News : 2016

Barbara Ronda, M.H.S.A.

Barbara Ronda Named to Board of Directors of Health Foundation of South Florida

Barbara Ronda, M.H.S.A., Associate Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Health Foundation of South Florida. She joins three University of Miami Miller School of Medicine faculty members already on the board.

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Michael Freundlich, M.D.

Researchers Uncover Mechanism for Vitamin D-Mediated Cardio-Protection in Kidney Insufficiency

Miller School of Medicine researchers have found that abnormal vitamin D status and elevated levels of the hormone FGF23 contribute to cardiac hypertrophy — a thickening of the heart muscle that may result in a decrease in size of the chamber of the heart and affect cardiac performance — in patients with chronic kidney disease.

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Joshua M. Hare, M.D.

Dr. Joshua M. Hare Leads Miller School Participants at World Stem Cell Summit

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine made a splash at the prestigious 12th Annual World Stem Cell Summit (WSCS), with high-profile participation from the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) and physicians and researchers from other departments.

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From left, Camillo Ricordi, M.D., receives the Advocacy Award from Bernard Siegel, founder and Chairman of the World Stem Cell Summit.

DRI Director Dr. Camillo Ricordi Receives Advocacy Award

Camillo Ricordi, M.D., Director of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, received the World Stem Cell Summit’s Advocacy Award for being “a path-finding diabetes researcher, motivating the biomedical community to take a stand for cures.” He accepted the award on December 7 during the annual Stem Cell Action Gala at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

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From left, Dawn Comstock, Ph.D., Jordan D. Stillman, and Zachary Kerr, Ph.D., of the APHA Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section.

M.D./M.P.H. Students Earn National Public Health Research Awards

Two University of Miami Miller School of Medicine M.D./M.P.H. students received national awards at the 2016 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition in Denver. Jordan D. Stillman, a second-year M.D./M.P.H. student, won the best Student Poster Presentation Award by the American Public Health Association (APHA) Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section.

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Medical and Nursing Students Host Depression Screening Event

Rates of depression are higher among medical students than in the general population, and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has made changing that a top priority. Medical student leaders worked with students from the School of Nursing and Health Studies to host a depression screening and information event at the Miller School this month.

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From left, Daniel Ferraresi, Eliana C. Martinez, M.D., Ph.D., Judy Schaechter, M.D., MBA, Emmalee S. Bandstra, M.D., Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., Jon Batchelor, Sandy Batchelor, Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Dr. Emmalee S. Bandstra Honored with 2016 Micah Batchelor Award

Renowned for her expertise in perinatal substance abuse, Emmalee S. Bandstra, M.D., recently received the prestigious 2016 Micah Batchelor Award for Excellence in Children’s Health Research. The award was presented November 8 during a ceremony at the Batchelor Children’s Research Institute before Batchelor family members and trustees of the Batchelor Family Foundation, UM and Miller School of Medicine leadership.

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

Dr. Alessia Fornoni Named Chief of Division of Nephrology and Hypertension

Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, and molecular and cellular pharmacology, Co-Director of Novel Methods for the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and Associate Director of the M.D./Ph.D. Program, has been named Chief of the Department of Medicine’s Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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The pilot needle exchange program, the IDEA Exchange named after the Infectious Disease Elimination Act, is just one area where University of Miami health officials have been working to find a cure and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

New Needle Exchange Program Launches on World AIDS Day

For years, while a student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Hansel Tookes fought the Florida legislature to pass the first law in the state that would allow drug users to exchange used needles for clean ones in an effort to combat HIV transmission among at-risk groups.

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Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute Wins PACT Contract from NIH

The Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) has been awarded a prestigious contract for the Production Assistance for Cellular Therapies (PACT) – Cell Processing Facilities from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. ISCI was selected from the country’s most qualified applicants, and will play a key role in the manufacturing of stem cells and in furthering stem cell research in the U.S.

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From left, Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Hilit Mechaber, M.D., Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Judy Fogel, Bernard J. Fogel, M.D., and Steven M. Altschuler, M.D.

Dr. Alex J. Mechaber Installed as the Dr. Bernard J. Fogel Endowed Chair

In a ceremony that celebrated several generations of University of Miami Miller School of Medicine alumni, Alex J. Mechaber, M.D. ’94, professor of medicine and senior associate dean for undergraduate medical education, was formally installed as the Dr. Bernard J. Fogel Endowed Chair for his 18 years of outstanding service.

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Sonjia Kenya, Ed.D., M.S., M.A.

Elton John AIDS Foundation Funds Miller School Project to Increase HIV Testing in South Florida

Sonjia Kenya, Ed.D., M.S., M.A., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine in the Department of Medicine, has been awarded $200,000 by the Elton John AIDS Foundation to adapt and implement a promising strategy to increase HIV testing rates among blacks in South Florida, a community with one of highest rates of HIV infection in the U.S.

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Maria T. Abreu, M.D.

Dr. Maria T. Abreu Receives Minority Digestive Health Award

Maria T. Abreu, M.D., professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and Chief of the Gastroenterology Division, has been named the 2016 recipient of the American College of Gastroenterology’s Minority Digestive Health Care Award. The award recognizes physicians who have improved the digestive health of minorities and other underserved populations in the United States through their research or clinical practices.

