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Less than six months after the University of Rochester Medical Center announced a $40 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to establish a major new expansion in research and education, it was back in the limelight again, this time with the news of building what will become an "academic home" for the new Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).
"The new facility will establish the University as a national leader in clinical and translational science, and will spark growth in research and jobs here in Rochester," said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and director of the CTSI.
In October 2006, URMC was named one of a dozen leading academic medical centers to receive the NIH award. All 12 institutions are charged with one overarching purpose: to accelerate the transformation of medical breakthroughs into new ways to diagnose, treat, prevent, and cure diseases. URMC's CTSI will build the necessary infrastructure to streamline and coordinate all clinical and translational research efforts, including acquiring new technology, training personnel and developing other operational support systems.
Current plans call for construction to begin on the new 150,000-square-foot, four-story research and education building next year. It will be located adjacent to Helen Wood Hall in the area currently occupied by the south visitor parking lot off Crittenden Boulevard. The new facility will enable the University to bring together necessary scientific disciplines, support operations, education and training programs, and specific clinical research programs under one roof. It will not only serve as the academic home of clinical and translational research at the University, but as a hub for research being conducted elsewhere on campus and in collaboration with partners throughout Rochester and upstate New York.
Leadership is currently working on solutions to address both short- and long-term implications the facility will have on faculty, staff and patient parking (see sidebar below).
In addition to the new facility, it is expected that this new initiative will have a substantial regional economic impact. A report by the Center for Governmental Research has concluded that, by the end of five years, the immediate and catalytic impacts of the project will total nearly $30 million annually, will result in $43 million in labor income, the creation of approximately 550 permanent jobs at the University (including the hiring of 30 to 50 new clinical and research faculty), as well as hundreds of other support jobs. The building of the new facilities will create 830 construction jobs.
For more information on the CTSI, please visit www.urmc.rochester.edu/ctsi.
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry alumnus and former chairman and CEO of Aetna John Wallis "Jack" Rowe, M.D., has generously donated $5 million to support the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center's comprehensive campaign to expand cancer care and research.
It is the largest single gift from a living alumnus of the School and
one of the largest private donations to a University of Rochester Medical
Center (URMC) program in its 86-year history.
The Wilmot Cancer Center is raising $42.5 million to construct a new facility to double clinical and research space, consolidate outpatient cancer care and research laboratories in a single location, recruit additional scientists and build translational research programs to find cures. Rowe's donation brings the five-year campaign total to $30 million.
"This tremendous gift is a testament to the confidence that our alumni have in the quality clinical and research programs at the Medical Center and Wilmot Cancer Center," said Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester. "Jack Rowe's gift furthers the University's commitment to provide the highest quality cancer care and research. I am most grateful for his inspirational gift."
Rowe was president and CEO of Aetna Inc., from 2000 to 2006. Before joining Aetna, he was president and chief executive officer of Mount Sinai New York University Health. Internationally recognized for his research and health policy efforts for the care of the elderly, Rowe was a founding director of Harvard Medical School's Division on Aging.
The Wilmot Cancer Center has adopted an ambitious plan to capture the National Cancer Institute designation as one of the country's top cancer centers. Over the past four years, more than 20 scientists and clinicians have been recruited to bolster research and patient care programs.
A key element of the plan is the construction of a new state-of-the-art, four-story, 163,000-square-foot facility at the corner of East Drive and Crittenden Boulevard, which began a year ago. This new building, set to open in spring 2008, was designed with patient comfort at the forefront and will offer unprecedented levels of privacy, educational opportunities and ease of access. The research laboratories dedicated to translational research in the new Wilmot Cancer Center facility will be named in recognition of Rowe's gift.
"Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases that we face as individuals and physicians, and providing outstanding cancer care and cutting-edge research is a top priority for the Medical Center," said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of URMC. "The Wilmot Cancer Center is key to the future growth of the Medical Center and we are pleased to see Jack Rowe's gift support our efforts."
