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Pulmonary Division Heads to Hawaii for CHEST Conference

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) took place October 8 to 11 in beautiful Hawaii. This organization includes more than 22,000 pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine professionals. The department of Medicine was well represented by several faculty, a fellow, and a resident, who shared their research through presentations and posters. From cutting-edge research to transformative clinical interventions, they left an indelible mark on the conference.

One standout moment was Pulmonary division chief, M. Patricia Rivera, MD, taking the stage for the Women as Leaders in Chest Medicine panel. Rivera, a powerhouse in her field, not only leads the division at URMC, she also holds the prestigious title of president of the American Thoracic Society, which testifies to her reputation as a trailblazer in medicine. The panel also included the women presidents of CHEST and the European Respiratory Society. In 2023, more than seven global respiratory societies are led by women. The themes of this panel were courage, finding a voice, and what leaders can do to amplify and promote women in their field.

Sandhya Khurana, MD, FCCP, professor of Medicine, who also presented at the conference, reflects on the whole event. “It was a pleasure to speak at some of the key asthma sessions at CHEST. It is always great to share the podium with expert colleagues from other institutions, and to hear each other’s unique perspective.”

Additional highlights include Khurana and Rivera receiving the Distinguished CHEST Educator Award, and David Nagel, MD, PhD, receiving a CHEST Research Grant in Pulmonary Fibrosis for his project “Elastin Remodeling Promotes Pulmonary Fibrosis.”

Presentations in alphabetical order

Fernando Camacho, MD, MS – Internal Medicine Resident 

Patrick Donohue, MD – Assistant Professor 

Sandhya Khurana, MD, FCCP – Professor 

Daniel Lachant, DO – Assistant Professor 

Caroline Quill, MD – Associate Professor 

M. Patricia Rivera, MD – Division Chief 

Melinda Tonelli, MD – Critical Care Fellow

James White, MD, PhD – Professor 

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.

Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Divisions Team Up to Treat Growing (but Lesser Known) Disease

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Sonal Munsiff, MD, associate professor of Infectious Diseases, wants you to know about nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease. She has been treating a growing number of patients with NTM, yet it remains mostly un-talked about in hospitals and communities. She’d like to change that.

“NTM can cause infection anywhere in the body,” said Munsiff, “but the majority of the time they cause lung infections. A lot of patients get diagnosed through our Pulmonary groups. I have a particular interest in these bacteria, and we are seeing an increasing number of cases in New York State. We are now developing a program here to help manage these complex patients that need long courses of treatment with multiple antibiotics.”

There has already been a growing relationship between Pulmonary and ID as they collaborate on caring for these unique patients. Alexandra Adams, MD, and Paul Levy, MD, from Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, are working with Munsiff and Michael Croix, MD, from ID, to develop the current NTM clinical practices at URMC. They are also developing a multidisciplinary bronchiectasis program that will help support the pulmonary needs of NTM patients.

Ghinwa Dumyati, MD, professor of Infectious Diseases, runs the surveillance site for the New York State Emerging Infections Program. URMC is one of only 10 state sites across the country funded by the CDC to conduct surveillance for emerging infectious diseases. NTM has not been a reportable disease, so data is limited; our surveillance will help identify the burden of disease and risk factors for infection and guide prevention policies. Dumyati published initial findings in Clinical Infectious DiseasesSince data collection began, Munsiff has seen clinical volume rise, and is receiving referrals across Western and Central New York.

The ID division manages an outpatient IV antibiotic therapy program, which supports NTM patients who receive at-home IV treatments. There are three other physicians in ID besides Munsiff and Croix who treat NTM patients, and they hope to expand the program as it develops. Munsiff is preparing to participate in a multisite Phase 2/3 clinical trial focused on investigating a new oral drug for Mycobacterium avium complex, the most common form of NTM.

Munsiff and Adams, along with their respective division chiefs, Paul Bohjanen, MD, PhD, of Infectious Diseases, and Patricia Rivera, MD, of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, see the growing need and have begun work to establish a multidisciplinary center at URMC, with members of both divisions, collaborating with respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and dieticians/nutritionists. A new center would offer patient support groups and patient advocacy too: as of now, most NTM patient support is virtual and online.

As they move forward in creating a center, they encourage UR faculty, nurses, and APPs with an interest in these patient cases to reach out to them.

David Nagel Awarded Research Grant from CHEST Foundation

Friday, July 7, 2023

David Nagel, MD, PhD, assistant professor in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, received a CHEST Foundation Research Grant for his project "Elastin Remodeling Promotes Pulmonary Fibrosis."

Pulmonary Division Presents at ATS Conference as Rivera Steps into Presidential Role

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

In May, thousands of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep specialists gathered in Washington, DC for the annual conference of the American Thoracic Society. Faculty and fellows from the URMC division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine had a strong presence as they led sessions and presentations of their work, and held other roles such as chair, moderator, and facilitator.

One major highlight was on May 23, division chief Patricia Rivera, MD, gave her incoming Presidential address to the ATS, officially starting her one-year term. She is making history as the first Latina woman to take on this role. Her moving speech gave insight into her personal journey as the daughter of Cuban immigrants, and how life lessons from that were applied to her professional journey. Today, she is not only a nationally renowned lung cancer specialist, she is also a champion of DEI work, for both health care professionals and delivering equitable care to patients.

Pulmonologist Jim White, MD, PhD, attended the conference and was in the audience for Rivera’s speech. “I was so proud to call myself a U of R faculty member after this address,” he said, in an email to department of Medicine colleagues. “I’m sure there were many in the audience motivated and inspired to be better humans and citizens of a global community after listening to her.”

Read the Full List of Presentations by Lead Author

Pulmonologists Present at ATS Conference

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

In March, faculty from the division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine attended the New York State Thoracic Society Conference at New York Medical College in Valhalla. The NYS Thoracic Society is the local chapter of the national American Thoracic Society, of which our own Patricia Rivera, MD, is the president elect, who will serve from 2023-2024.

This annual meeting provides a venue for pulmonary and critical care providers from across the state and the Northeast to hear state-of-the-art lectures and network with colleagues. The regional meeting has a poster session for trainees, medical students and residents, as well as a Fellows’ Forum for presentation of fascinating or challenging cases.

“The meeting is a great place for trainees to present and get feedback in a smaller, more intimate, and cost-effective location than the larger national meetings,” said Michael Nead, MD, PhD.


Patricia Rivera, MD: “The Present and Future of CA Lung Cancer Diagnostics”

Michael Nead, MD, PhD: “Pro-Con Debate Robotic Bronchoscopy: The start of something new or oversold?”

Anthony Pietropaoli, MD: “Sepsis management: cookbooks (aka bundles) just don’t cut it.”

Also in attendance were Manoj Mammen, MD, and Pulmonary fellow Bishal Gyawali, MD.