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Mehdi Mirsaeidi, M.D., M.P.H.

Researchers Document Links between Climate Change and Outbreaks of Respiratory Illnesses

Researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have conducted an historical study of the relationship between climate change and outbreaks of respiratory illnesses worldwide. Their documented findings, published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, indicate a strong, parallel relationship between the two events.

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From left, Bruce Kirsch with Eduardo J. de Marchena, M.D.

Cardiologists Seek Low-Risk Subjects for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Trials

A team of cardiology researchers led by Eduardo J. de Marchena, M.D., professor of medicine and surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is seeking low-risk subjects for the next phase of an ongoing series of trials comparing the outcomes of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) versus conventional open-heart surgery. In prior trials, TAVR produced equivalent or superior patient outcomes.

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From left, Bart Roep, M.D., Ph.D., Camillo Ricordi, M.D., Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., MACP, Alberto Pugliese, M.D., President Julio Frenk, Joshua Rednik and Valentina Pugliese (seated).

Dr. Alberto Pugliese Celebrated as Inaugural Holder of the Dodson Chair in Diabetes Research

Alberto Pugliese, M.D., a world-renowned researcher in diabetes and immunogenetics at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was presented with the J. Enloe and Eugenia J. Dodson Chair in Diabetes Research. Pugliese, professor of medicine, and microbiology and immunology, and Deputy Director for Immune Tolerance Research at the DRI, is the first holder of the chair.

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Camillo Ricordi, M.D.

Researchers Develop Procedure for Standardized Pancreatic Islet Cell Production at Multiple Sites

The Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, in a collaborative study with seven other institutions around the world, has demonstrated the feasibility of large-scale production of pancreatic islet cells by multiple manufacturing sites using a standardized process. Their report was published as the cover story in the November issue of Diabetes.

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The Miller School of Medicine Class of 2020.

Miller School’s First-Year Class is Most Diverse Ever

Diversity is the hallmark of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s first-year class of 2020. “Our incoming ‘class with perfect vision’ is the most diverse in our school’s history,” said Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Bernard J. Fogel Chair in Medical Education, Professor of Medicine, and Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education.

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From left, top row, Eduardo Lopez, M.D., Karina Jordan, M.D., Opal Prevatt, M.D., and Cody Adkinson, M.D. From left, bottom row, Joan E. St. Onge, M.D., Lisa C. Martinez, M.D., and Stacy Rubin, M.D.

Dr. Lisa C. Martinez Named ‘Hispanic Woman of Distinction’

Lisa C. Martinez, M.D., a medical education leader at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been honored as a “Hispanic Woman of Distinction.” She was one of a dozen South Florida women to receive the recognition during the 15th anniversary celebration for Hispanic Women of Distinction, a Broward County nonprofit organization.

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Gordon Center and Bascom Palmer staffers discuss an emergency response training exercise.

Gordon Center Helps Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Lead the Way in Responding to Emergencies

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute/Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital is improving patient safety through ongoing staff training in responding to medical emergencies. With support from the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, Bascom Palmer has initiated the Rapid Response Team, First Five Minutes training, and critical event learning simulations.

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From left, Lina Shehadeh, Ph.D., Ashutosh Agarwal, Ph.D., Jae K. Lee, Ph.D., and Emmanuel Thomas, M.D., Ph.D.

Request for Applications for Internal Competition to Attend Eureka Institute Certificate Program

The Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is requesting applications for an internal competition to sponsor up to four faculty to attend the Eureka Institute 9th International Certificate Program in Translational Medicine, April 23-29 in Siracusa, Italy.

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Jamie S. Barkin, M.D.

National Pancreas Foundation Recognizes Excellence of Sylvester’s Pancreas Center

The National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) has designated the Pancreas Center at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as one of 28 NPF centers nationwide for treatment and care for patients with pancreatic cancer.

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Lina Shehadeh, Ph.D.

Miller School Cardiology Researcher Receives Federal Grant to Study Signaling in Heart Failure

A cardiology researcher at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has been awarded a $400,000 high-priority grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health to study cardiac signaling in heart failure.

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Jaime R. Merchan, M.D.

First Patient in New Metastatic Cancer Clinical Trial Enrolled at Sylvester

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, together with Tocagen Inc., a clinical-stage, cancer-selective immunotherapy company, recently enrolled the first patient in a new Phase 1 clinical trial for metastatic cancers.

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From left, Roy E. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., with Romero Britto.

Romero Britto Unveils Colorful ‘Thyroid’ at Department of Medicine Reception

With the pull of a black drape, internationally renowned artist Romero Britto unveiled his gratitude to the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine with a colorful tribute to a vital part of the human body. The painting called “Thyroid” was introduced at a reception September 16 at Britto’s newest gallery on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

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From left, Ana M. Palacio, M.D., M.P., and Leonardo J. Tamariz, M.D., M.P.H.

Study: Physician-Led Point of Care Medication Delivery Significantly Improves Medication Adherence

Medication adherence is a significant barrier to the delivery of quality health services, particularly among minority populations and the elderly. But a new study led by clinical researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found that adherence increased 17 to 29 percent when physicians delivered glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol-lowering medications to diabetic patients at the point of care.

