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Vivek Kaul Launches Podcast with ACG: “Brains & Guts”

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Brains & Guts: The GI Innovation Podcast logoThe new podcast from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) launched in October during the annual ACG meeting in Vancouver. Vivek Kaul, MD, professor of Medicine, is the co-founder and inaugural host of the first episode. Kaul is a Fellow of the ACG, and the founder and immediate past Chair of the ACG Innovation & Technology Committee. He served in this role from 2018-2023.

The podcast, Brains & Guts, will be broadcast on a monthly basis and will aim to dive deep into all aspects of innovation, discussing how new entrepreneurs can take an “idea to commercialization.” The first episode, “Why Innovate in GI?” introduced the key concepts related to the significance of innovation in medicine and the typical challenges and opportunities that new entrepreneurs will encounter on their journey.

It also emphasized the importance of bridging the knowledge gap in this realm, especially for young and upcoming colleagues who may not have received formal education or training in this regard. Furthermore, the podcast highlighted the potential for individuals, industry colleagues, national societies, as well as funding agencies to collaborate and partner to further the mission of innovation.

In future episodes, the podcast will host well-known, established innovators and entrepreneurs in Gastroenterology who will share their wisdom and experience, as well as describe the “recipe” for how they can bring new ideas and concepts to reality for the care of patients.

This podcast was launched through the ACG Innovation & Technology Committee and can be found on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Be sure to bookmark the Brains & Guts homepage to keep an ear out for future episodes.

Kaul and Division of Gastroenterology Receive Donation from Pancreatic Cancer Association of Western NY

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Mary Pettinaro, Lynn Platt and Mary Ellen Smith present check to Mark Levstik, MD and Vivek Kaul, MDThe Pancreatic Cancer Association of Western York (PCAWNY) is a very active and well-known patient advocacy and support group based out of Rochester, New York. For more than a decade, this organization has served as a beacon of support, awareness, education, and advocacy for patients and families dealing with the scourge of pancreatic cancer. The group has been very active in terms of fundraising to support various pancreas cancer activities and have also hosted a very popular and well attended annual walk in town every November for this very important cause.

The PCAWNY and the University of Rochester Medical Center have had a very close and collaborative relationship throughout this time, focused on patient care, education, research and advancement of the field in general. In the past the group has supported clinical and translational research in pancreatic cancer at Wilmot Cancer Institute, and has worked very hard to support URMC’s clinical trial efforts in this disease.

Providers from the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology are a key part of the outstanding multidisciplinary team that leads pancreatic cancer research and care at URMC, and for the Upstate NY region. Vivek Kaul, MD, has collaborated closely with the PCAWNY, almost since its inception, across multiple clinical and patient education/awareness missions. In late October, the PCAWNY presented a generous donation of $30,000 to the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology to help support various missions related to pancreas care at our center.

PCAWNY board members Ms. Mary Pettinaro, Ms. Lynn Platt and Ms. Mary Ellen Smith presented the check to the division on behalf of the organization on Oct 26, 2023. Kaul and division chief Mark Levstik MD, express their sincere thanks and gratitude to PCAWNY for this generous gift, and will continue to partner with them to help care for our patients and advance the field.

Department of Medicine Celebrates Increased National Performance Rankings

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

US News & World Report released the results for the 2023-2024 Best Hospitals rankings, with Strong Memorial Hospital coming in at number one in the Rochester region! While the entire hospital celebrates this great news, the department of Medicine would like to recognize the divisions that host specialties and condition/procedures which received rankings: ALL of which greatly improved compared to last year.

“These improved rankings reflect the hard work and dedication of all of our faculty, APPs, staff, and trainees who contribute to the excellent care we provide,” said Ruth O’Regan, MD, chair of Medicine. “Our team is collaborative and innovative, paving the way for better patient outcomes. Thank you for all that you do.” 

*Note, the ranking is where we stand compared to all eligible hospitals across the U.S.

