CURRICULUM CHANGE – A Guinea Pig’s Perspective 

By Hayes Patrick, Class of 2019 (L2), Class President

Entering medical school in the middle of a curriculum change was an exciting, yet extremely intimidating experience. Not only did the Class of 2019 face the typical stressors of starting medical school, but we did so with a little extra uncertainty. However, while navigating a new curriculum added some anxiety at times – making us feel like we were guinea pigs swimming out into uncharted waters – we also knew that we were entering a medical school committed to improving our education and better preparing us to be Louisiana’s finest physicians. Because of that, our class commends Dean Nelson, Dr. Robin English and the Curriculum Renewal Committee, and the faculty for their tireless work over the last six years in planning and implementing the curriculum change with such success.

The original goals of the curriculum change, according to Drs. English and DiCarlo, were “increased integrated learning; reduction of time spent in lecture; increased emphasis on clinical skills teaching and evaluation; increased time devoted to specific content areas such as cultural competency, health systems, and interprofessional education; and more opportunities for career exploration and clinical experiences in the pre-clerkship curriculum.” Students and faculty agree that the new curriculum has accomplished these goals. After more than 3 semesters, our class has reaped many benefits from the new curriculum, as we constantly hear from older classes that “we have it so much better.”

The L2 class is currently in the middle of Step 1 planning and studying, and we can already recognize the benefits that the new curriculum had in our preparation for the exam. Learning the material through an integrated, systems-based approach and assessing ourselves with customized NBME Shelf exams after each block has already prepared us for the style and content we can expect on Step 1. In addition, many of the supplemental materials that students religiously use to study for Step 1 (e.g. First Aid, Pathoma, uWorld question bank) have already become familiar as we prepare for NBME Shelf exams throughout the school year. Although Step 1 scores were excellent at LSUHSC well before the curriculum change, we are optimistic that the new, integrated approach will benefit our performance this June.

Above all else, this curriculum change has emphasized the importance of clear and transparent communication between students and faculty. Dr. English said that even though the transition has “gone as expected, there have been some challenges that we didn’t anticipate.”  Growing pains that have come with the new curriculum, including scheduling issues or material that still needs consolidating, have required faculty and students to work together in order to resolve unexpected issues.

One of the Aesculapian Society representatives for the L2 class, Lucie Calderon, said, “the faculty have been extremely attentive to the suggestions presented by the Aesculapian representatives and have even been able to incorporate some changes real-time, which attests to their dedication to our learning and well-being.” Another Aesculapian representative, Greg Auda, added, “the curriculum has provided the opportunity for the students and faculty to answer to each other, and improve things for the future based on each other’s input…It truly is a team effort this year, which I hope is a trend that will continue.” While there is always more work to be done in improving our curriculum and our learning, it is reassuring to work with faculty so receptive to the concerns and suggestions of students.

We would like to thank Dean Nelson, the Curriculum Renewal Committee, the Course and Content Directors, and the many other faculty members involved in making the curriculum change possible. And we would like to give a special thank you to Dr. English (affectionately dubbed “Queen E”) for her constant and supportive presence in serving this medical school. Dr. English is an incredible leader among the faculty and students, and she has earned the utmost respect and admiration from the Class of 2019.


Camp Tiger – A Preview

Camp Tiger- a Preview of an Annual Outreach Program!
By Scott Gaignard, Class of 2020 (L1), Camp Tiger Director

Every year, the School of Medicine hosts Camp Tiger, a week long summer camp for children with special needs. The camp is run entirely by second year and incoming first year medical students. As part of this outreach program, the students take the wonderful campers through many of New Orleans’ most exciting and fun venues, including the Audubon Aquarium and Zoo, Kidsports, City Park and many more. Not only is it an incredible opportunity to offer these children a unique camp experience, it is also completely free of charge for the campers to attend! Many of these children never had a chance to attend summer camp, and we are extremely privileged to enjoy the week with them. This annual tradition has enriched the lives of so many children throughout the years, and the School of Medicine class of 2020 hopes to continue its mission.