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Marilyn K. Glassberg, M.D., speaking at the Vatican.

Dr. Marilyn K. Glassberg Presents Research Findings at Vatican Stem Cell Conference

When Marilyn K. Glassberg, M.D., professor of medicine, surgery and pediatrics, spoke at an international conference held at the Vatican, she delivered a moving account of the promising early results obtained by investigators at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in a small clinical trial that explored stem cell treatment in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

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From left, Maria Alejandra Quintero, M.P.H., Jacob McCauley, Ph.D., Oriana M. Damas, M.D., and Maria T. Abreu, M.D.

Miller School Researchers to Collaborate in Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Hispanics

A team of Miller School of Medicine researchers has been awarded a $1.26 million grant to explore genetic variation in U.S.-born and foreign-born Hispanic patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The project will build upon the existing interdisciplinary IBD clinical and genomics research collaborative at the Miller School.

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Heidi Allespach, Ph.D., left, and Erin N. Marcus, M.D.

Miller School Professors Publish Practical Approach to Guiding Residents in Patient Interactions

Over the course of 18 years, Heidi Allespach, Ph.D., associate professor of clinical family medicine, medicine and surgery, and Director of Behavioral Medicine, identified specific patterns in the interactions between new doctors and their patients. In particular, she saw how the relationships were strained by persistent paperwork, electronic medical records and obstacles to delivery of care by insurance carriers.

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Marilyn K. Glassberg, M.D., speaking at the Vatican.

Dr. Marilyn K. Glassberg Presents Research Findings at Vatican Stem Cell Conference

When Marilyn K. Glassberg, M.D., professor of medicine, surgery and pediatrics, spoke at an international conference held at the Vatican, she delivered a moving account of the promising early results obtained by investigators at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in a small clinical trial that explored stem cell treatment in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

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From left, Robert J. Myerburg, M.D., Nish Patel, M.D., and Mauricio G. Cohen, M.D.

Cardiology Researchers Find Upward Trends in Interventions and Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates

Cardiovascular researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have found a nationwide increase in the use of cardiac diagnostic and interventional procedures in patients hospitalized after being resuscitated from a cardiac arrest in the community. Their study also found a significant overall improvement in survival rates.

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Christine L. Curry, M.D., Ph.D., speaking to Miami Beach City Commissioners about the Zika virus threat.

Miller School Clinicians and Researchers Urge Proactive Approach to Controlling Zika Virus

Controlling the mosquito-borne Zika virus must continue to be a public health priority for South Florida, according to several University of Miami Miller School of Medicine clinicians and researchers who spoke on September 14 at a public hearing held by the Miami Beach City Commission.

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From left, John C. Beier, Sc.D., David Watkins, Ph.D., Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., President Julio Frenk, Christine L. Curry, M.D., Ph.D., Ivan A. Gonzalez, M.D., and Paola N. Lichtenberger, M.D.

Expert Panel Discusses Variety of Responses by UM to Zika Virus Challenge

At a Zika symposium hosted by the University of Miami, the Miller School of Medicine, and UHealth – the University of Miami Health System today, UM President Julio Frenk called on Congress to approve emergency federal funding for Zika research, treatment and monitoring.

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Mauricio G. Cohen, M.D.

UHealth Cardiologist Says High-Risk Coronary Artery Disease Patients Need Specialized Teams

While advances in interventional cardiology have made it possible to treat a growing number of high-risk patients with severe coronary artery disease, these complex procedures should be done by a team of well-trained dedicated specialists, according to a recent white paper in the medical journal Circulation.

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Front row, from left, Indhira De La Cruz, M.D., Wen Ding, Alexis Sloan, Ph.D., Daniel Watford, M.D., and Camilo Cortesi, M.D. Back row, from left, Viral Patel Lina Shehadeh, Ph.D., Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D., Adela Mattiazzi, M.D., and Chavez Efren, M.D.

Seven Miller School Trainees Recognized for Kidney Research

Four residents, two doctoral candidates, and one medical student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have been recognized by the American Society for Nephrology (ASN) for their kidney research. All seven have been invited to submit their abstracts at the American Society of Nephrology’s annual meeting, “Kidney Week 2016,” to be held November 15-20 in Chicago.

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Women’s Cancers in the Americas: Strategies for Synergy, October 5-6

On October 5 (full day) and October 6 (half day), Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Miami Institute for the Americas will hold a conference, “Women’s Cancers in the Americas: Strategies for Synergy,” at the University of Miami’s Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life.

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Register Now for Miami Valves 2016, October 6-8

Miami Valves 2016 will be held October 6-8 at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. The conference will showcase the latest systems, techniques and practices to ensure safe and effective transcatheter valve replacement, and is the natural progression of the University of Miami’s Masters in Repair of Structural Heart Disease Conference, which has a long history of professional educational excellence.

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Matthew Wynia, M.D., M.P.H.

Preeminent Bioethics Scholar to Speak at Department of Medicine Grand Rounds

Matthew Wynia, M.D., M.P.H., a preeminent bioethics scholar, will be the second speaker in the Department of Medicine’s Medical Grand Rounds series on Wednesday, September 14. He will deliver a presentation on the role of doctors during the Holocaust entitled, “How Healers Became Killers: Nazi Doctors and Modern Medical Ethics.”

