By Monica Kraft, MD | Chair, Department of Medicine, UA College of Medicine – Tucson
It’s been an exciting year in the Department of Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson with a number of major accomplishments to our credit.
Among these, we have welcomed a slew of new physician and research faculty across our 13—now 14 (see below)—divisions, including new division chiefs and interim chiefs, which I detail further down.
While reading, bear in mind that so much has been accomplished in the last year that I could not acknowledge everything and everyone in this short space. Refer to our website’s DOM News archive, Feature Spotlights, Top Docs in the News or past issues of The Pulse, our monthly e-newsletter, for more.
Kudos go out to everyone on our team, including faculty, physicians, investigators and support staff. The past year was great. Let’s make 2017 better!
VICE CHAIR NEWS
In DOM leadership, we had a lot of changes among our vice chairs to celebrate:
- Tammy Clark Ojo, MD, replaced Gordon Carr, MD, who was appointed chief medical officer for our primary clinical partner, Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and South, as Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs. She was new this spring coming to the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine (PACCS) from the University of Michigan.
- Phil Factor, MD, accepted the role as Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs in addition to his post as Vice Chair for Quality and Safety. Dr. Factor also was chosen chief-of-staff-elect of the Medical Executive Board for Banner UMC Tucson and also serves as chair for the hospital’s Critical Care Committee and co-chair of the Readmission Reduction Task Force and Bioethics Committees.
- Our Vice Chair for Research, cardiologist Jil Tardiff, MD, PhD, helped launch several new initiatives and events, including a Fellows Retreat, the monthly DOM Research Seminar Series, the upcoming inaugural PI Poster Sessions (Jan. 17, 2017, in Kiewit Auditorium) and grant review and incentive programs for junior faculty. She also assisted with the first CDA Research Symposium last summer and oversaw development of a new Research section for our website.
- Vice Chair of Education and PACCS Division Chief Ken Knox, MD, and Lu Martinez, PhD, DOM education director, both left for promotions as associate and assistant dean respectively of Faculty Affairs and Development at COM – Phoenix. Laura Meinke, MD, director, UA Internal Medicine Residency Program – Tucson Campus, will head up the VCOE Office on an interim basis. Sleep Medicine Program’s Sai Parthasarathy, MD, accepted the interim role as PACCS division chief.
Additional news in Education includes the Physician Scientist Track added for our residency programs and work toward developing a Primary Care Track in Internal Medicine as well as the proposed merger of the Internal Medicine Residency Programs at the Tucson and South Campuses.
Highlights in the Division of Cardiology, which operates largely through the UA Sarver Hearth Center, include recruitment of Jen Cook, MD, from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, for heart failure and Matt Hutchinson, MD, from the University of Pennsylvania to expand the Cardiac Electrophysiology Program (EP). We’ve continued developing the cardiovascular service line in coordination with Department of Surgery and Banner Health. We are recruiting three community clinicians to feed heart failure and EP.
Hematology & Oncology
Julie Bauman, MD, MPH, was recruited last summer from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute as chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, starting in September.
Among other 2016 recruits, Daruka Mahadevan, MD, PhD, new director of the UA Cancer Center's Phase I Clinical Trials Program and Experimental Therapeutics co-director, arrived January, and Hani Babiker, MD, a junior Phase I trialist, arrived in September as associate director of the Phase I Program; Monte Shaheen, MD, arrived from the University of New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque, to lead the Melanoma Program. They are all UA faculty on tenure track.
Clinical recruits include Aaron Scott, MD, from the University of Colorado (GI Oncology); Sima Ehsani Chimeh, MD, from the University of Wisconsnin (Breast Cancer), Srinath Sundararajan, MD, former UA fellow (Melanoma); and Simran Sindhu, MD, former UA fellow (General Oncology).
Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Steve Goldschmid, MD, was appointed interim division chief to replace Bhaskar Banerjee, MD, who stepped down to pursue multiple research interests he has that are ongoing with commercialization efforts through Tech Launch Arizona and other ventures.
GI has benefited clinically from significant investment by Banner – UMC in Endoscopy Lab operations.