The camp is entirely funded through generous donations and sponsorship from our great New Orleans community. The majority of these funds are generated through the annual auction. The 32nd annual Camp Tiger Benefit and Auction this year will be held at Club XLIV in Champions Square on March 31, 2017 from 7-11 pm. The event will have both a silent and live auction, a live band, open bar, free food, and an appearance by the 610 Stompers. The auction is open to anyone and everyone from the New Orleans area that wants to come together for a great cause. We hope that you can join us and help keep one of the greatest LSUHSC traditions a success for this year and for many years to come.

Please visit our website for more information on everything including the auction and ticket prices, ways to donate, and the camp itself. If you have a question about the annual auction, please contact Todd Lambert at If you have a question about Camp Tiger, please contact Scott Gaignard at


By Thomas Steele, President SOM Student Government Association 

“Nothing endures but change.” These words, spoken by Heraclitus around 500 BC, seem especially prophetic in today’s world. No institution is more aware of this undeniable truth than LSUHSC School of Medicine. Undoubtedly the biggest “change” of the last 50 years happened on August 27, 2005, when life was, both figuratively and quite literally, turned upside down for millions of individuals. What followed was a concerted effort of heroic proportions by administrators, faculty, and students to re-establish our world class medical education program. Since that restoration, a period of progress has dawned, and we are now in a unique period of transition as a School – a transition from “restoration” to “excellence.”

The openings of University Medical Center in August 2015 and of the new Veterans Affairs medical center in November 2016 are two beacons of this transition. LSUHSC medical students now have access to two state-of-the-art medical centers through which to care for the medical needs of the Louisiana population. In addition to the expanded opportunities in the clinical years, the members of the Class of 2019 are pioneers in the new pre-clinical curriculum change that began in the 2015-2016 year. The class of 2018 can expect revised and simplified requirements for the L4 year.

At present, the process for reaccreditation with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) is well underway, with the LCME site visit anticipated to occur in the fall of 2017. Results of the Independent Student Analysis (ISA), were analyzed by Dr. Richard DiCarlo, the ISA Committee and the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and led to identification of several diverse areas of student life that should and could be addressed. For example, student safety while crossing Tulane Ave will result in an elevated walkway to the hospital tentatively scheduled to begin construction in spring 2017. Separately, renovation of all seminar rooms in the 3rd floor Medical Education Building is set to begin in summer 2017.

The overarching goal of the ISA committee is to establish a process of continuous quality improvement in a manner where we do not simply identify problems and develop solutions, but continuously monitor the adequacy and effectiveness of proposed solutions. Dr. DiCarlo has coined the phrase “You Said, We Did” and a follow-up survey to assess the results of these proposed solutions will be sent out this spring.

Although change can be frightening, the transition at LSUHSC is a very positive one. When you combine the growth occurring presently at LSUHSC School of Medicine, the solid foundation of our prestigious faculty members, and the student-focused responsiveness of Dean Steve Nelson’s administration, the end result is a fertile environment in which to plant the seeds of lifelong learning and devotion to the field of medicine.

AOA Inductees: 

Congratulations are in order for the following members of the LSUHSC School of Medicine who were recently inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Medical Honor Society. The following people demonstrated excellence not only in academics, but also in service, leadership, and research.

March 2016

Senior Medical Students (selected as Juniors)

  • Surget Beatrous
  • Aaron Coulon
  • Sara Coulon
  • Julie Cronan
  • Matthew Fury
  • Olivia Gioe
  • Elizabeth Hargroder
  • Katie Melder
  • Daniel Nelson
  • Colton Walker


  • Dr. Lauren Davis
  • Dr. Jenna Jordan
  • Dr. Kieran Leong
  • Dr. Ross Thibodaux
  • Dr. Will Varnado


  • Dr. Vinod Dasa
  • Dr. Shane Guillory
  • Dr. Olivia Lee
  • Dr. Michael Stumpf


  • Dr. Michael Rolfsen

New Precision Medicine CME Class 


by Judy Crabtree, Ph.D.


