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September 2007

Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute Opens


Grand Opening Celebration: University leadership celebrates the opening of the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute. From l. to r.: University President Joel Seligman, University Trustee and URMC Board Member Richard Aab, Jackie Aab, URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., and University Trustee and URMC Board Member David Flaum.

It was a homecoming of sorts in late August when the facility that was originally built in the early 1980s to house a University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) spinoff company was reopened as the new Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI). More than 100 scientists, students and technicians, currently spread throughout the Medical Center campus will be housed under one roof at the facility, located on Bailey Road in the Town of Henrietta.

The 15 cardiovascular research laboratories moving to the new institute currently conduct more than 50 research projects with the goal of furthering the understanding of heart disease. Projects range from the design of novel diagnostic approaches to research into how plaque builds up in arteries to efforts to identify genes that control heart failure.

Mark Taubman, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine, continues his role as director of the Aab CVRI, succeeding Medical Center CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. Since Berk joined the Medical Center in 1999, 15 investigators have been recruited to the CVRI, resulting in a three-fold increase in total cardiovascular research funding now totaling $15 million. Under Taubman's leadership of the Cardiology Division, dramatic increases in corporate funding have also occurred, with funding now eclipsing $7 million.

"In less than 10 years, researchers within the Aab CVRI have won 60 research grants and filed 36 patent applications, both measures of the tremendous value that the Aab CVRI offers to the field of cardiovascular medicine, and of the even greater potential it will offer in the future," Berk said. "Our hope is that this expanding research enterprise will also make significant contributions to improved patient care and economic investment in this community."

It is expected that the Aab CVRI will bring new synergies between cardiovascular research and clinical programs in cardiology, cardiac surgery, and vascular surgery to produce novel diagnostic and treatment approaches.

"A main focus within the CVRI is the near-future launch of expanded research programs, and new research programs require a specially designed space," said Taubman. “Whether we are talking about areas where we currently excel, like vascular biology and thrombosis, or areas where we want to grow, like stem cell and obesity research, the newly unified CVRI will position us to be among the leading cardiovascular research programs in the nation.”

A Strategic Advantage

The Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute is reflective of the multidisciplinary research initiatives driving the strategic direction of the Medical Center as a whole. For example, cardiovascular diseases are a focus of the Medical Center's soon-to-be-announced, five-year strategic plan, the main goal of which is to deliver new medical treatments for major disease areas.

The CVRI also will be strengthened by leveraging new and joint recruitments, shared cores and equipment, and other new technologies that emerge from the strategic plan.

In addition, CVRI research teams will be integral to the Medical Center's newly established Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), one of just 12 in the nation chosen to receive major funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Under the CTSI umbrella, cardiovascular researchers will work collaboratively with scientists in related fields and with practicing physicians to accelerate the translation of basic science discoveries into new treatments.

Along with cardiovascular scientists, the newly renovated facility also will house 15 researchers from Functional Genomics, a core facility that serves researchers throughout the University and Medical Center by providing analysis of genetic material using state-of-the-art techniques.

The building and institute are named in honor of Richard T. Aab, a long-time supporter of the Medical Center, in appreciation of his $5 million gift. Founder of several telecommunications companies, Aab is a trustee of the University and sits on the Medical Center Board as well. In addition, he serves on the boards of various private institutions including Medifast, Inc. and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

"I am honored to be a part of what I truly believe to be a new chapter in the understanding and treatment of heart disease," Aab said. "Few have not been touched by cardiovascular disease in some way. And while scientists' understanding of the disease has evolved, thanks in part to the contributions of the outstanding researchers that make up this institute, we still have a long way to go to ease the suffering. The good news is that new technologies and research developments under development right here in Rochester are poised to further improve patients' lives."

Nearly three years ago, the University of Rochester purchased the facility, which was formerly occupied by Wyeth-Lederle Vaccines and Pediatrics. Since then, the University has invested $14 million to re-outfit the facility, which occupies 100,000 square feet.

“This building was constructed to house one of the University of Rochester's most successful examples of harnessing research to improve human health, technology that led to the development of the Hib vaccine, which virtually wiped out meningitis in preschoolers," added Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester. "It's fitting that the facility will once again serve as the home of a premier research effort aimed at translating basic science into medical breakthroughs."


Chiverton Plans to Step Down as Dean of School of Nursing

Patricia A. Chiverton, Ed.D., R.N., F.N.A.P.

