing data are still in their infancy and the data analysis involves the creation of novel data analysis pipelines at Case Western Reserve University.

Throughout your career you have relied heavily on multidisciplinary projects that encompass the collaborations between basic, clinical and translational research. How do you see translational research developing in future?

The future of medicine requires us to build teams of investigators that can bring unique expertise to tackle complex diseases. No one individual can master the clinical, molecular, pathologic and statistical knowledge that is required for translational research. The National Cancer Institute recognizes this need in its emphasis on team science. Case Western Reserve University is also developing policies and programs that encourage this collaborative environment.

The difficult NIH funding climate has affected many researchers recently. In your opinion, what are some of the strategies for overcoming the current difficulties while still generating ideas that move medicine forward?

My approach has been to not worry about the difficulties in funding as those will fluctuate. As long as one feels that a problem is important to address, one should apply for funding from all possible resources. Our economy has been in trouble and health care costs have soared; the whole country is suffering.

What are some of the latest innovative tools and approaches in the treatment of gastroenterological diseases that you are witnessing being transformed into clinical practice as effective bedside applications?

An explosion in genetic discovery has begun. The next ten years will likely result in new applications of genetic knowledge in complex gastrointestinal diseases, such as gastrointestinal cancer, hepatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
department news report

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine


Jonathan Stamler, MD, became the recipient of the 2013 American Heart Association Distinguished Scientist Award. This honor recognizes Dr. Stamler's contributions to cardiovascular medicine.







Schedule a clinical appointment with Cardiovascular Medicine physicians




Division of Gastroenterology & Liver Disease

Amitabh Chak, MD, was interviewed by WVIZ regarding obesity's relationship with Barret's Esophagus and Esophageal cancer as part of ideastream's ongoing, award-winning health information series called Be Well and is presented in collaboration with The Plain Dealer and NetWellness, a consumer information website from Ohio's three medical research universities (University of Cincinnati, the Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University).


Schedule a clinical appointment with Gastroenterology & Liver Disease physicians




Division of General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics


Mimi Singh, MD, was elected to Fellowship in American College of Physicians. This recognition reflects Dr. Singh's academic and professional commitment to the internal medicine community.


Division of Hematology & Oncology


Joe Baar, MD

Joseph Baar, MD, received a $996,000 grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Dr. Baar will use the funds to develop a trial to study vaccine in patients with metastatic or advanced breast cancer.








Neal Meropol, MD, was awarded the 2013 Merill Egoring Award for outstanding mentoring from ASCO/AACR.









Cynthia Owusu, MD, and her colleagues conducted a study examining racial differences in functional disability among older women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Dr. Owusu found that African-American females are disproportionally affected by the functional disability and are experiencing more difficulties in accomplishing daily tasks. Dr. Owusu's findings were published in an article entitled "Racial Disparities in Functional Disability Among Older Women with Newly Diagnosed Nonmetastatic Breast Cancer" in Cancer journal, and suggest that many breast cancer patients could benefit from receiving therapy to improve their physical function to increase their survival outcomes.

Schedule a clinical appointment with Hematology & Oncology physicians





Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine


Curtis Donskey, MD, published his work in articles entitled "Does Organic Material on Hospital Surfaces Reduce the Effectiveness of Hypochlorite and UV Radiation for Disinfection of Clostridium difficile?" in Infection Control Hospital Epidemiology journal; "Defining the Vulnerable Period for Re-Establishment of Colonization after Treatment of Infection with Oral Vancomycin or Metronidazole" in PLOS One journal; "Comparison of Perirectal versus Rectal Swabs for Detection of Asymptomatic Carriers of Toxigenic Clostridium difficile" in Journal of Clinical Microbiology; "Asymptomatic carriage of toxigenic Clostridium difficile by hospitalized patients" in Journal Hospital Infection; and "Clostridium difficile Infection in the Hospitalized Pediatric Population: Increasing Trend in Disease Incidence" in Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. In addition, Dr. Donskey's publications were selected as Top Ten Paper of 2013 at ICACC and ID Week conferences.