The LSUHSC Precision Medicine Program within the Department of Genetics is hosting a CME event entitled “Precision Medicine: Integrating Genetics and Genomics into the Clinic”. The course, which was conceived and developed by Dr. Crabtree in conjunction with Laura Bell and Doug Grigsby in the SOM CME office, will provide didactic coverage of genetics and genetic testing, as well as breakout sessions for deeper understanding of how genetics impacts specialty care.


Content will be delivered by basic science faculty, clinical faculty and clinical genetic counselors (CGCs) with special emphasis on the impact of genetics on the analysis of disease risk and patient management. CGCs will inform learners about selecting and interpreting genetic tests, strategies for use, discussion of genetic tests with patients, and understanding direct-to-consumer genetic testing.


The overarching goals of the program are to provide a foundation in genetics and an understanding of precision medicine applications in the clinic.


The program will be held quarterly, beginning with the inaugural event on April 7, 2017, from 8am-2pm with lunch included. Breakout sessions for the April 7 event will include Oncology, Cardiology and OB/GYN. The course costs $49 and is eligible for 4.5 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 credits. A second event is scheduled for July 15, 2017, with more sessions to follow later in the year.


To register for the class, go to or contact  Course Director, Judy Crabtree, Ph.D. at for more information.

Welcome NewComers

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the following faculty members who have joined the School of Medicine Family since September 1, 2016:


  • Rakesh Srivastava, Ph.D. – Professor-Research
  • Sharmila Shankar, Ph.D. – Associate Professor-Research


  • Lauren Davis, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical (Comprehensive Medicine)
  • Lobna Ali, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical (Geriatrics)
  • Rajasree Chowdry, M.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor (Hematology and Oncology)
  • Yussef Bennani, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical (Infectious Disease)

Neurology or Neurosurgery

  • Rashmi Rao, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical (Neurology)
  • Aaron Mammoser, M.D. – Associate Professor-Clinical (Neurosurgery)

Obstetrics and Gynecology

  • Amelia Jernigan, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical


  • Thomas Heigle, M.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor


  • Matthew Cable, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical
  • Abhishek Kumar, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical


  • Jeffrey Hotaling, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical
  • Alexander Sevy, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical


  • Peter Tieh, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical
  • Stefani Samples, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical
  • Michael Brumund, M.D. – Associate Professor-Clinical


  • Graham Spruiell, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical


  • Abdur Razzaque, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Research


  • Farha Khan, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical

SOM Grants

Congratulations to the following researchers for obtaining extramural funding from federal, state, and independent sources since September 1, 2016!

(NOTE: This list was compiled from information received from the Dean’s Office.  Please inform us if anyone was inadvertently omitted from the list and we will publish a correction in the next issue.)

NIH P60 Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Centers:

  • Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D. (Department Chair, Physiology and Director, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence)

NIH U01 Research Project Cooperative Agreement:

  • Patricia Molina, M.D., Ph.D. (Department Chair, Physiology and Director, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence)

NIH R01:

  • Augusto Ochoa, M.D. (Co-director, Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium)
  • Walter Lukiw, Ph.D. (Neuroscience Center of Excellence)
  • Jason Gardner, Ph.D. (Physiology)
  • Xinping Yue, M.D., Ph.D. (Physiology)
  • Eric Lazartigues, Ph.D. (Pharmacology)

NIH Contract:

  • Diptasri Mandal, Ph.D. (Genetics)

NIH F30 M.D./Ph.D. Training Grant:

  • Myles Ketchum (Physiology)

Additional National Funding Agencies:

  • Howard Osofsky, M.D. (Department Chair, Psychiatry)
    • Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Independent Foundations:

  • David Welsh, M.D. (Internal Medicine)
    • Spirit of Charity
  • Robert Maupin, M.D. (OB/GYN, Associate Dean – Office of Diversity and Community Engagement)
    • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

University and Private Hospitals:

  • Lucio Miele, M.D., Ph.D. (Department Chair, Genetics)
    • Michigan State University
  • Michael Lan, Ph.D. (Genetics)
    • LSU Baton Rouge
  • Ashok Aiyar, Ph.D. (Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology)
    • LSU Baton Rouge

