An important conversation I have been very motivated to begin is now underway. More than 50 members of the Department recently attended our first Research Town Hall late last month. For an hour we discussed a wide range of topics related to our research mission, ranging from tools and mentoring for completing successful grant applications to instituting a monthly seminar to showcase the groundbreaking research that we perform. We also realized that many programs and resources are already in place that may benefit our research missions and the Department will put in place mechanisms to curate and disseminate these opportunities as we work on developing new programs. For example, Dr. Peter Kaboli reminded us of the Veterans Affairs National Quality Scholars Fellowship, which offers a funded opportunity for subspecialty fellows or junior faculty to receive mentored training in Quality Improvement, an area of critical need in our current healthcare landscape. We will soon send out a survey to the entire Department to gauge interest in and solicit participation in some key areas as we plan our next steps. We hope that you will participate and keep this conversation going until our next Town Hall.
Many of our Department Faculty continue to lead the way in garnering extramural support for their research programs. Dr. Frank Faraci of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine recently won a $1.8m NIH grant to continue studying cerebrovascular connections with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Three of our faculty also received Carver Trust Medical Research Initiative Grants. Dr. Christie Thomas of the Division of Nephrology will receive $30,000 over two years to examine the use of aspirin to prevent the recurrence of preeclampsia in pregnant women with hypertension. Dr. John Colgan of the Division of Immunology will receive $30,000 over two years to examine control of T-cell responses by the development regulator GON4L. Dr. Denice Hodgson-Zingman will receive $50,000 over two years to examine episodic accelerated pacing of atria remodeling in heart failure. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on these recent successes.
Our providers continue to provide excellent and compassionate patient care. In the last couple months, more than a few have been given Making a Difference awards. Patients, their family members, and even colleagues can nominate anyone who has provided noteworthy service. Dr. Milena Gebska, Clinical Assistant Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine, was recognized by a patient and his family in February. They said, “She really went beyond her duties. . . . Thanks to her we are getting a chance to live a good life again.” First-year resident Dr. Heidi Ahmed also received this award in February.
Two of our Division Directors also received a Making a Difference Award in March. Dr. Scott Vogelgesang of Immunology demonstrated the kind of life-long impact we can have with our patients. Years after a patient moved out of state, he and his wife continued to turn to Dr. Vogelgesang for advice. “He took a special interest . . . and I will never forget how special he has been to our family.” Dr. Rebecca Hegeman of Nephrology received similar praise from a patient: “We are grateful for the day Dr. Hegeman walked into our family’s life. She is truly a special doctor, and individual, who truly cares about her patients and their families.” Watch this space for the soon-to-be-published full list of UIHC Making a Difference Award winners for the month of March.
Finally, winners of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Awards have been announced. Dr. Karl Thomas, Executive Vice Chair, won the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award for delivery of exceptional care with outstanding compassion. This award is only given to one faculty member at each of 100 institutions. First-year resident Dr. Nicole Grogan was another Gold Foundation Award winner. Nominated by third-year medical students, Dr. Grogan earned the Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award showing her commitment to teaching and her exemplary care for patients, families, students, and colleagues. Both Dr. Thomas and Dr. Grogan will be recognized with other UIHC honorees at an event in early May. Congratulations to all of you for your sincere and tireless efforts to provide the best possible care for those who turn to us in their time of need.