"Expanding our programs will let people of the Finger Lakes region
stay close to home for the very best cancer care," said Richard
I. Fisher, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center and vice
president for Clinical Services at URMC. "The new facility will
allow us to better serve the growing number of patients from outside the
region coming to Rochester for our expert, multidisciplinary cancer care."
Pediatric Heart Surgery Division Expands with New Surgeon, Research
Much is changing in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery. Not only is the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit creating its own dedicated staff, but the program is pursuing more research and has hired a second pediatric cardiac surgeon, Jay Gangemi, M.D., to keep up with the increasing patient volume.
According to George Alfieris, M.D., chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, Gangemi, who is the first pediatric heart surgeon trained at the Medical Center, "has tremendous potential."
"I have every confidence he will blossom into a nationally regarded pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon," said Alfieris, who is regarded as the driving force behind the program's phenomenal growth over the past decade.
A McQuaid Jesuit High School graduate, Gangemi attended medical school here. He did his residency at the University of Virginia, where he developed his interest in heart surgery. Through a mentor connection he maintained with Alfieris after medical school, Gangemi eventually decided to focus on pediatric congenital heart surgery. Alfieris and the Division of Cardiac Surgery and Department of Pediatrics jumped at the chance to provide Gangemi with a fellowship, which he completed in the summer of 2006.
Gangemi now assists Alfieris with many surgeries, and he takes on some cases of his own.
"Pediatric heart surgery is unlike any other specialty. It takes three to five years to be comfortable to do the most complex cases," Gangemi said. "It's such a nice transition to stay with the same team I worked with during my fellowship."
Gangemi plans to pursue pediatric cardiac research, starting with years of data from the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery program that has yet to be analyzed for publication. In addition, he hopes to tap into his training with implants and heart transplants to eventually add new services to the program.
"With the program growing from 75 to 100 cases a year 15 years ago to now 250 to 300 cases, it's become a much larger entity; you need more than one surgeon," Hicks said. "Jay (Gangemi) is instrumental and critical to the success of the program."
Another large piece of the growing success of the program is the dedicated staff working on the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU). Until recently, staff for the pediatric heart surgery patients often worked in the adjoining Pediatric Intensive Care Unit as well. But because of how complicated and special these cardiac surgery patients are, Pediatrics Chair Nina Schor, M.D., Ph.D., approved a dedicated staff to ensure consistency and the highest quality of care. The new chief of the unit is Karen Powers, M.D., a pediatric critical care specialist.
"The PCICU faculty will be a mixture of new people recruited nationally and internal people attracted to this sub-sub-specialization," Schor said. "We also are currently recruiting additional nursing staff."
Schor added that Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong will be nationally recruiting staff for cardiac echo or cardiac electrophysiology to round out the dedicated cardiac staff on the inpatient and outpatient sides.
"Having a group of people who only take care of these kinds of
patients is very helpful," said Alfieris, who has hand-selected
the entire operating room staff, "It's also very comforting
to the families."
School of Medicine Makes the Grade
The School of Medicine and Dentistry moved up two slots to 34th best research medical school and up eight slots to 13th best primary care medical school in the U.S.News & World Report's 2008 listing of top graduate schools in the country.
"To have climbed in both our primary care and research medical school rankings is a credit to our talented and dedicated faculty," said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. "We are excited that our continued commitment to biomedical and clinical research and to the training of the best physicians and scientists, is being recognized across the country."
U.S.News & World Report also highly ranked four of the School's medical specialty training programs. Geriatrics placed 17th in specialty rankings; Pediatrics placed 20th; Family Medicine placed 21st; and Internal Medicine placed 24th.
The medical school rankings in primary care and research are based on
a variety of subject areas, accounting for both reputation and other objective
criteria such as total research dollars, faculty research productivity,
mean MCAT and GPA scores, and acceptance rates. The specialty rankings
are based on ratings by medical school deans and senior faculty.
SMD Appoints Two Interim Directors
School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) Dean David Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., recently announced the filling of two key positions at the School of Medicine and Dentistry
Harris A. "Handy" Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D.,
was named interim director of the Center for Aging and Developmental Biology,
effective immediately. Gelbard replaces, in an interim capacity, Howard
Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., who left in late March to become executive vice
president for Health Sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine
at Georgetown University. Gelbard has provided crucial leadership for
the center during the recent transition.
A professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Microbiology and Immunology, Gelbard has been a member of the Center for Aging and Developmental Biology since its founding in 1999. He received his bachelor's, medical and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University, and served as neurology chief resident at the Children's Hospital in Boston before joining the University of Rochester.
Susan Fisher, Ph.D., was appointed interim chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, effective July 1. Fisher is an associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, and is associate chair for Research and chief of the Division of Epidemiology. She also is a member of the faculty of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center and the Department of Biostatistics.
Fisher's major area of interest is in the field of cancer epidemiology,
with a particular interest in malignancies caused by viruses. She has
extensive experience in the design, conduct, and analysis of national,
multi-center clinical trials; her research has focused on the role of
viruses in conditions such as lymphoma and skin cancer.
Fisher replaces, in an interim capacity, Thomas Pearson, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., who is taking a sabbatical with Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. During his sabbatical, Pearson will acquire new skills in the area of population genomics that he will then use toward improving the health of people throughout upstate New York. After the year-long sabbatical, he will return to his roles here as professor of Public Health Sciences, senior associate dean for Clinical Research and co-director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
Physical Medicine and Rehab Receives National Accreditation
The Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation recently was awarded a three-year accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, or CARF.
The three-year accreditation represents the highest level of accreditation
that can be awarded to an organization and is a testament to the faculty
and staff in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who
provide care and treatment for a wide range of conditions including stroke,
spinal cord injury and general rehabilitation.
"This marks the fifth consecutive time that our Division has achieved this prestigious accreditation," said K. Rao Poduri, M.D., chair and medical director of Rehabilitation at Strong Health. "An organization receiving the three-year accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during on an on-site visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable."
CARF surveyors specifically noted several strengths within the Division including a strong leadership team, dedicated and compassionate staff, a stroke specialty program, outreach education efforts aimed at preventing injuries, and interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. In addition, CARF's report commended the many advocacy efforts faculty and staff conduct on behalf of disabled persons at the local and national levels.
Over the past few years, the Division has experienced remarkable growth. Each year, more than 125 faculty and staff provide care to more than 400 inpatients, and manage over 40,000 outpatient visits.
Expert Discusses New Flu Center, Future of Flu Vaccines
Vital Signs spoke with David Topham, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology, and co-director of the NYICE, about flu and the role of the new center.
Q: The flu's been around a long time. Don't
we know enough about the flu already?
Q: We have a vaccine that works. What more is
there to learn about flu vaccines?
Q: Just how likely is a pandemic from bird flu?
Q: Pandemic flu sounds like a looming threat.
Has the threat been overlooked?
Q: How did you become interested in the flu?
Q: Was flu research as popular then as it is
Q: How might the research at the new center help protect us?
Q: What's your specific research interest?
Q: Where does your work with T-cells stand?
Q: Why do you think Rochester was chosen for one of these centers?
Tom Pearson is quoted by USA Today (May 4), the Washington Post, and dozens of other publications about the role of poor diet as a contributing factor to high rates of heart disease in Appalachia.
Maiken Nedergaard’s research suggesting that migraines cause brain damage was covered by CBS and Reuters, whose stories were run by MSNBC (April 30).
WebMD (April 26) carried comments by Ganesh Palapattu about a new blood test for detecting prostate cancer.
Mary Caserta’s study showing that children in families under stress have more illness was covered by the Toronto Globe & Mail (April 24).
NPR (April 23) and the Los Angeles Times discussed the debate over midterm abortions with Nancy Stanwood.
Steve Goldman spoke with Science (April 20) about interactions between astrocytes and neurons in ALS.
Forbes.com (April 16) carried two HealthDay stories featuring Michael Perlis discussing insomnia and the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
The Indianapolis Star (April 15) carried an Associated Press story about Jill Halterman’s findings that children’s asthma symptoms are under good control in only about one of five cases.