Pharmaceuticals and Companies:

  • Frank Smart, M.D. (Internal Medicine)
    • Medtronic
  • Matthew Lammi, M.D. (Internal Medicine)
    • United Therapeutics Corporation
  • Murtuza Ali, M.D. (Cardiology)
    • St. Jude Medical
  • Anthony DiGiorgio, D.O. (Neurosurgery)
    • Precision Spine, Inc.
    • Medtronic
    • Globus Medical
  • David Lefer, Ph.D. (Director, Cardiovascular Center of Excellence)
    • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
  • Michelle Loch, M.D. (Internal Medicine)
    • Cascaian Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Jayne Weiss, M.D. (Department Chair, Ophtholmology)
    • Alcon Laboratories
  • Clifford Crutcher, M.D. (Neurosurgery)
    • CoreLink Surgical

New Appointments

Richard DiCarlo, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Institutional Affairs

Dr. Ricard DiCarlo stepped into the role of Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Institutional Affairs on January 1, 2017. Over the more than twenty years that Dr. DiCarlo has been a faculty member at LSU SOM he has demonstrated commitment, thoughtfulness, creativity, and insight; a renowned educator and able administrator, he brings a wealth of experience to this new role. A graduate of Haverford College and LSU SOM, he completed his internal medicine and infectious disease training at LSU New Orleans. He immediately joined the faculty in the Department of Medicine where he focused his clinical work on sexually transmitted diseases. His scholarly work has been grounded in both infectious diseases and medical education. He is a gifted educator and has received numerous teaching awards, including the Aesculapian, AMSA, and Copping awards. Importantly, he is the SOM liaison with the LCME and was a key member of the team that helped to sustain SOM operations and accreditation in the aftermath of Katrina. Most recently, he has served as Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, leading two cycles of comprehensive curriculum renewal and innumerable smaller curriculum revisions, all requiring faculty engagement, consensus, and implementation.

Richard is an accomplished academician with a national reputation for his understanding of the complex issues that face academic medicine today. He has been formally recognized for his knowledge and experience by serving as a survey team member and a survey team secretary for site visits to other medical schools being reviewed for LCME accreditation. He has played a central role in the planning and operationalization of the SOM’s activities in the context of the clinical public-private partnerships. He has also been a key leader in our strategic planning, faculty engagement, and diversity initiatives.

Robin English, M.D.
 Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education

Dr. Robin English, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, was promoted to the position of Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education from her past role as Director of Clinical Science Curriculum. Robin is an LSU SOM graduate (class of 1995) and joined the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics in 1999. She has excelled at teaching, has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards, and was inducted into AOA as a chief resident. More recently, Dr. English has been central to the planning and implementation of the new integrated medical school curriculum, the multi-year process designed to develop consensus around specific curricular goals and objectives and also to involve a large number of basic and clinical science faculty members in the design and delivery of the work product. She has pursued the challenge of curriculum renewal with a single-minded purposefulness that is a model for outcomes-based leadership. Her dedication to this project has been remarkable. Her efforts were also invaluable in the development of our Interprofessional Education initiative that was the Quality Enhancement Program embedded in our successful SACS COC reaccreditation application.

Dr. English is not only a talented educator, but she is an able clinician and clinical administrator. She previously held the position of Director of the Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Associates, leading the effort to develop a coordinated pediatric hospitalist service at our partner hospital. She will continue to be active clinically in the Department of Pediatrics.

Office of Diversity and Community Engagement 

By Alison Augustus-Wallace, Ph.D.

The SOM Office of Diversity & Community Engagement’s (ODCE) mission and programmatic role are to facilitate the priorities of the SOM’s strategic goals by: 1) Promoting the embracement of diversity and cultural competency by faculty, staff, house staff, and student body; and 2) Expanding outreach initiatives to develop and strengthen mutually beneficial relationships with community partners.