Academically, the division also participated through its affiliation with the UA Liver Research Institute in a joint accreditation program to allow GI fellows from the University of Nevada – Reno’s Las Vegas campus to complete their clinical training at Banner – UMC Tucson as the Las Vegas campus lacks a liver transplant program. This was overseen by Tom Boyer, MD, and Archita Desai, MD.
As head of our Sleep Medicine Program, Dr. Parthasarathy—interim division chief—launched the new UA Health Sciences Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences as a spinoff from the Arizona Respiratory Center, which was renamed this year as the UAHS Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center. The center includes four research labs and held an open house in early December.
Dr. Clark Ojo, started in May 2016 as medical director for the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program.
UA fellow Bhupinder Natt, MBBS, was recruited as director, Medical ICU – South Campus, and Christian Bime, MD, named director, Medical ICU – Tucson Campus, while Sachin Chaudhary, MBBS, was named director, Interstitial Lung Disease Program—all three clinical posts previously held by Dr. Gordon.
Additional recruits include—announced here, but look for a media release soon—Gene Bleecker, MD, and Deb Myers, PhD, (pictured right) from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., as part of the UA team working on the White House Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program, i.e., All of Us℠ Research Program. They’ll head up as co-chiefs a new division, the Division of Genetics, Genomics and Precision Medicine, within the Department of Medicine; and be co-directors of a new Division of Phamacogenomics within the UA Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine as well as tenured professors of medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.
Recruited to the UA with them are several staff and colleagues. Among those are Xingnan Li, PhD, from Wake Forest who’ll start after the New Year.
Lastly, pulmonologists and critical care members of the Lung Transplant Program team celebrated the successful recertification of the program by CMS—the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—in October. Congratulations!
Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism
We recruited new division chief, Larry Mandarino, PhD, who is also director of the UAHS Center for Disparities in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. Dr. Mandarino, who arrived in April from Arizona State University, launched a new Endocrinology Grand Rounds lecture series in October that’s also open to the public. Craig Stump, MD, PhD, has stayed on as clinical chief for the division. Two clinical recruits are under way as well.
Noted Type 2 diabetes expert David Marrero, PhD, also was recruited by UA Health Sciences as director of the new UAHS Center for Border Health. He previously was director of the Diabetes Translational Research Center at Indiana University.
We recruited a new division chief, Elizabeth Connick, MD, who arrived in April 2016 from the University of Colorado – Denver. A renowned HIV physician-scientist, Dr. Connick hired Lori Fantry, MD, MPH, from the University of Maryland Institute of Human Virology as director of our HIV Translational Research Program and medical director of our Refugee Clinic. Another recruit Fariba M. Donovan, MD, PhD, with Intercoastal Medical Group in Bradenton, Fla., starts in March. Dr. Connick also is in the process of recruiting a clinical service chief and transplant ID recruit. Former division chief, Stephen Klotz, MD, continues his research related to kissing bugs and Chagas disease, binding of certain ameloid P components in fungi (such as those related to candidiasis which causes thrush and yeast infections, among others), and frailty and HIV. Meanwhile, the UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence—affiliated with the division and led by John Galgiani, MD—celebrated its 20th anniversary with a newly redesigned website and a UANews media resources webpage designed to marshal attention from Dr. Galgiani's role as principal author of new clinical treatment guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America as well as Congressional attention and additional funding due to clinical trials and related research into a vaccine.
Former UA Rheumatology fellow Shariq Chudhri, MD, started as a clinical assistant professor on Sept. 1. Other recruits for the year were Sabina Mian, MD, and Charles Ratzlaff, PhD.
There were several recruits in 2016 for the Division of Geriatrics, General Internal Medicine (GIM) and Palliative Medicine—also known as GGP. Chief Mindy Fain, MD, has collaborated on a primary care recruitment strategy with UA Family & Community Medicine Chair Myra Muramoto, MD, and Banner – UMC.
Among new physicians recruited are Serena Scott, MD, a UA Reynolds Scholar in Applied Geriatrics from the University of Colorado (GIM); Elle Ross, DO, PhD, from Sierra Vista’s Canyon Vista Medical Center (GIM and Endocrinology); Corinne Self, MD (Geriatrics), Carlos Tafich, MD (GIM), and Razan El Ramahi, MD (GIM).
