Drs. Cacky Hebert, Angela McLean, and Taniya DeSilva Join the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education 

Over the past 6 months, new part-time curriculum co-directors have been added to the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education.   As previously reported in The Pulse, Dr. Joy Sturtevant and Dr. Andrew Hollenbach accepted part-time positions as Basic Science Curriculum Co-Directors.  They will serve as liaisons between the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and individual courses to support to course directors, ensure compliance with accreditation standards, and facilitate continued integration of basic science material.   

Dr. Catherine (Cacky) Hebert, Dr. Angela McLean, and Dr. Taniya De Silva joined the Office as Clinical Science Curriculum Co-Directors.  They will serve as liaisons between the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and individual clerkships to provide support to clerkship directors, ensure compliance with accreditation standards, enhance the teaching and assessment of clinical skills, and develop additional uses for simulation in teaching and assessment.  All five of these faculty members have been recognized as excellent educators.  They have worked on curriculum renewal for several years and are very knowledgeable about the curriculum goals and educational program objectives that directed the recent revision.   

Cacky HebertDr. Hebert, an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, has been the course director for the second year clinical skills courses for many years, including the recently developed Clinical Skills Integration 200 and Clerkship Preparation courses.  She is passionate about teaching physical diagnosis and the fundamentals of clinical medicine.  She has also served as the associate program director for the internal medicine residency since 2008.  

Angela McLeanDr. McLean, an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, served for many years as the Medical Director of Student Health Services and is a preceptor in the continuity clinic for internal medicine residents.  She is also the Director of Student Development in the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement and in this capacity she has served as the liaison between that office and the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education to enhance our teaching of cultural competency 

 

Taniya De SilvaDr. De Silva, an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, section of Endocrinology, is the section head of Endocrinology and the fellowship director for Endocrinology.  She is the course co-director for the second year course Diseases and Therapy of the Endocrine/Reproductive Systems. 

 

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$3.7 Million Grant to Fund Research on Novel Drug Targeting Heart Diseases

The Exscien Corporation of Louisville, KY, in conjunction with LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, has been awarded an SBIR Fast-Track grant in the amount of $3.7 million over three years by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The funding will be used to study the company’s first in a new class of drugs that repairs DNA damage to reduce cardiac tissue injury and improve outcomes in cardiovascular diseases.  

The grant will directly fund $1,441,643 to LSU Health New Orleans to study the potential efficacy of Exscien1-III, a patented three-part fusion protein designed to harness the body’s own mechanisms to control and repair disease pathways. The drug has demonstrated significant cardioprotective actions in rodent models of acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack, and the newly funded research will investigate its effectiveness in a model of heart failure. A goal of this research is to move this promising new drug toward human clinical trials.  

Exscien CEO Dr. Ker Ferguson and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Glenn Wilson, and LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center of Excellence Director David J. Lefer, PhD, are the grant’s principal investigators. They will work alongside LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center Translational Core Laboratory Director Traci Goodchild, PhD, to develop a pathway for Exscien1-III to restore fundamental cellular metabolic function and disrupt a root pathway for cardiac disease progression and heart failure. 

 While at an early stage of overall development, Exscien’s proprietary protein leads the way to finding a means to mitigate and repair the underlying tissue damage suffered from these devastating diseases. “Exscien is able to deliver microscopic repair enzymes directly to the root of the damage and thus goes beyond the current standard of care of simply treating downstream symptoms,” says Dr. Ker Ferguson, Exscien CEO. “The therapy offers substantial commercial potential and has attracted large ‘pharma’ interest to date.” 

 “This approach could potentially effect more than 20 million people worldwide with progressive heart failure,” notes Dr. David Lefer, Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. 

 

Spirit of Charity Awardee 

deBoisblancThe Spirit of Charity Foundation announced Dr. Bennett deBoisblanc, LSU Pulmonary/Critical Care as the 18th recipient of the Spirit of Charity Award.  This award is presented annually to a physician whose career began or was nurtured in the healing and teaching wards of Charity Hospital and who has made a significant contribution to medicine.  

Upcoming Events

Otolaryngology:

  • LSU ENT Resident Orientation and Luncheon, Baton Rouge, LA, July 11, 2017

Genetics:

  • “Precision Medicine: Integrating Genetics and Genomics into the Clinic” CME event will be held on July 15, 2015 from 8am-1pm in the SOM Learning Center

Upcoming Events

Radiology:

The American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) conference will be held in New Orleans from April 30 – May 5. Accepted publications from our department include:

  • Bradley Spieler and Dr. Eric Wallace titled “Persistent Sciatic Artery: A Favorable Anatomic Variant In A Setting Of Trauma.”
  • Lillian Tiara Murphy and Dr. Bradley Spieler titled “Pancreatic Arteriovenous Malformations with Hepatitis C” and “Renal Excretion on Five Minute Delay Phase CT as a Predictor of Cardiopulmonary Arrest within 24 hours.”
  • Stephanie Cajigas-Loyola titled “Emerging MRI Techniques for Characterization of Ectopic Endometrial Tissue.”