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Robert C. Gallo, M.D.

World-Renowned Physician-Scientists Open Department of Medicine Grand Rounds Series

The Department of Medicine opens its season of weekly, noontime Medical Grand Rounds with lectures by two world-renowned physician-scientists, beginning on Wednesday, September 7, with Robert C. Gallo, M.D., best known for his role in the discovery of HIV and development of the blood test for the infection. He will present a seminar entitled, “A Journey with Blood Cells and Viruses and the Global Virus Network for the Future.”

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Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., has developed a quick and inexpensive diagnostic blood test for Zika.

Zeroing in on Zika

Mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus appeared in South Florida just recently, but UHealth physicians are already busy counseling prospective parents and treating pregnant women, and UM scientists are working overtime to bring diagnostic and therapeutic responses from the laboratory to the clinic — some possibly by the end of this year.

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Thomas Curtis.

Thomas Curtis Remembered as Outstanding Philanthropist, Visionary and Friend

Thomas 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. Over a span of nearly 35 years, he donated more than $4 million to various initiatives at UM.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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From left, Oddone Braghiroli, M.D., and Joao Braghiroli, M.D.

Brazilian Brothers on UHealth Team Close Out Rio Games

Joao Braghiroli, M.D., and Oddone Braghiroli, M.D., just had the best family reunion ever. Born in Salvador, Brazil, the brothers reunited in Rio de Janeiro as medical volunteers for the Olympics. When not hard at work, they made the most of their time in Rio, because they knew they’d soon find themselves on different continents.

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

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 within the kidney can lead to chronic kidney disease.

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Savita Pahwa, M.D.

Miller School Researcher Leading International Study on HIV Infections in Infants

Savita Pahwa, M.D., a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researcher, is leading a collaborative international study on HIV infections in infants and older children in search of new insights that could point to a cure for the worldwide epidemic.

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Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D.

Dr. Krishna V. Komanduri Named President-Elect of Transplantation Society

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, has announced that Krishna V. Komanduri, M.D., Director of the Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program and Kalish Family Chair in Stem Cell Transplantation, was recently named President-Elect of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT).

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Neil Schneiderman, Ph.D.

Dr. Neil Schneiderman Given Lifetime Achievement Award by Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research

The office walls of Neil Schneiderman, Ph.D., are far from bare; the objects displayed on them range from plaques of past academic achievements to vintage snapshots of South Florida and his younger self in the 1960s. Most recently, Schneiderman added another accolade to the wall behind his desk — a 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research.

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Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., and Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Innovative Community-Based Health Screening Initiative Prepared for Launch

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and other units of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine are collaborating in the launch of an innovative health initiative to screen hard-to-reach populations in Miami-Dade County for multiple conditions and help them connect with appropriate care.

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Daniel J. Feaster, Ph.D.

UM Study in JAMA: Patient Navigation, Even with Financial Incentives, Does Not Improve HIV Outcomes

A large study by researchers from 14 institutions, including the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has found that a short-term structured patient-navigation intervention, even with financial incentives, shows no long-term improvement in HIV viral suppression when compared with conventional treatment for substance-abusing HIV patients who require hospitalization.

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Ivette Motola, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Ivette Motola Named Assistant Director of Gordon Center

Ivette Motola, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Emergency Medicine and Director of Simulation Education for the UM-Jackson Memorial Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency Program, has been named Assistant Director of the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., seated at center, at the congressional briefing.

UM’s Chief of Infectious Diseases Speaks about Zika Threat at Congressional Briefing

Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., Chief of Infectious Diseases and professor of medicine at the Miller School of Medicine, spoke about the Zika virus threat at a recent briefing held by the Florida congressional delegation in Washington. Stevenson shed light on the limited knowledge base researchers currently have on Zika and the need for academic research funding.

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Roy E. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.

NIH Awards $11.6 Million Grant for New Center to Study Precision Medicine and Health Disparities

Researchers at the University of Miami, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College have been awarded a five-year, $11.6 million grant to launch a new center that will enable research using approaches to precision medicine to eradicate health disparities, specifically those among African Americans and Latinos.

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Camillo Ricordi, M.D.

First Type 1 Diabetes Patient in Europe is Free from Insulin Therapy after BioHub Transplant

A 41-year-old man who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11 has become the first patient in Europe to discontinue insulin therapy after receiving a transplant of pancreatic islet cells using an innovative technique developed by the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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At right, Stephen Martell, E.M.T.-P., a core instructor at the Gordon Center, takes students through a simulation scenario involving exposure to a vesicant, or blistering agent.

Gordon Center Conducts Terrorism-Response Training for Miller School Students

Delivering emergency care to victims of a terrorist attack is a challenging task, especially if chemical or biological weapons are involved. To help University of Miami Miller School of Medicine students gain a firsthand understanding of that experience, the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education recently completed a training program called Personal Protective Equipment/Emergency Response to Terrorism.

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Dileep R. Yavagal, M.D.

