April 2013 Newsletter

Department of Medicine eNewsletter
April 2013
:: Interview
:: Department News
:: Department Events
:: Leadership Council Minutes
Website's New Features

Research Abstract Directory

Recent Grand Rounds Recordings

"Beyong Methicillin Resistance: Emerging Controversies in the Treatment of Staphilococcus Aureus" by Usha Stiefel, MD


"Update on the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation: Rate vs. Rhythm Control" by Albert Waldo, MD

Leadership Council
April 2013

Chair ::

R. Walsh


Present ::

B. Arafah

K. Armitage

A. Askari

R. Bonomo

R. Chandra

F. Cominelli

M. Cooney

F. Creighton

S. Gravenstein

T. Hostetter
D. Hricik
M. Jain
R. Salata
R. Schilz
D. Simon
D. Slobozhanina
R. Walsh


Recorded by ::
A. Staruch
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department interview

Jackson Wright, MD, Clinical Hypertension Program Director, discusses the importance of minority health care, explains the unique services Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative offers to investigators and shares his thoughts on the future development of the Hypertension Program.

What is the Clinical Hypertension Program at University Hospitals Case Medical Center concentrating on right now? What are some of the goals it has set for 2013?


The Clinical Hypertension Program (CHP) continues to serve patients with complicated hypertension. However, its major focus will remain its research agenda. The CHP is comprised of only two faculty, Mahboob Rahman, MD, a nationally renowned investigator in hypertension and renal epidemiology and me. However, over the past two decades, it has been successful in attracting more than $50 million of NIH and industry-sponsored research funding to the institution. CHP has held a leadership role in many of the major cardiovascular clinical outcome trials over the past 20 years, in particular those that deal with minority patients. These include some of the best known cardiovascular and renal outcome trials with acronyms like AASK, ALLHAT, CRIC, LIFE, DASH, ACCOMPLISH, A-HeFT and currently the SPRINT and SYMPLICITY trials. We plan to build on this legacy and use these high-profile studies in our portfolio to further enhance our national image. There are only a handful of hypertension programs that can boast of similar accomplishments.



You have held leadership roles in a great number of clinical trials conducted in black populations over the past two decades. Why do you believe health care in minority populations in still a hot topic?


Minority health care (especially in blacks) should remain a pressing topic for research because the hospitalization and mortality rates continue to be highest in these populations. In addition, the higher rates of disability result from very common disorders. Furthermore, most of the adverse outcomes occur because of the lack of data and lack of resources for better treatment in minority populations. Since this is an area that historically has been underfunded and understudied, racial health disparities continues to be a critical topic that needs to be investigated.



You were one of the leaders NIH selected to conduct the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). Where does the trial stand currently? Are you happy with the progress you and your colleagues have made so far?


That is correct; we were selected to be one of five Clinical Center Networks to conduct the trial. Our network is responsible for 19 SPRINT sites in Cleveland, Columbus, New York City, Philadelphia and New Orleans. In addition to serving as a PI of Case Western Reserve University SPRINT network, I also chair both the Publications and the Intervention Committees for this trial.


The trial has just ended its recruitment phase. It had a recruitment target of 9,250 patients, and we successfully recruited 9,361. The next step is to treat the participants to either a target systolic blood pressure of less than 140mmHg or a target less than 120mmHg and follow the participants for up to four more years to see which target blood pressure is more effective in preventing the dreaded cardiovascular, kidney and neurologic (including dementia) complications of hypertension.



Could you tell us about your work with Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC)?


I am currently the Program Director of the William T. Dahms, MD Clinical Research Unit, one of three components of the CTSC; the other two units are located at Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth Medical Center. Since 2007 we have been working with the leadership of the three units to coordinate and consolidate our resources into a single component performing clinical research involving adults and children. The access and resources of the research unit are available to all investigators at the three sites, Case Western Reserve University investigators and beyond.


We continue to provide quality inpatient and outpatient research support to clinical and translational investigators. Two years ago we opened a Phase I Clinical Research Unit, the Coleman Research Suite in University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. We have recently announced the opening of the community-based clinical research units at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center, a campus of UH Regional Hospitals, and University Hospitals Otis Moss Jr. Health Center.


Also we are now able to provide research coordinators to investigators conducting clinical research at University Hospitals. The DCRU provides expert support to investigators with inpatient and outpatient space, research nursing, metabolic kitchen, and a core laboratory for sample collection and specialized analyses. Satisfaction surveys of investigators have shown consistent positive feedback on the services that we provide.