Otolaryngology:

LSU ENT Resident Sinus & Sleep Surgery Course, Course Director, Kevin McLauglin, MD, Center for Advanced Practice Conference Room, Lions Building, New Orleans, LA, March 31-April 1, 2017.

LSU ENT Resident Temporal Bone Dissection Course, Course Director, Moises Arriaga, MD, Center for Advanced Practice Conference Room, Lions Building, New Orleans, LA, April 21-22, 2017

Dr. Rohan Walvekar, Associate Professor is invited to speak and instruct at the ENT World Congress in Paris, France on June 24-24, 2017.

Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics:

The Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Student Colloquium will take place May 22-23, 2017 on the LSU Health Sciences Center campus. Dr. Mohan Raizada, Distinguished Professor of Physiology & Functional Genomics at the University of Florida, Gainesville will be the honored guest speaker.

Social Justice: Talking With a Purpose

Michael Okoronkwo (L2) 

 

Social Justice Picture
Katherine Davidson (Class of 2019) and Michael Okoronkwo (Class of 2019) lead the discussion at a recent Social Justice lunch time Table Talk.

The expectation to address psychosocial factors influencing patient health status has always been a model within the culture of healthcare. Such commitment in recognizing this virtue as a fundamental tool in the goal of patient care is honorable.  Reflecting upon this mission in medicine, students from LOCUS, APAMSA, SNMA, and LMSA were inspired to create a community of open and honest dialogue aimed at fostering humanistic development for our growth not only as future physicians, but as future leaders. The collective voice of these students, and the audience which engages with us at our Table Talk lunch series, are passionate about moving the vision of equity, selflessness, and compassion in the approach to healthcare forward.  These goals are not lifeless themes that have evolved to a cliché in the hearts of us, but rather a responsibility to foster.

The role of a physician inherently draws the platform of influence given by our community. We are aware of such, and want to ensure that this influence is morally potent and empowering for our future patients and community at large. At our talks, we seek to invoke conversations that stimulate conscientious development for the student through group discussion.

In order to grow as future physicians and help strengthen the capacity and impact of our patient interaction, we confront and bring to the table of discussion common challenges that threaten the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship.  We acknowledge that many of these threats branch from the core of implicit bias.  We agree that all of us have them. However, we also agree that the weakness is not having implicit bias, but rather the weakness is ignoring the internal truth that we have them as we enter a profession where dedication to human service is our enduring responsibility.

Implicit bias in patient care can manifest in the form of gender, race, ethnic, or sexual identity bias.  By having a very diverse student population within our Table Talk series, we are able to share perspectives and gain insight about cultural values, norms, and differences shared by our diverse audience. These sessions result in transformative personal growth as we together make a step forward in cultural competency and human understanding.

The leaders from LOCUS, APAMSA, SNMA, and LMSA have opened an additional door of resource for students to think, discuss, and learn of ways in which we can be more of an asset to our future patient population beyond the clinical perspective.  These leaders have created the Table Talk series as a setting where the compassion of the human heart is the guide of discussion, as we recognize the moral obligation we have to our patients and community.

Upcoming Events

Radiology:

The American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) conference will be held in New Orleans from April 30 – May 5. Accepted publications from our department include:

  • Dr. Bradley Spieler and Dr. Eric Wallace titled “Persistent Sciatic Artery: A Favorable Anatomic Variant In A Setting Of Trauma.”
  • Dr. Lillian Tiara Murphy and Dr. Bradley Spieler titled “Pancreatic Arteriovenous Malformations with Hepatitis C” and “Renal Excretion on Five Minute Delay Phase CT as a Predictor of Cardiopulmonary Arrest within 24 hours.”
  • Dr. Stephanie Cajigas-Loyola titled “Emerging MRI Techniques for Characterization of Ectopic Endometrial Tissue.”

 

Otolaryngology:

LSU ENT Resident Sinus & Sleep Surgery Course, Course Director, Kevin McLauglin, MD, Center for Advanced Practice Conference Room, Lions Building, New Orleans, LA, March 31-April 1, 2017.

LSU ENT Resident Temporal Bone Dissection Course, Course Director, Moises Arriaga, MD, Center for Advanced Practice Conference Room, Lions Building, New Orleans, LA, April 21-22, 2017

Dr. Rohan Walvekar, Associate Professor is invited to speak and instruct at the ENT World Congress in Paris, France on June 24-24, 2017.

Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics:

The Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Student Colloquium will take place May 22-23, 2017 on the LSU Health Sciences Center campus. Dr. Mohan Raizada, Distinguished Professor of Physiology & Functional Genomics at the University of Florida, Gainesville will be the honored guest speaker.

 

AWIS-SL Update

Jane Eason, Ph.D., P.T., President 

The AWIS Southern Louisiana chapter is dedicated to empowering women in science and technology by providing a platform for networking opportunities and career development programs, and to promoting an interest in science among girls and young women.  The AWIS Southern Louisiana chapter welcomes all persons interested in furthering the careers of women in science.