Patricia A. Chiverton, Ed.D., R.N., F.N.A.P., dean and professor at the University of Rochester School of Nursing and vice president of Strong Health Nursing, will step down at the end of this academic year. A search committee, chaired by University Provost Ralph Kuncl, is being formed to choose her successor.

“It is with a heavy heart that I leave the role that has given me so much professional and personal fulfillment over the years,” Chiverton said. “With the help of a world-class faculty, dedicated staff, supportive University leadership and generous alumni and friends, we’ve evolved the School of Nursing in so many ways. I take tremendous pride in our collective accomplishments, but am most proud of our ability as a school to continue to offer the very best nursing education to our students.”

Guided by a strategic plan developed to turnaround sagging enrollment and unhealthy financials, Chiverton’s eight-year tenure as dean has been marked by a number of changes and innovations at the School of Nursing. In addition to the launch of new and improved program offerings, including a one-year accelerated program for non-nurses, the school’s total enrollment has increased by more than 100 students, the faculty body has grown significantly, and the school’s budget has nearly doubled.

In addition, last year the school completed an $8.1 million renovation and expansion project—the first in its history. The school’s prominence nationally has also been enhanced considerably as evidenced in part by its climbing from 28th to 12th in the national ranks of nursing schools receiving National Institutes of Health grants.

“Pat’s tenure as Dean truly represents a great renaissance for nursing education at Rochester and her contributions have had an enormous reach,” said Medical Center CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. “She has always struck a balance between running the day-to-day operations of the school while at the same time never straying from her vision to enhance nursing education both nationally and internationally. She has built a strong framework for the school to continue to turn out the very best nurses and educators for years to come.”

Chiverton has led the charge to successfully launch and run new businesses within the practice mission of the School of Nursing. The Center for Nursing Entrepreneurship (CNE), the first of its kind in the world, grew out of this effort and has had a significant impact on the school’s success. In May she was named the University’s first Pamela York Klainer Endowed Chair in Nursing Entrepreneurship and after a one-year sabbatical will return to the University as a faculty member in the CNE.

“Pat is truly a 21st century dean,” said University of Rochester President Joel Seligman. “In addition to being an accomplished educator, skilled clinician and administrator, she is a strong advocate for the entire nursing profession. Her focus on nursing entrepreneurship created a unique niche for the school and an excitement among nurses in Rochester and beyond. We are very fortunate to have her continue her work as an endowed chair.”

“I am honored to lead the committee tasked with conducting this important search,” said Kuncl. “We’re looking for the individual who will continue the tremendous momentum Pat has started. It will be a challenge to find someone who can match her drive and creativity and create the next vision for the School of Nursing on the foundation she built.”

Chiverton has been a member of the School of Nursing Faculty since 1984 and has served the School in various capacities including: interim dean, associate dean for clinical affairs, CEO of the Community Nursing Center and interim chair for the health care services division. She also served as the clinical chief of psychiatric mental health nursing at the University of Rochester Medical Center.Chiverton is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the New York State Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau’s Epsilon Xi Chapter. She also has been the recipient of numerous awards and professional accolades, including most recently a National Academy of Practice Fellow and the Excellence in Leadership Award from the APNA.

Chiverton earned her B.S.N. from Central Missouri University, her MS in psychiatric mental health nursing from the University of Rochester, and an Ed.D. from the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester. Her academic work has been published in more than 20 national peer-reviewed journals.

Information on the search committee, a job description and other related materials will be posted on the University Website in the coming weeks.

Read personal messages from Dean Chiverton and URMC CEO Dr. Berk at



Online Cost Estimator Available for New Health Care Plans

The University is adopting four new health care plans effective January 2008. To help faculty and staff determine which of the University's new health care plan options is the best overall value for them, a new online tool to estimate out-of-pocket health care costs is now available. The interactive calculator allows employees to compare payroll deductions, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Click here for more information on the four new health care plans and for a link to the online calculator, or visit




Psychiatry Tapped to Develop VA Suicide Prevention Program


Canandaigua VA

A new national Center of Excellence aimed at improving mental health care for American soldiers and their families is being created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), aided in great part by faculty in the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Department of Psychiatry. More than a dozen faculty members from the Department of Psychiatry will oversee a broad range of efforts -- locally, regionally and nationally -- at the Center of Excellence, housed on-site at the Canandaigua VA.