With the latest developments in hypertension research you have touched on, how do you see the Hypertension Program developing over the next few years?


One of the most pressing needs is to stay current both in clinical care and in research. The Clinical Hypertension Program at UH Case Medical Center is well-positioned to meet this challenge. Specifically, our collaboration with Sahil Parikh, MD, at University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, is evaluating renal denervation representing leading-edge new therapy for patients with resistant hypertension. Dr. Rahman serves on the Hypertension Advisory Council for the American Society of Nephrology. I have been serving on the JNC8 Panel, that will soon publish the U.S. national guidelines for treatment of hypertensive patients. Finally, Jeff Garvinhas, MD, recently joined the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Potential future collaborations with him and his basic hypertension research program should enhance research at this institution in both clinical and basic hypertension. With new therapies in place and improved access to both new and existing therapies, the future for the CHP at UH Case Medical Center appears quite bright.

Department of Medicine 2011-2012 Annual Report Receives Prestigious Design Award

The Department of Medicine 2011-2012 Annual Report received Silver Award recognition for print excellence and design by Printing Industries, a consortium of graphic design and printing organizations covering most of the Midwest. The department's report was submitted by Great Lakes Integrated Printing under the consortium's Annual Report judging category.

The annual report is the primary printed offering of the department summarizing yearly progress in our tripate mission of research, education and patient care. The annual report is a collaborative undertaking between the Chairman, Administrative Director, Vice Chairs, Program Directors and Division Chiefs. Report content, photography and overall production coordination is under the direction of Dasha Slobozhanina, the Department's Manager of Interactive Media and Communications.



You are invited to review the report which can be found on the Department of Medicine website.

department news report

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Marco Costa, MD, Chris Longenecker, MD, Robert Salata, MD, and Daniel Simon, MD, were awarded $1,370,000 grant from the Medtronic Foundation for their project entitled "Bridging the Treatment Gap for RHD in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Uganda - Case Western Reserve University Partnership CWRU/Uganda."

Saptarsi Haldar, MD, received 2012 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award for his project entitled "Creating a New Treatment Approach for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy." Dr. Haldar's award of $300,000 will help him in evaluating whether increasing the level of Kruppel-like factor 15 (KLF 15) gene will mimic the effect the steroid drugs have on the muscle-wasting disease without the usual side effects.



Schedule a clinical appointment with Cardiovascular Medicine physicians






Division of General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics

Karen Horowitz, MD, was appointed Diabetes Program Chief at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Horowitz will lead an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, and technical staff in the development and implementation of programs related to diabetes to facilitate quality improvement, adoption of best practices and education of patients, physicians, nurses and support staff throughout the institution.
Brook Watts, MD, was appointed Co-Chair of the Clinical Advisory Committee for Better Health Greater Cleveland, an independent nonprofit regional health collaborative that is part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality Initiative. The focus of the collaboration is to help make Northeast Ohio a healthier place to live and a better place to do business through a variety of initiatives, including electronic medical record-based performance reporting.

Schedule a clinical appointment with General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics physicians





Division of Hematology & Oncology

Nathan Berger, MD, was selected a new standing member of the National Cancer Institute Basic Mechanisms of Cancer Therapeutics study section. This national honor recognizes Dr. Berger's scientific stature and leadership.







Matthew Cooney, MD, received a competitive award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology Conquer Cancer Foundation to sponsor a fellowship for a visiting oncologist from the Uganda Cancer Institute, Siraji Obayo, MD. Dr. Obayo will join the division in the fall, and will take part in educational and research activities, as well as clinical observership. This opportunity further expands the existing institutional relationships between Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals and Markerere University in Uganda.


Lyndsay Harris, MD, was selected as a standing member of the National Cancer Institute Developmental Therapeutics Study Section. This recognition pays tribute to Dr. Harris' significant scientific work and mentorship qualities.








Seyi Aderotoye was selected as a finalist for a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Hillard Lazarus, MD, was mentoring Seyi's project comparing various media to expand MSCs. Seyi's Fulbright proposal aims to determine the cultural and socioeconomic effects on pain management treatment for sickle cell disease patients in Nigeria.