In fulfilling our mission, our core programs support and advance a holistic admissions framework that translates into the development and construction of a diverse student community. In turn, this strengthens the quality of the learning environment. We are proud that our programs continue to promote diverse health profession pipeline initiatives which serve to enhance both interest and access to careers in medicine among communities that are disadvantaged and/or underrepresented. This fosters a culture of inclusion and engagement for all members of our institution’s educational community. The office has formal educational partnerships with all health professions schools within the LSU Health Sciences Center, as well as the New Orleans Public Schools, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Predominantly Black Institutions in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, other Louisiana undergraduate institutions, and community physician organizations.

As part of our ongoing and continuous pipeline activities to develop a more competitive applicant pool, the ODCE facilitates a range of structured and unstructured activities. ODCE programmatic activities include: K-12 Science Clubs; Career Awareness Days; after-school science and math programs for middle school students; Summer Science Research Programs for middle and high school students; year-round medical school applicant counseling (including mock interview experiences and personal statement development); incoming medical students’ Pre-Matriculation program; USMLE, Step I review resources; and Residency Counseling for LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) medical students. Additionally, ODCE is currently in the process of restoring its pre-medical advisor workshops for collegiate academic counselors, faculty, and administrators, to provide them with adequate information about LSUHSC programs for advising their students and to further strengthen their communication with LSUHSC.

As of September 2016, the newest programmatic activity scheduled for the dates of May 30th through July 7, 2017, is the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Public Health, Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). SHPEP is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is a collaboration between our Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Public Health, with support from our Center for Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice, and our HBCU partner Xavier University at Louisiana, College of Pharmacy. This program is a free summer enrichment program designed to improve access to information and resources for college students attending either four-year or community college institutions, who are interested in the health professions. The goal of SHPEP is to support the academic and career development of underrepresented/underserved, and/or rural, and/or disadvantaged students in the health professions, thereby preparing them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools. Formerly known as the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program, the SHPEP was expanded in 2016 to include a broader scope of health professions. For additional information on SHPEP, please refer to, as well as our LSUHSC site webpage,

Want to become a Faculty Assembly Delegate? 

By Jennifer Lentz, Ph.D. and Peter Winsauer, Ph.D.

In preparation for this year’s Faculty Assembly elections, and to encourage you to consider becoming a Delegate, we thought we would tell you a little about the Faculty Assembly. The School of Medicine (SOM) Faculty Assembly (FA) is composed of 34 Delegates that are elected by the full-time clinical and basic science faculty within the SOM. The Delegates serve the SOM faculty by representing them as a collective voice to both the Administration of the SOM and the entire LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC). To accomplish this purpose, the Assembly has regularly scheduled meetings and works closely with the Dean of the SOM. Assembly meetings are open to all faculty of the SOM and approved minutes are posted on the FA website.

This year, the Faculty Assembly has been working on a number of initiatives, including disseminating the outcomes from the Faculty Forward survey, preparing for the upcoming LCME reaccreditation, updating the faculty on the changes to the medical school curriculum, and charity fundraising. We have also been engaged in discussions with the LSUHSC Chancellor, the Dean of the SOM, the Faculty Senate, and others regarding salary compression, capital outlay projects on campus, diversity, housekeeping issues, and fitness center hours.  To learn more about our activities and a current roster of Delegates, please visit our website at

This year we will be electing 10 (6 Clinical and 4 Basic Science) Delegates to serve a 3-year term beginning on July 1. All full-time faculty members of any rank (Professor to Instructor) and in either a tenure or non-tenure track are eligible. Faculty who are currently holding an administrative position such as Dean, Associate Dean, Department Head, or Center Director are not eligible.

As of this year, becoming a FA Delegate is a 2-step process that starts with a self-nomination, or you asking someone you feel would be a good Delegate to self nominate.  After the call for nominations has been completed, all eligible faculty will be placed on a ballot for election by electronic vote. All faculty will then vote to fill the 10 available positions. The 10 nominees receiving the most votes will become Delegates. Given that there are relatively few positions available each year, you may want to inform your colleagues about your interest in serving so that they can vote for you, especially if you are from a small department!

The Faculty Assembly will request nominations in April, and the election will be held in May. If you think you might be interested in serving as a Delegate, any current Delegate would be happy to answer your questions, or join us at the next monthly meeting held the first Thursday of every month.