The cost to join the national organization is $150.00 annually as a professional member and $65.00 annual for junior members (students, postdocs).  To join only the AWIS-SL chapter only, professional and junior member dues are $25.00 annually and $10.00 annually for students.  We use this money to help fund our Outstanding Young Scientist Travel Award for graduate students/post-docs as well as for other community outreach events.  If you are interested in joining the local AWIS chapter, please contact our treasurer, Allison Augustus-Wallace at awall1@lsuhsc.edu.

We’ve had a busy spring with our mentoring lecture series.  Dr. Mary Coleman provided an excellent seminar titled “The Art of Healthy Feedback” on February 9 and Dr. Florencia Polite provided another excellent seminar titled “The Mentor/Mentee Relationship – How to Make the Most of Your Role” on April 27.  Both speakers provided great information on various aspects of mentoring that the audience appreciated.

We hosted a coffee social on March 15 as an opportunity for those who find it difficult to attend networking opportunities later in the workday.  We had a good turnout with 7 mentees and 10 mentors attending the coffee social.  We were able to provide some targeted mentoring with the mentees and share experiences with each other.  We are planning to hold another coffee social in the summer.

If anyone is interested in learning more about us, please contact anyone on the Executive Committee; we’d be glad to provide more information.

Local Executive Board members are: 

  • Jane Eason (SAHP), President
  • Tekeda Ferguson (SOPH), Secretary
  • Allison Augustus-Wallace (SOM), Treasurer
  • Angela Amedee (SOM), Past-President
  • Crescent Combe (SOM) – Post-Doc Representative
  • Adrienne McGinn (Graduate Studies) – Graduate Student Representative

SOM Grants

Congratulations to the following researchers for obtaining extramural funding from federal, state, and independent sources between January 1 – Febraury 28, 2017!

NOTE: the Office of the Dean provided the information below to The Pulse.  If there is any information that was inadvertently omitted, please contact the editor (aholle@lsuhsc.edu) so a correction can be printed in the next issue of The Pulse.

National Institutes of Health – R01:

  • Wayne Backes, Ph.D. (Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics)
  • Jason Gardner, Ph.D. (Physiology), Xinping Yue, M.D., Ph.D. (Physiology) and Eric Lazartigues, Ph.D. (Pharmacology) – multiple PI

National Institutes of Health – R21:

  • Yaguang Xi, M.D., Ph.D. (Genetics)

National Science Foundation:

  • Sunyoung Kim, Ph.D. (Biochemistry)

LSU LIFT Grant:

  • Sunyoung Kim, Ph.D. (Biochemistry)
  • Michael Lan, Ph.D. (Genetics)
  • Ashok Ayar, Ph.D. (Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology)

University and Private Hospitals:

  • Melissa Ann Spera, M.D. (Gastroenterology)
    • University of Colorado
  • Kellen Jex, M.D. (Gastroenterology)
    • University of Colorado

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC):

  • Matthew Lammi, M.D. (Pulmonary/Critical Care and Allergy/Immunology)

Pharmaceuticals and Companies:

  • Clifford Crutcher, M.D. (Neurosurgery)
    • CoreLink Surgical
    • Stryker Craniomaxillofacial
  • Anthony DiGiorgio, D.O. (Neurosurgery)
    • Globus Medical
  • Adam Riker, M.D., F.A.C.S. (Surgery)
    • NewLink Genetics Corp.

Approach Removes Thyroid Gland without Neck Scarring or Need for Special Equipment

A surgical approach developed by ENT surgeons at LSU Health New Orleans to perform thyroidectomies without scarring the neck appears to be just as successful as standard surgery. When originally used, the approach, which involves making an incision behind the ear instead of in the neck, took advantage of modern robotics and endoscopic technology. It was available to patients only at centers with this specialized equipment. A new study led by Rohan Walvekar, MD, Associate Professor of Otorhinolaryngology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, shows that the same approach can be employed using standard surgical equipment and techniques, making it much more widely available. The study was published online in the Indian Journal of Otolaryngology Head and Head & Neck Surgery January 16, 2017.

Thyroidectomy has been the gold standard procedure for surgical management of thyroid disorders. There has been a concentrated effort over the last two decades to provide alternative approaches to the thyroid gland to avoid the neck scar associated with thyroid surgery. These approaches have been possible due to the incorporation of robotic and endoscopic technology. However, while there continues to be a demand for what is termed “distant” access thyroid surgery, these procedures involve the use of specialized instrumentation and require specially trained surgeons – both of which are only available at select centers in the country. In addition, the use of robotic technology for thyroid surgery is not FDA approved for this indication.

Over an 18-month period, Walvekar examined the outcomes of 10 patients who underwent open retro-auricular thyroidectomy with a slightly modified incision from the original technique. The incision follows the principles of standard face-lift approach incision that optimizes incision placement – hidden in the hairline and a natural skin crease. There were no major complications, and all patients reported satisfaction with the results.

Co-authors include Drs. Jason Trahan, Laura Pelaez, Michael DiLeo, Daniel Nuss and Leslie S. Son, all of LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine’s Department of Otorhinolaryngology.