Specialty: Cancer

  • #196 / Improved ranking by 234 
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma
    • Colon cancer surgery
    • Lung cancer surgery
    • Prostate cancer surgery

Specialty: Cardiology, Heart & Vascular Surgery

  • #140 / Improved ranking by 38
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Heart attack
    • Aortic valve surgery
    • Heart failure

Specialty: Diabetes & Endocrinology

  • #197 / Improved ranking by 45
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Diabetes

Specialty: Gastroenterology & GI Surgery

  • #124 / Improved ranking by 209
    • High performing specialty!
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Colon cancer surgery

Specialty: Geriatrics

  • #259 / Improved ranking by 90

Specialty: Pulmonology & Lung Surgery

  • #70 / Improved ranking by 132
    • High performing specialty!
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • Lung cancer surgery
    • Pneumonia

Special Mention: Nephrology, high performing procedure and condition - kidney failure

There are many factors weighed to calculate the final score. Each division has a unique set of circumstances which led to their increased rank. Across the board, “mortality” scores improved: this score is based on 30-day survival rate of patients after being admitted to the hospital. The department of Medicine credits this increase to the in-depth collaboration of most specialties with the division of Hospital Medicine, led by Justin Hopkin, MD. This multidisciplinary approach can positively impact earlier diagnosis, coordinate care for complex patients, and transition patients to where they need to be in the hospital. Hopkin notes that there have been increased efforts in better recording of how sick patients are, which leads to more precise treatment plans. 

Another positive change has been the designation of URMC as an Age-Friendly Health System. As the hospital serves an increasingly large number of older patients across all specialties, the focus of Age-Friendly health care has had a positive impact on patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Kothari to Lead Landmark Study in Gastroenterology: SHARP Trial

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

URMC has been selected as a site for the NIH funded SHARP Trial: a first-of-its-kind study to evaluate the effects of an ERCP procedure on patients with pancreas divisum with recurrent pancreatitis. Only 20 other sites are involved in the program. Research at URMC will be led by Truptesh Kothari, MD, MS, associate professor of Medicine in Gastroenterology/Hepatology.

Pancreas divisum (PD) is a congenital birth anomaly. It is found in roughly 10 percent of the population, and of those who have PD, 10 percent have symptoms of acute pancreatitis.

The SpHincterotomy for Acute Recurrent Pancreatitis (SHARP) clinical trial will determine the benefits and effects of an Endoscopic Retrograde CholangioPancreatography (ERCP) procedure with minor papilla sphincterotomy (cutting of the opening of the pancreatic duct) for patients with PD.

“The SHARP trial will be a landmark study,” said Kothari, “and will place URMC on the global map in the field of pancreatico-biliary.”

Co-investigators are Shivangi Kothari, MD, and Vivek Kaul, MD. Soon, the team will begin enrolling patients for the study.

Transplant Hepatology Team Highlights from 2022

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

The URMC Liver Transplant program found great success in their clinical activities last year.

The team performed 75 liver transplant surgeries in 2022. Liver transplant patients at URMC have a one-year patient survival rate of 96 percent, and a one-year graft survival rate of 92 percent, surpassing expected rates for this type of surgery based on the acuity of patients who receive transplants at URMC.

The only liver transplant and live-donor liver transplant program in upstate New York, URMC is one of the leading programs in North America for liver transplantation, and one of the first two centers in the nation to offer transplants for select patients with advanced colorectal liver metastasis.

In 2022, URMC’s outreach clinics received 464 visitors between our locations in Syracuse and Buffalo. The team also received 140 referrals last year for transplantation for patients with advanced colorectal metastasis, with 95 percent coming from outside of New York state. 4 of the 75 transplants were for these complex cases.

The Transplant Hepatology team includes department of Medicine faculty Bandar Al Judaibi, MBBS, medical director, Mark Levstik, MD, Priya Farooq, MD, Marie Laryea, BSc, MDCM, and Gopal Ramaraju, MD.

Danielle Marino Discusses Impact of Early Cancer Screening

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Danielle Marino, MD, gastroenterologist and medical director of Wilmot's Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction Program, spoke with WHEC about National Cancer Prevention Month and how to reduce your risk of certain types of cancer. "The most important thing people can do is to start by going to their doctor and talking about their family history," said Marino. "Early screening and detection can impact the outcome."

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