We are looking forward with excitement to our upcoming annual Research Day on March 2. For fifty years, the Department of Internal Medicine has invited junior faculty, fellows, and students to share the results of their research.
This forum has provided feedback, fostered collaboration, and even promoted healthy competition between colleagues. We encourage you to stop by the MERF Atrium next Wednesday afternoon to see the posters, talk with our investigators, and then attend the keynote address at 4 pm in the Sahai Auditorium. Dr. Alfred Sommer, a Lasker Award winner and Dean Emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, will present “Running Water and a Good Idea.” We hope you will join us in our celebration of the Department’s alignment of education and research.
Our educators continue to innovate as well. Ms. Jane Rowat, Educational Director for Internal Medicine, and Dr. Manish Suneja, Director of our Residency Program, have just been awarded funding to develop new ways to enhance our residents’ teaching skills. Their proposal, “A Longitudinal Teaching Skills Curriculum for the Residents,” will be funded by the UIHC Graduate Medical Education Innovation Committee. The second proposal, also funded by this committee, was developed in collaboration with Dr. Zachary Smith and Dr. Marcy Rosenbaum. Their proposal, “Working at Night: Nocturnists Observing Resident-led New Patient Encounters,” will identify novel ways to improve direct observation of learners. We look forward to the results of these new initiatives, and congratulate our colleagues for this achievement.
Dr. Kevin Glenn, Interim Director of the Hospitalist Program, recently revealed the findings from an initiative aimed at increasing the early discharge rate of patients. Over the course of four months, his pilot, Early Discharge Intervention on the Carvers (EDIC), has improved our early discharge rate on the fourth and sixth floors of Carver from 5% to 21%. In addition, participants in EDIC have seen their Press-Ganey scores dramatically increase from the 1st to the 98th percentile. A simple adjustment in priorities and focus, combined with support from a few other teams, and EDIC has achieved some truly phenomenal results. As Dr. Glenn and his team continue to expand the scope of EDIC, we can expect to see a broader impact for the entire hospital, not just for our patients.
Finally, I wanted to highlight the work of Dr. Mark Yorek, professor in the Division of Endocrinology. Dr. Yorek recently received a four-year, $1.1m grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund his research. His lab has been focused on diet-induced obesity (DIO) and its relation to nerve damage from diabetes. He and his team uncovered a connection between motor and sensory nerve connection deficits in mice with DIO or Type 2 diabetes. The corneal nerves in the mice suffered a decrease in stimulation and sensitivity even prior to the development of severe hyperglycemia. This correlation may serve as an early-detection indicator for neuropathy caused by obesity or diabetes. More important, because omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish oil have been successful in treating neuropathy, researchers in Dr. Yorek’s lab are now examining whether this can also improve insulin resistance. Initial results in mice with Type 2 diabetes show that although glucose levels and utilization rates remained unchanged, corneal innervations and nerve conduction velocities in these mice were improved.