UM Neurologists and Neurointerventionalists Revolutionize Standard of Care for Acute Ischemic Stroke

When treating a patient experiencing an acute ischemic stroke, time is the enemy. The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology has one of the largest stroke centers in the country, and its physicians, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, were among the first to introduce a rapid new procedure known as mechanical thrombectomy in South Florida.

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Miller School Class of 2017 participants Linsey E. Lindley, Ph.D., left, with Seth Sankary.

Medical Education Conducts Skills Exercises for Third-Year Students

The University of Miami Hospital and Clinics welcomed 198 third-year Miller School of Medicine students from both the Miami and regional medical campuses for the 21st annual Objective Structured Clinical Examinations — a medical school rite of passage that tests the clinical skills of students. More than 100 faculty members served as evaluators in the annual assessment.

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Jeffrey Goldberger, M.D.

Dr. Jeffrey Goldberger Describes New Precision Therapies for Atrial Fibrillation at Lemberg Lecture

Jeffrey Goldberger, M.D., M.B.A., Chief of the Cardiovascular Division in the Department of Medicine at UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, is working on the development of new precision therapies that could dramatically improve the health outcomes of patients with A-fib. “We are developing potentially groundbreaking technologies,” said Goldberger, who is also a professor of medicine.

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Lazaros J. Lekakis, M.D.

Novel Immunotherapy Trial for Lymphoma Offers Hope to Patients at Sylvester

Researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine are testing a novel cellular immunotherapy approach to treating patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who have failed standard therapy. Sylvester is the first cancer center in South Florida to treat patients using this new approach.

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Ernesto A. Pretto, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., left, with Christopher A. Fraker, Ph.D.

Miller School Researchers Develop Revolutionary Anesthesia Formulation

An innovative anesthesia formulation developed by a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine research team could dramatically improve surgical care around the world. Unlike conventional anesthesia systems that vaporize liquid anesthetics into gas and then deliver it to the bloodstream through the lungs, the new formulation would allow this class of anesthetic drugs to be injected directly into the bloodstream.

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From left, Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Ana M. Palacio, M.D., M.P.H., Rose Van Zuilen, Ph.D., and S. Barry Issenberg, M.D.

Educational Development Office is Reorganized to Better Meet Faculty Needs and Fulfill Mission

The Educational Development Office (EDO) has been reorganized to better meet the needs of faculty at the Miller School of Medicine and fulfill its mission. The EDO is now led by Acting Co-Directors Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, and S. Barry Issenberg, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Research in Medical Education.

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Clerkship directors and coordinators from Miami and regional campuses held their annual retreat to discuss alignment of their programs with the Miller School's mission and objectives.

Clerkship Directors and Coordinators Hold Annual Joint Retreat

Directors and coordinators of the clinical clerkships on both the Miami and regional medical campuses met on May 20 for their annual retreat. The joint meeting is held each year to ensure that clerkships on both campuses are coordinated and aligned in delivering an excellent clinical education to University of Miami Miller School of Medicine students.

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Bahamian officials look on as Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., with Joshua M. Hare, M.D., at his left, signs the memorandum of understanding.

Miller School’s New Agreement with The Bahamas Will Advance Collaborative Initiatives

A new University of Miami Miller School of Medicine agreement with the government of The Bahamas provides the framework for collaborative initiatives in medical education, research, and clinical care, including stem cells and regenerative medicine. It also advances ongoing discussions about the possibility of establishing a new Miller School-supported medical school in The Bahamas.

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From left, Azita Hamedani, M.D., M.P.H., Elaine Van der Put, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., Luanne E. Thorndyke, M.D., Ivette Motola, M.D., M.P.H., Julio Frenk, Lilian Abbo, M.D., Nanette Vega and Teri Bump.

Women in Academic Medicine Symposium Focuses on Creating Leadership Skills and Career Advancement

The Women and Minority Leadership and Professional Development Symposium — a first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary event sponsored by the Miller School of Medicine’s Women in Academic Medicine (WIAM) organization — attracted more than 300 professionals on May 13 for a day of medical-career-oriented advice and inspiration at the University of Miami’s Shalala Student Center.

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From left, Neil Larson, Stuart Sacks, Enrique Aguilar, M.D., Joshua Jue and Zoltan Buchwald.

Medical Students Reach Out Through Operation: Veteran Engagement

In keeping with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s longstanding commitment to community service, a group of medical students has begun an initiative that reaches out to the senior veterans at the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. Their organization, Operation: Veteran Engagement (OVE), organizes weekly recreational activities at the Community Living Center at the Miami VA.

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Lynn G. Feun, M.D.

New Clinical Trial for Liver Cancer Patients at Sylvester

A new clinical trial for hepatocellular cancer, the most common form of liver cancer in the U.S., was recently launched at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System. The Phase II trial, led by Sylvester liver cancer specialist Lynn G. Feun, M.D., seeks to enroll hepatocellular cancer patients who have advanced, unresectable disease.

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Joshua D. Lenchus, D.O., R.Ph.

Dr. Joshua D. Lenchus Wins Award for Innovative Procedure Service

Joshua D. Lenchus, D.O., received a $10,000 award for an innovative medical education program leading to improved patient care and outcomes at the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions’ annual BAYADA Awards ceremony held on May 5. Lenchus received the award for a training program he developed known as The Procedure Service.