Schedule a clinical appointment with Hematology & Oncology physicians



department conferences & events

Medicine Grand Rounds

Location: Lakeside, 5th Floor, Kulas Auditorium

Time: Tuesday, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

  • May 7 - "Cleveland, Rock and Roll, and the Legacy of University Hospitals" by Michael DeGeorgia, MD
  • May 14 - "Sleep-Disordered Breathing: What You Don't Want to Miss" by Colleen Lance, MD
  • May 21 - "A Unique Epidemic: The First Three Decades" by Charles Carpenter, MD
  • May 28 - "Duty Hour Reforms: Is the Beef There?" by Michael Bronze, MD

Morbidity and Mortality Conference Series

Location: Lakeside, 5th Floor, Kulas Auditorium

Time: Friday, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

  • May 10 - A case of a 59-year-old female with a history of end stage renal disease status post kidney transplant diagnosed with malignant melanoma from transplanted kidney
  • May 17 - A case of a 20-year-old female with systemic lupus erythematosus presents at 32 weeks pregnant with fever, shortness of breath and confusion
  • May 31 - A case of a 50-year-old female with a history of type B aortic dissection, hypertension and substance abuse admitted for chest pain found to have type A aortic dissection with cardiac tamponade from intrapericardial rupture

Research Day 2013

Research Day showcases the wide range of basic, clinical and translational research performed in the Department of Medicine. The event concentrates on stimulating meaningful discussion and creating new opportunities for collaboration among the trainees.

Date: Friday, May 3, 2013

Time: 12:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Location: Wolstein Research Building Auditorium and Lobby


Submit Your Abstract



Digestive Disease Week Reception

Date: Monday, May 20, 2013

Time: 5:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Location: The Peabody Orlando

Rainbow Spring Room

9801 International Dr., Orlando, FL 32819

RSVP: Contact Ashley Mathews at 216-844-7344 or



Spring Dinner 2013

Spring Dinner celebrates the high level of education and training in the Department of Medicine. We will be honoring our graduating class of 2013 and presenting annual awards to fellows, post-docs and faculty for exemplary work.

Date: Thursday, May 23, 2013

Time: 6:00 - 9:30 p.m.

Location: Thwing Ballroom




department leadership council minutes

Leadership Council

Dr. Armitage distributed data on the 2013 Post Match Survey Results including: how applicants heard about the CWRU/UH Case Medical Center Program, importance of the program's reputation, location, quality of housestaff, research opportunities, residency website, interview experience and benefits/salary. Dr. Armitage discussed the survey results with the council members and also announced that one or two interview days next year will be dedicated to applicants in the ABIM Research pathway.
Leadership Council

Dasha Slobozhanina, the Department of Medicine's Manager of Interactive Media and Communications, presented information on the Research Abstract Database available on the Department of Medicine website. Research projects dating back from 2010 will be featured on this site and can be searched by types of research, division, year, presenter or by subject.


Leadership Council

Drs. Hostetter and Salata reminded the council members of the Department of Medicine Research Day, which will take place on Friday, May 3 from 12 to 5:00 p.m. in the Wolstein Auditorium and Lobby.

Leadership Council
Dr. Walsh announced that Mr. Thomas Zenty, Chief Executive Officer of University Hospitals, will give a Special Medicine Grand Rounds on Tuesday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. in the Wolstein Auditorium titled "Rationale and Impact of Health Care Reform on the Nation, State and University Hospitals."

Mr. Creighton presented information on the UHCare Ambulatory EMR Implementation including: an organizational chart on the Structure/Project Governance; Overview of the Project Drivers and Goals; The Project's Scope in 2013 and Beyond; Activations/2013 Deployment Schedule; an Overview of Interfaces and Recommendations; and the Department of Medicine Paper to EMR Data Migration.


Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh updated the council on the Joint Planning Group meetings he attends with university and hospital leadership regarding the affiliation agreement between CWRU and UH Case Medical Center.


Leadership Council
Dr. Walsh gave an overview to council members on the current recruitments for the Chairs of Genetics and Ophthalmology at CWRU/UH Case Medical Center. He also outlined the process for the search for a Director of the Respiratory Health Institute where six outstanding candidates have been identified and are being contacted for first visits.

Leadership Council

Dr. Jain invited faculty to participate in the Harrington Discovery Institute's Inaugural Scientific Symposium on Thursday, May 9 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Wolstein Auditorium. Lecture will be given by Dr. Solomon H. Snyder from Johns Hopkins University.



Among the nation's leading academic medical centers, University Hospitals Case Medical Center is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, a nationally recognized leader in medical research and education.