Starting in February 2017 will be Catherine B. Johnston, MD, a geriatrician from PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash., who spent 16 years on the faculty at UCSF, where she was a geriatrics fellowship program director and principal investigator on a Donald W. Reynolds Aging & Quality of Life grant.
We successfully retained Clara Curiel-Lewandroski, MD, who is director of the Multidisciplinary Cutaneous Oncology Program and Pigmented Lesion Clinic at the UA Skin Cancer Institute.
Division Chief Prabir Roy-Chaudhury, MD, who arrived July 2015 with two new transplant nephrologists signed that year, recruited a few new staff in 2016. These include, on the clinical side, Chyi Chyi Chong, MBBS, from Louisiana State University – Shreveport, and Hannah Tiu, MBBS, from the University of Michigan. Another clinical recruit, Sangeetha Murugapandian, MBBS, a previous UA nephrology fellow who just finished a geriatrics fellowship at the University of Louisville, is expected to start soon, splitting her time between nephrology and geriatrics.
On the research side, world-renowned physician-scientist and nephrologist Lolu Ojo, MD, MPH, PhD (husband to Dr. Clark Ojo), was recruited from the University of Michigan in February. He is the lead principal investigator on the PMI effort and associate vice president of Clinical Research and Global Health Initiatives at the UA Health Sciences.
Another recruit was Janda Jaroslav, PhD, who moved over from the UA Cancer Center as part of the Kidney and Vascular Access Research Program team. Frank “Chip” Brosius, MD, starts in January from the University of Michigan, as a tenured professor who’ll split his time between clinical, research and teaching duties.
The division recently celebrated a record 100-plus kidney transplants in 2016. Awesome job, everybody!
Translational & Regenerative Medicine
As pointed out earlier this year, perhaps no division has seen greater growth in the past 18 months than this one—led by Jason X.-J. Yuan, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and physiology and UA Health Sciences associate vice president for Translational Health Sciences. It focuses on a rapidly growing discipline in biomedical research that aims to expedite discovery of new diagnostic tools and treatments employing a multi-disciplinary, highly collaborative, "bench-to-bedside" approach to that end.
This group not only works across many different platforms in the various UA Health Sciences colleges, but centers and institutes as well—with a particularly close relationship with the UAHS Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics, led by Yves Lussier, MD, FAMCI, a professor of medicine, associate director of informatics at the BIO5 Institute and UA Cancer Center, and UAHS associate vice president/chief knowledge officer.
Among new recruits in 2016 include Anup Srivistava, PhD, Jennifer Carew, PhD, Eric Knudsen, PhD, Steffan Nawrocki, PhD, P. Fernando Teran Arce, PhD, and Jian Wang, PhD. Additionally, bioinformatics recruits include Jung-Wei Fan, PhD, Joanne Berghout, PhD, and Manuel Gonzales-Garay, PhD.
As well as the many articles published by researchers in this division (click here and here), a key achievement for this group was the inaugural "UAHS Career Development Award Research Symposium, June 8" as well as the "‘Tomorrow’s Cures Today,’ Inaugural Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine Symposium, Jan. 30" event.
“Noted Type 2 Diabetes Expert Dr. David G. Marrero to Lead New UA Health Sciences Center for Border Health” | POSTED: Oct. 10, 2016
“Thirty New Faculty Begin UA Careers in Department of Medicine since July 1” | POSTED: Sept. 29, 2016
“New Chief of Hematology and Oncology at UA Health Sciences, a Noted Head and Neck Cancer Specialist, Looks Forward to ‘Homecoming’” | POSTED: Aug. 29, 2016
“Host of New Department of Medicine Hires Named, More to Come” | POSTED: June 9, 2016
“Dr. Lawrence J. Mandarino to Head new UA Center for Disparities in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism” | POSTED: April 12, 2016
“UA Health Sciences Appoints Noted Health Leader Dr. Akinlolu O. Ojo as Associate Vice President for Clinical Research and Global Health Initiatives” | POSTED: Feb. 2, 2016
“New UA Chief of Infectious Diseases Has Long History of Novel Research into HIV, AIDS Prevention” | POSTED: Jan. 20, 2016