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Mario Stevenson, Ph.D.

HIV/AIDS Researchers and Clinicians Outline Recent Advances at 12th Annual Symposium

Advances in antiretroviral therapy are extending the lives of individuals with HIV/AIDS, but more work is needed to develop an effective vaccine against the virus. Both themes were emphasized by a distinguished roster of researchers, clinicians and community activists at the 12th annual symposium held by the Miami Center for AIDS Research that drew more than 200 attendees.

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Alex J. Mechaber, M.D.

Dr. Alex J. Mechaber Awarded the Dr. Bernard J. Fogel Chair in Medical Education

Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., professor of medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, has been awarded the Dr. Bernard J. Fogel Chair in Medical Education for his 18 years of outstanding service to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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2016 George Paff Teaching Award winners.

Medical Students Present 2016 Paff Teaching Awards to Outstanding Instructors

Warren Kupin, M.D., professor of medicine, was one of 18 outstanding Miller School of Medicine instructors honored by their students at the 2016 George Paff Teaching Awards Ceremony on April 28 at the University of Miami Hospital Seminar Center. Second-year students Shirin Razdan and Matthew Chen co-chaired the ceremony, assisted by Soum Lokeshwar, Sophia Liu and Catherine Lee.

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Robert J. Myerburg, M.D.

UHealth Cardiologist Sees Life-Saving Benefits in ECG Screening of Youth and College Athletes

Robert J. Myerburg, M.D., professor of medicine and physiology, and the American Heart Association Chair in Cardiovascular Research, has written a pair of journal articles supporting electrocardiographic (ECG) screening of college athletes and, in principle, screening of children and adolescents not involved in sports.

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Camillo Ricordi, M.D., left, and Rodolfo Alejandro, M.D.

Islet Transplantation Moves Toward an Approved Treatment for Severe Type 1 Diabetes

An unprecedented collaborative study across North America has found that islet transplantation was effective in preventing severe hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels, in the treatment of the most severe forms of type 1 diabetes. Eight centers including the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, participated in the trial.

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From left, Eugene Schiff, M.D., Laurence Sands, M.D., M.B.A., Kristin Podack, widow of Eckhard Podack, M.D., Ph.D., and Richard L. Williamson, Jr., J.D.

Senate Presents Highest Honors to Three Miller School Faculty Members

The Faculty Senate last week bestowed its highest honors on Laurence R. Sands, M.D., M.B.A., and Eugene R. Schiff, M.D., two pioneering physicians at the Miller School of Medicine. For the first time, the Senate also conferred a Special Senate Award posthumously, recognizing Eckhard Podack, M.D., Ph.D., the late researcher at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, for his life-saving discoveries.

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Fleta Netter Bray.

Miller School Student Wins First Prize in National Medical Essay Competition

Fleta Netter Bray, a fourth-year student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has won first prize in a national medical essay competition held annually by the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. The Melbourne Beach, Fla., native won top honors and a $2,000 cash award in the Helen H. Glaser Student Essay Contest, and is the first Miller School student ever to win a prize in the competition.

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Lilian M. Abbo, M.D.

Dr. Lilian M. Abbo Plays Key Role in Developing New Guidelines for Antibiotic Stewardship

Lilian M. Abbo, M.D., has co-authored new guidelines for antibiotic stewardship that are now available from the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Published online April 13 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the guidelines provide recommendations to ensure antibiotic stewardship programs are most effective in reducing the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

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From left, Jose Szapocznik, Ph.D., Thomas M. Hooton, M.D., Kenneth W. Goodman, Ph.D., Lillian Rivera, Ph.D., M.S.N., Administrator, Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade County, John Beier, Sc.D., Micheline McCarthy, M.D., Ph.D., Esper G. Kallas, M.D., Ph.D., Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., Raymond F. Schinazi, Ph.D., Ronald Desrosiers, M.D., Ph.D., Christine L. Curry, M.D., Ph.D., Glen N. Barber, Ph.D., David I. Watkins, Ph.D., Rafael E. Campo, M.D., and Anna Marie Likos, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection, Florida Department of Health.

Miller School Researchers Making Major Strides Against Zika Virus

Speaking at the Miller School’s “Zika Forum: State of the Science, Public Health Safety and Ethics,” Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., professor of medicine and Chief of Infectious Diseases, said, “We have a formidable team of virologists here who are up to the task of taking appropriate action against the virus.”

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Lilian Abbo, M.D., left, with Dayle Wilson, Assistant Dean of Students.

Women’s Commission Honors Dr. Lilian Abbo

For 45 years, the University of Miami Women’s Commission has been celebrating the contributions of women at the U and honoring the women — and men — who advocate for gender equality. At this year’s Women’s Commission Breakfast, the 2016 May A. Brunson Award, named in honor of the University’s second dean of women, was presented to Lilian Abbo, M.D., associate professor of clinical medicine.

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2nd Annual Eugene J. Sayfie Research Day

Thank you to all the participants of the 2nd Annual Department of Medicine Eugene J. Sayfie Research Day. The event was a huge success that allowed the research community to showcase the exciting research that is taking place in the Department of Medicine.