As a Center of Excellence, the facility will focus on suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues, and Psychiatry faculty will lead efforts to develop programs, conduct research and provide treatment. In addition, faculty will help train staff for the newly launched National Suicide Prevention Hot Line, also based at the Canandaigua VA, which provides round-the-clock assistance for veterans nationwide.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and of Public Health Sciences Kerry L. Knox, Ph.D., will direct the Center of Excellence.
The personal, family and social costs of disability and death due to mental health disorders are great, according to Eric Caine, M.D., the John Romano Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry.

"Historically, the country has set a lower priority on dealing with psychological disabilities than physical disabilities despite the cost in lives and the huge burdens they put on families and society," he said. "We are much better in dealing with prosthetics for legs and arms than we are with mental prosthetics. That's why we have so much research to do."

Caine added that the relationship between the Department of Psychiatry and the Center of Excellence will have a tremendous impact on the department.

"It will be a real amplifier of our ideas and research and presents us with challenges we've never faced before. This is a community challenge and it is important the department addresses it," he said.

David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, said the Department of Psychiatry's formative role in creating the Center of Excellence in partnership with the Veterans Administration fits well with the overall mission of the Medical Center.

"An important part of what our faculty do at the medical school is to draw on effective therapeutic methods in individual settings and translate them, with modifications as needed, to specific populations," Guzick said. "The preventive and clinical interventions developed by the Center of Excellence will help the population of veterans in this region and throughout the country."

The Center of Excellence will be a one-of-a-kind prevention center in the Veterans Administration, using public health approaches to reduce premature death and treatable illnesses in veterans, with special attention to suicide and attempted suicide, post-traumatic stress and related stress disorders, depression, substance abuse, serious mental illness, and the family and social problems that can arise from these difficulties. As part of its mission, the center will have national responsibilities, as well as local and regional.

A hallmark of new Center of Excellence is its aim to reach into communities to find vulnerable individuals instead of waiting for them to seek services in offices, clinics, or emergency rooms. This will be accomplished through two approaches focused on prevention. The first uses prevention methods across broad populations to enhance the early recognition of needs among veterans and to promote a willingness to seek care or assistance.

The second area of prevention emphasis relates explicitly to high-risk groups and individuals. Selective programs will aim to engage groups of people -- veterans who repeatedly participated in intense, lethal combat, for example -- where there is a known risk for longer-term personal problems. Not everyone exposed to such risks will develop lasting distress, but it often is very difficult to distinguish those who develop future difficulties from those who won't.

The new Center also could lead to the hiring of additional faculty at the University and at the Canandaigua Veterans Administration Medical Center.

"The collaboration between the Veterans Administration and the Department of Psychiatry is an important example of our commitment to community health. We will work together to improve the lives of veterans and their families far from Rochester and our medical center. And what we learn also will help our own community," said URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D.



Berk Appointed to State Stem Cell Board

URMC CEO Bradford Berk, M.D., Ph.D. and State Senator Malcolm Smith

University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. has been tapped to serve on the Empire State Stem Cell Board, the organization that will oversee distribution of approximately $600 million in biomedical research funding to New York state institutions. Berk was appointed to the panel by Senator Malcolm Smith (St. Albans), the Democratic leader in the State Senate.

“I can think of no better choice than Brad Berk to serve on the Empire State Stem Cell Board," said Smith. "His long list of accomplishments and vast experience in the area of stem cell research make him uniquely qualified to help New York State break new ground in the treatment of disease and advance forward in the innovation economy.”

The Empire State Stem Cell Trust Fund was created earlier this year. The fund, which was included as a provision in the New York State budget, establishes an 11-year, $600 million research program to support stem cell research. The initiative will be funded in part by a pool of money created when health insurance companies convert to for-profit status.

The legislation creates two panels to oversee the new law. One panel will be responsible for developing the funding and evaluation criteria for research grants and establishing standards of medical and scientific oversight. The other will focus on developing ethical guidelines for the research. Berk has been appointed to the funding committee.

“New York is home to world class universities, hospitals, and biotechnology companies and is poised to become an international leader in the field of stem cell research,” said Berk. “I am deeply grateful for Senator Smith’s appointment and look forward to serving on the Empire State Stem Cell Board. I strongly believe that the resources New York State has committed to stem cell science will reinforce our state’s leadership in medical research and ultimately create new jobs and companies and develop technologies that could potentially improve the lives of millions of Americans.”