USA Today (April 10) covered John Treanor’s findings that a flu vaccine produced by insect cells is as effective as the traditional flu vaccine.
The American Geriatrics Society has awarded Brian J. Blyth, M.D., a prestigious Jahnigen Career Development Scholars Award, created to support doctors outside of geriatrics who are interested in improving research and care for this population. Blyth will receive $150,000 over two years to study a potential drug therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. He was among a handful of winners nationwide who presented innovative proposals to the AGS.
Donald R. Bordley, M.D., associate chair of Medicine and director of the Categorical Internal Medicine Residency program at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, has been chosen to lead the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine (APDIM). With a membership of more than 1,900 individuals from 377 medical schools and teaching hospitals, APDIM is an international organization dedicated to improving and supporting the graduate education of doctors in internal medicine.
Arthur J. DeCross, M.D., associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, has been named a fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association. Through its fellowship program, the AGA honors superior professional achievement in clinical private or academic practice and in basic or clinical research.
Peter J. Papadakos, M.D., F.C.C.M., director of the Division of Critical Care Medicine and professor of Anesthesiology, Surgery and Neurosurgery, participated on the Faculty of the 4th International Meeting of Critical Care Medicine in Cairo, Egypt, where he discussed new treatments being developed for acute respiratory distress syndrome and massive chest trauma. He also served as a visiting professor at Cairo University to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Department of Critical Care Medicine. Also participating in the Critical Care Medicine international meeting was Susan E. Dantoni, M.D., assistant professor of OB/GYN, who lectured on massive obstetrical bleeding and obstetrical infections. She too served as a visiting professor at Cairo University.
Audiologist Cindy Hogan, Ph.D., received a grant from the Widex Hearing Assistance Program Loaner Network, making Strong Health Audiology one of 10 sites in the country to receive a bank of advanced digital hearing aids to loan pediatric patients. Other prestigious recipients include Boys Town National Research Hospital for Audiological Services and the League for the Hard of Hearing, New York City. Professor of Psychiatry Jeffrey M. Lyness, M.D., is a visiting professor of psychiatry at Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland. He is there for one week teaching an elective in geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry to medical students in the English language program at Jagiellonian.
Christopher Lentz, M.D., director of the Strong Regional Burn Center, was recently promoted to a Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve. He also received a Meritorious Service Medal from USAF for the processes he has helped develop to provide consistent and timely care for patients, and was named an Academic and Clinical Grand Master from the USAF Medical Corp for sustained excellence in clinical and academic teaching.
Edward Messing, M.D., chair of the department of Urology, recently was elected as Secretary of the North Eastern Section of the American Urological Association (AUA), a position he will hold for 4 years. AUA is the premier professional association for the advancement of urologic patient care, with more than 15,000 members nationwide.
Telva Olivares, M.D., assistant professor of clinical psychiatry, will receive a Nancy C.A. Roeske, M.D., Award for excellence in medical student education from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) at the association's annual meeting in mid-May. The APA has more than 38,000 physician members who specialize in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses.
Mark Orlando, Ph.D., of Strong Health Audiology, and John Wayman, M.D., of University Otolaryngology Associates, are featured in the HBO documentary Hear and Now, which follows filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky’s parents, Paul and Sally Taylor, through the process of cochlear implantation. Wayman performed the implantation, while Orlando provided the Taylors with diagnostic and rehabilitative services. The film won the Audience Award for a documentary in the Independent Film Competition at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
Iñaki Sanz, M.D., professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, has been named chair of the research committee of the Lupus Foundation of America. Sanz, who is currently developing a national registry of lupus patients, will help the group determine priorities for research into new ways to treat and prevent the disease.
Resident Xingjia Cui, M.D., will receive a Lilly
Resident Research Award from the American Psychiatric Association
at the annual meeting in mid-May. This award provides an honorarium
to five psychiatry residents who submit the best, original, unpublished
scientific paper, as well as a small award for the residency program
in which the resident was in training at the time the work was completed.
The award is for Cui's research is in depression in older adults.