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Michael S. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., with Lynda Gordon.

Dr. Michael S. Gordon: A Visionary Educator, Clinician, Researcher and Philanthropist

Michael S. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., enjoys standing on the frontier of medical education and taking a bold step into the future. In his long and distinguished career at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Gordon has saved countless lives around the world with his innovative concepts and ability to guide generations of medical students, nurses, physicians, surgeons and emergency first-responders.

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From left, Eduardo Alfonso, M.D., Fahad Al-Rashid, Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid, Ph.D., UM President Julio Frenk, Ibrahim Al-Rashid, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and David Tse, M.D.

Dedication Ceremony Held for Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Orbital Vision Research Center

A dedication ceremony was held March 18 at the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Orbital Vision Research Center, formally welcoming the one-of-its-kind, interdisciplinary research center at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.

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Join the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk, April 17

UHealth Pulmonology invites everyone to join the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk taking place on historic Virginia Key Beach on Key Biscayne on April 17. Each year, the UM Pulmonology Team saves lives through treatment and research, and they are asking for your help to raise money for an amazing cause. Come out with friends and family for a 5K walk, beach party, live music, car show, kids’ activities and plenty of food.

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Juan Viles-Gonzalez, M.D.

National Study Finds Fewer Complications from Cardiac Ablation Procedure at High-Volume Facilities

Atrial flutter (AFL) ablation therapy is a growing front-line treatment for patients with certain types of irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias. However, a national study of nearly 90,000 procedures found that high-volume facilities have a lower rate of complications, according to Juan Viles-Gonzalez, M.D., assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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WIAM 2015-16 Advisory Board members: Back row, from left, Wen-Hsiang Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Ivette Motola, M.D., M.P.H., Lilian M. Abbo, M.D., Maria L. Alcaide, M.D., and Yvonne M. Diaz, M.D. Front row, from left, Anne E. Burdick, M.D., Ph.D., Rose Maria Van Zuilen, Ph.D., Michele I. Morris, M.D., Judi M. Woolger, M.D., and JoNell E. Potter, Ph.D.

Women in Academic Medicine Organization Supports Faculty Development

“This is a great time for women and minorities at the Miller School of Medicine,” said Lilian Abbo, M.D., President of Women in Academic Medicine (WIAM), an organization formed in 2008 with the mission of transforming the development, recruitment and retention of women faculty at the Miller School through education, networking and mentoring.

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Brian Deegan, Ph.D., left, with Sylvia Daunert, PharmD, M.S., Ph.D., in Daunert's lab.

Miller School of Medicine Achieves Significant Gains in NIH Research Grant Rankings

The Miller School of Medicine rose one position in the national rankings of medical schools based on research grants received from the National Institutes of Health during the 2015 federal fiscal year. That gain is significant, considering the ongoing reductions in NIH grants that have caused many medical schools to fall in the rankings.

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From left, entertainer Miguel Bosé, actress Belén Rueda, Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., Brigitte Boehm, MAC AIDS Fund, and Bonaventura Clotet, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Institute for AIDS Research IRSI Caixa.

Dr. Mario Stevenson Receives Award at AIDS Conference in Barcelona

Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., professor of medicine, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the HIV/AIDS Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, received the Barcelona AIDS Award in recognition of his lifetime of work fighting HIV/AIDS.

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Register for Zika Forum: State of the Science, Public Health Safety and Ethics, March 23

The Miller School of Medicine, the Division of Infectious Diseases, the Department of Public Health Sciences and UHealth – the University of Miami Health System will present Zika Forum: State of the Science, Public Health Safety and Ethics, on Wednesday, March 23, from 1 to 5 p.m., at the Donna E. Shalala Student Center, 1330 Miller Drive, on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus.

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Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi, M.D.

First Diabetes Summit, April 5-6

The Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes and the Diabetes Research Institute will host the First Diabetes Summit on April 5-6 on the Medical Campus. The purpose of the Summit is to bring together the diabetes research community across the University of Miami.

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Daniel M. Lichtstein, M.D.

Cardiology Fellowship Program Approved for UM Regional Campus in Palm Beach County

A new cardiology fellowship program will begin in July at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Regional Campus in Palm Beach County. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in January approved the cardiology fellowship, which will be offered by the University of Miami/JFK Medical Center Palm Beach Regional Graduate Medical Education Consortium.

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Gauri G. Agarwal, M.D.

Miller School Faculty Members Lead Certification Examination Preparatory Course

Several University of Miami Miller School of Medicine faculty members participated in the annual American College of Physicians Maintenance of Certification Examination Preparation course, which took place February 12-14 in Orlando.

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From left, Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Eduardo J. de Marchena, M.D., E. Robert Schwartz, M.D., students Daphne Papathomas and Joshua Kronenfeld, Arthur Hertz, Jeri Wolfson, students Angelica Melillo Knickerbocker, Roy Elias and Ashley Taggart, Raysa Christodoulou, Amar R. Deshpande, M.D., Janet Konefal, Ph.D., and Ali Habashi.

Wolfson Foundation Gifts Inspire and Challenge Medical Students

The Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation continues to focus on saving lives by supporting Miller School of Medicine students who provide health care to the underserved while gaining valuable learning experiences. Recently, checks representing a total of $609,000 in funding were presented to the Miller School of Medicine by Jeri Wolfson and Arthur Hertz, trustees of the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation.