Stem cells are essentially early-stage cells that are capable of generating all the different kinds of tissue found in the body. As such, the scientific community believes that these cells hold great promise to develop new ways to understand, treat, prevent, and perhaps even cure a long list of diseases.

Currently scientists are prohibited from using federal funds for stem cell research for all but a shrinking number of cell lines approved by the National Institutes of Health. As a result, several states have stepped forward and established funds to support stem cell research. New York’s investment is the second largest, behind only California.

URMC is home to several leading stem cell research programs. Approximately 40 URMC scientists are involved in stem cell research, fueled by more than $68 million in research grants and staffed by 263 people. Many of these scientists are internationally known for their work with stem cells in neurological disorders, cancer and musculoskeletal diseases. The University is also in the process of establishing a Stem Cell Institute.




Faculty Spotlight

Media Clips


Charles Francis spoke with WebMD (Aug. 24) about new research into anti-cancer drugs designed to block the growth of new blood vessels.

Bloomberg News (Aug. 23) discussed with John Treanor the competition that traditional egg-based flu shots face from cell-based technologies.

Jian-Dong Li’s research on a common cause of pneumonia was covered by Reuters (Aug. 23).

Berislav Zlokovic’s research focusing on draining amyloid from the brain to stop Alzheimer’s disease was picked up by U.S. News & World Report (Aug. 21).

Research by Thomas O’Connor showing that women who are anxious during pregnancy have a higher risk of having babies who suffer sleep problems was covered by MSNBC (Aug. 20).

The Ithaca Journal (Aug. 17) carried details of the University’s collaboration with Veterans Affairs to help prevent suicides among war veterans.

Newsweek (Aug. 16) spoke with David Krusch about the growing use of electronic medical records.

ABCNews (Aug. 15) and WebMD talked with John Benitez about the risks to small children from lead and magnets, after recent toy recalls.

WebMD (Aug. 14) spoke with William Bonnez about new findings showing that the HPV vaccine isn’t helpful for treating the infection in many patients.

Work by James Aquavella implanting an artificial cornea in a Florida child to give the child sight was featured in the Tampa Tribune (Aug. 10).

Technology Review (Aug. 15) spoke with Shakeel Shareef about a new glaucoma monitoring device.

USA Today (Aug. 14) covered work by Shanna Swan looking at the effects of phthalates on the birth rate of boys.

The Associated Press (Aug. 4) spoke with Richard Kreipe about “wannarexia,” focusing on would-be anorexics.

Charles Duffy spoke with WebMD (Aug. 3) about new research linking long-term use of antacids to mental decline.

Arthur Moss’s comments during a discussion about the availability and marketing of Avandia were picked up by (July 31).

The Associated Press (July 30) interviewed Eastman Dental Center resident Jeffrey Toothman and family about the surname, choice of profession, and life in a town named Chewsville.

Caroline Hall discussed the effectiveness of steroids as a treatment for a common respiratory infection in infants with the Sacramento Bee (July 26).

Technology Review (July 25) covered the progress of Marc Schieber and colleagues toward developing a new type of prosthetic hand.

WebMD (July 25) spoke with Manish Kohli about an aggressive new treatment for testicular cancer.

ABC News (July 24) spoke with David Korones about what happens when cancer patients decide to discontinue treatment.

Wilfred Pigeon was quoted by HealthDay (July 19) about the link between fatigue and problems with the biological clock.


Ralph F. Józefowicz, M.D., associate chair for education in the Department of Neurology, has been named director for neurology of The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. The board sets the standards to be met by physicians seeking to earn certification in psychiatry and neurology specialties, and administers related examinations. As director, Józefowicz will lead discussion on certification policy, direct an examining team for the oral neurology boards and chair question-writing committees. He was nominated for his prominence in neurological education, question-writing experience and ability to evaluate residents’ clinical skills.

Susan H. McDaniel, Ph.D., professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, has won the American Psychological Foundation’s Cummings PSYCHE Prize. The award recognizes practicing psychologists whose careers demonstrate a plan to effect significant and enduring contributions to expanding the role of the psychologist as primary care provider. McDaniel, who also directs the Wynne Center for Family Research, was cited for her role in the implementation of the biopsychosocial perspective in the model of integrated primary health care.



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Last updated: 05/16/2013 4:17 PM