Carlos Subauste, MD, published an article entitled "
The Protein Kinase Double-stranded RNA-dependent (PKR) enhances protection against disease cause by a non-viral pathogen" in PLOS Pathogens journal.








Schedule a clinical appointment with Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine physicians


department conferences & events

Grand Rounds

When: Tuesdays, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Where: Kulas Auditorium, Lakeside, 5th Floor


October 29

"How Genomics is Altering Our Understanding of Cardiomyopathy" by Gerald Dorn II, MD

November 5

"Latent Tuberculous Infection: What You Should Know and Why" by Thomas Daniel, MD


November 12

"Quality" by William Annable, MD


November 19

"Men and Women of Certain Age" by Gowrishankar Gnanasekaran, MD




Morbidity and Mortality Conferences

When: Fridays, 12:00 - 1: 00 p.m.

Where: Kulas Auditorium, Lakeside, 5th Floor

November 1

A case of a 34-year-old man with pulmonary hypertension with lymphadenopathy and a liver mass found to have malignant pheochromocytoma.

Discussion Leaders: Trevor Jenkins, MD (Division of Cardiovascular Medicine); Jennifer Eads, MD (Division of Hematology & Oncology); Michelle Stehura, MD (Department of Pathology), Department of Radiology representative.

November 8, 2013

A case of a 67-year-old woman with chronic pelvic pain and fevers found to have extensive pelvic actinomycosis in the setting of retained intrauterine device.

Discussion Leaders: Kimberly Gecsi, MD (Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology); Keith Armitage, MD (Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine); Department of Radiology representative; Legal Department


November 15, 2013

A case of a 67-year-old man presenting with paresthesia and elevated troponin with "negative" admission head CT develops hemorrhagic stroke on anticoagulation.

Discussion Leaders: Michael DeGeorgia, MD (Department of Neurology); Department of Radiology representative; Legal Department representative.

department leadership council minutes

Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh announced that Jorge Almeida Guimarães, President of CAPES, the Brazilian Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education, and approximately 15 other leaders from the premier universities and academic medical centers in Brazil, are currently visiting to continue discussions with Case Western Reserve University and formalize an agreement on various programmatic interactions. One aspect of this formal agreement will bring funded students from Brazil to train and complete graduate degrees at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine laboratories. Dr. Walsh encouraged Leadership Council members to attend a workshop with these leaders on Monday, October 21.


Leadership Council
Dr. Walsh announced that he, along with Cliff Megerian, MD, Warren Selman, MD, and Todd Zeiger, MD, have been appointed as the faculty representatives to the Executive Committee of the Univeristy Hospitals Health System.

Leadership Council

Dr. Bonomo gave an update of the recent grant awards at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. The General Internal Medicine Section received funding for a collaborative project entitled "Allies for Better Care in PACT: ABC PACT." This four-year, $3-million project will support the development, implementation and evaluation of the intensive management teams for high-risk patients in the outpatient setting. Brook Watts, MD, Scott Ober, MD, and Phyllis Nsiah-Kumi, MD, will champion this program, with leadership support from Section Chief Sarah Augustine, MD, and Acting Outpatient Clinic Director, Mamta Singh, MD. Dr. Bonomo also announced that Gary Rosenthal, MD, will be visiting the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center on November 13 and 14. Dr. Rosenthal is the former President of Society of General Internal Medicine and Professor of Medicine at Iowa (head of the CSTC at Iowa).


Leadership Council

Dr. Armitage reviewed data for Intern Recruitment which begins in two weeks. He also provided Division Chiefs with the names of faculty members who are currently scheduled to interview intern applicants. Dr. Walsh asked that leadership encourage their faculty to participate in this important process.

5Dr. Armitage outlined information on the Harrington Physician-Scientist Pathway (HPSP). There will be two interview dates for the HPSP, Saturday, December 7, 2013 and January 11, 2014.

Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh and Mr. Creighton distributed EPSI (hospital) financial data, YTD June 2013 for the Department of Medicine and also divisional data. In addition, they reviewed RVU Percentile vs. Compensation Percentile by department and division.


Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh reviewed with council members the plans for Healthspan physicians who are joining the Department of Medicine with privileges primarily at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center.

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.