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DCC riders leaving the starting gate. Photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins.

Dolphins Cancer Challenge Unites South Florida in Support of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

With tears in her eyes, Yatta Estelle Bright stood at the finish line of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) on Saturday, February 20, waiting for her friends to complete the 5K run/walk.“I lost my husband Etienne to brain cancer just a few months ago,” said Bright. “The doctors and staff at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center were wonderful, and I want to tell them how much that support meant to both of us.

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Mark A. Gelbard, M.D.

Dr. Mark A. Gelbard Named Miller School of Medicine’s First Applebaum Teaching Scholar

Mark A. Gelbard, M.D., associate professor of medicine, has been appointed as the first Miller School of Medicine Applebaum Teaching Scholar in recognition of his outstanding teaching contributions and key role as an educator. In this new role, Gelbard will add faculty development to his other educational responsibilities.

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Hermes J. Florez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

UHealth Faculty Member Promotes New Care Guidelines for Diabetes in Long-Term Care Facilities

A UHealth senior faculty member and diabetes researcher, collaborating with colleagues from several other institutions, all of whom are affiliated with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), recently developed guidelines to improve the management of diabetes in patients living in long-term care facilities. The ADA statement seeks to help diabetes clinicians reduce hypoglycemia in older adults,.

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MHRI Research Grants Awarded

Miami Heart Research Institute and Florida Heart Research Foundation awarded a research grant to the University of Miami, Department of Medicine for cardiovascular research studies over the next five years.

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Andrew V. Schally, Ph.D., M.D.h.c., D.Sc.h.c.

Miller School Researcher’s Peptide May Help Control High Levels of Lipids in Type 1 Diabetes

A peptide developed by Nobel Laureate Andrew V. Schally, Ph.D., M.D.hc (Multi), D.Sc., professor of pathology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, may help control unhealthy levels of lipids in type 1 diabetes.

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From left, Mehrdad Nadji, M.D., David Watkins, Ph.D., Sylvia Daunert, Pharm.D., M.S., Ph.D., Glen N. Barber, Ph.D., Sapna Deo, Ph.D., Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., and Ronald Desrosiers, Ph.D.

Miami CTSI Supports Collaborative Research Team to Study Zika Virus

As the Zika virus outbreak develops as a public health emergency, both internationally and for South Florida, David Watkins, Ph.D., professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Pathology, and a team of top Miller School researchers are rapidly working to develop better diagnostic tests and to understand the virus’s link to neurological complications such as microcephaly.

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Jeffrey Goldberger, M.D., M.B.A.

Up Close with Dr. Jeffrey Goldberger: ‘We Need People to Rally Around Heart Research’

Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine Jeffrey Goldberger, M.D., M.B.A., joined UHealth – the University of Miami Health System in November. He hails from Northwestern University, where he pioneered groundbreaking heart mapping and stroke prevention tools that he’s brought to UHealth to improve the health outcomes of patients with atrial fibrillation (A-fib).

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Kenneth W. Goodman, Ph.D., left, with Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.

Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy Celebrates Launch

When Kenneth W. Goodman, Ph.D., held a get-together in the Gordon Center’s Broad-Bussel Auditorium earlier this month to celebrate the launch of the Miller School of Medicine’s new Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, he attracted a large group of long-time supporters and collaborators, several of whom had come to the event from a variety of partner institutions throughout South Florida.

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From left, Sandra Chaparro, M.D., Carlos E. Alfonso, M.D., Robert C. Hendel, M.D., UM President Julio Frenk, Jeffrey Goldberger, M.D., Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., and Steven Falcone, M.D., M.B.A.

UHealth Hosts AHA Executive Leadership Team Kick-off Reception

Cardiovascular experts from UHealth – the University of Miami Health System gathered with UM President Julio Frenk at the Executive Leadership Team Kick-off Reception held at the Newman Alumni Center on Thursday, January 14. The event, attended by community leaders and business partners, officially marked the launch of the American Heart Association’s 2016 Miami-Dade Heart Walk.

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Miller School Launches Cultural Awareness Week

The Miller School of Medicine has launched its inaugural Cultural Awareness Week — a lunchtime lecture series sponsored by the Executive Student Government, hosted by the Hispanic American Medical Student Association and organized by second-year M.D./M.P.H. student Armando Alvarez. The purpose is to enrich the understanding of diversity, inclusion and cultural competence in medicine.

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Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi, M.D.

Enzyme Protects Insulin-Producing Cells against Chronic High Glucose

Miller School researcher Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi, M.D., has found that an enzyme called OGT (O-linked GlcNAc transferase) can protect insulin-producing beta cells against the damaging effects of chronic high glucose. The results of his laboratory study were published recently in the journal Cell Reports.

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Marc E. Lippman, M.D.

Breast Cancer Researcher Ready to Ride in DCC

Marc E. Lippman, M.D., is looking forward to riding in the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC), on Saturday, February 20, at Sun Life Stadium. As one of the nation’s leading breast cancer researchers, Lippman understands the importance of raising funds for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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