May 2014 Newsletter

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Department of Medicine eNewsletter
May 2014
:: Interview
:: Department News
:: Department Events
:: Leadership Council Minutes
2014 Department of Medicine Awards

Master Clinician Educator
Ismail Dreshaj, MD
Anthony Post, MD
Robert Salata, MD

Faculty Teacher of the Year
Elliott Dasenbrook, MD
Dalal Chenouda, MD

Faculty Clerkship Teaching Award
Federico Perez, MD

Agre Award/Faculty Research Mentor
Richard Josephson, MD

Ambulatory Excellence
Jeffrey Beamish, MD
Heather Foreman, MD
Shalini Bumb, MD

Norman Gordon Award
Yogesh Reddy, MD

Peter Morgan Award
John Lazarus, MD

William Bernbaum Award
Prashanth Thakker, MD

Harold Klein Award
Pedro Calderon, MD

Resident Clerkship Teaching Award
Muriel Ghosn, MD
Ghady Haidar, MD

Med-Peds Resident of the Year
Seth Rotz, MD

Charles Carpenter Award
Vivek Murthy, MD
2014 Research Day Awards

Fellow Category
Leland Metheny, MD
Andrew Blum, MD
Amer Alaiti, MD
Roberto Viau, MD

Post-Doc Category
Daniele Corridoni, PhD
Alex Rodriguez-Palacios, PhD
Neelakantan Vasudevan, PhD
Sethu Madhavan, MD

Graduate Student Category
Ryan Fecteau
Andrew Harding
Ashley Trotter
Sharita Hill and Brynne Presser

Resident Category
Ahmed Alsalem, MD
William Hannah, MD
Sadeer Al-Kindi, MD
Aditya Khetan, MD
Ahmad Younes, MD
Lesley Kellie, MD
Nathan Stehouwer, MD
Leadership Council
May 2014
Richard Walsh


B. Arafah

K. Armitage

R. Chandra

F. Cominelli

F. Creighton

S. Gravenstein

T. Hostetter

D. Hricik

N. Meropol

R. Moskowitz

R. Salata

R. Schilz

D. Simon

R. Walsh

B. Watts

J. Wright



P. Thomas, Vice Dean of Medical Education, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University

D. Leizman, Director, Medicine Core Clerkship


Recorded by:
A. Staruch
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Welcome to the Department of Medicine Agre Society
department interview
Robert Bonomo, MD, Chief of the Medical Service at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, talks about the VA's strategic goals, discussed the importance of quality initiatives and notes the biggest trend taking place in health care right now.



What are your strategic priorities for medical service at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center for the next three to five years?

Our number one priority is to deliver compassionate and competent patient care. Our medical service is dedicated to providing health care that is of high quality, efficient and easily accessible to patients. Our second most important responsibility is to be the best doctors we can be - to be at the forefront of academic medicine and medical education.

We achieve these goals by teaching commitment to excellence in our faculty, fellows, residents and students. Physicians in academic medicine have a lasting impact on house staff by becoming exemplary role models in clinical care and in the quest for knowledge. The Cleveland VA is very fortunate to have men and women faculty who are strongly dedicated to our patients and to the education of our fellows, residents and students. In 31 years here, I have seen this facility grow to be a world-class leader in these important areas.


Our medical service also has a responsibility to the Medical Center. We want to be efficient while delivering quality health care that is measurable and sustainable over time. I think that the attributes of a good medical service are those that prioritize quality patient care, endorse stewardship, and provide a supportive environment for the next generations of doctors. By being engaged in the synergy between the clinical and academic missions of the hospital, we can truly create a unique health care delivery system.


Among these strategic priorities is the desire to be a career mentor to my faculty. I have been fortunate to have enjoyed a very fulfilling period of my career in investigative research and have appreciated teaching the importance of this activity for the betterment of patient care. I see a lot of what physicians do as the epitome of translational research. I hope to instill in our faculty, by example, the enthusiasm for seeking opportunities to improve the daily lives and welfare of our patients. I encourage all to ask the right questions.

What initiatives have you put in place to excel in these priorities?

As the house staff proceed through their training, we try to focus on what really matters in their education as doctors. This involves a focused and strong commitment to active learning on multiple levels, including our daily rounds, Morbidity and Mortality conference, Morning Report led by Dr. George Naff, Professor Rounds, and special educational lectures given by internationally known leaders in medicine. We are also keen on helping residents and fellows develop a sense of inquisitiveness in their work. This emphasis was clearly exemplified at the most recent Research Day in our department, where many residents and fellows presented meaningful findings based on their clinical experience at the VA.


Every institution is only as good as its people. Drs. Sarah Augustine, Todd Smith and Brook Watts are very involved in the day-to-day operations of the medical service and oversee highly effective clinical, academic and quality programs. In the past few years, we have promoted quality programs and specialty care areas in sleep medicine, COPD, lung cancer, diabetes, influenza, MRSA, hepatitis C, colon cancer screening, HIV/AIDS, congestive heart failure, hypertension, aging and dementia, and musculoskeletal medicine that have a major impact on the care of our patients. Our two Centers of Excellence (one in Primary Care under Dr. Mimi Singh and one in Cancer Care under Dr. Lisa Arfons) are models in the VA system.


In addition, every month we conduct a research forum, led by Drs. Yngve

Falck-Ytter and Curtis Donskey, that is dedicated to assisting faculty in the development of proposals. Many of our faculty also take a very active role in reviewing the applications that come for our institution that are submitted to the NIH and Merit Review Board. We have an active peer review process that tries to teach the basics of a successful application.

In your opinion, why is the focus on quality initiatives so important at this day and age?

Bringing quality to the forefront is a natural progression of the recent growth and evolution of medicine. Quality is what patients are asking from us. We understand that we need to do what is right for our patients and base our delivery of care on evidence and practices that are most beneficial and effective. For example, at the VA we have a nationally recognized program on Women's Health. Under the leadership of Dr. Phyllis Nsiah-Kumi, we are at the forefront of innovative programs in this area. Like no other health care system in the world, the VA has the ability to organize and focus its clinical efforts, resources and modern facilities to the most important challenges in medicine. As a result, we are in a unique position to create standards of care and execute them. One only needs to look at how far ahead the VA is in this area; many hospitals model their programs and electronic medical record on the practice of the VA.

What are some of the recent trends that you are witnessing take place at the VA medical system?

The VA is continuously evolving to be more patient-centered. The primacy of the patients and their journey through the health care system have become the centers of focus at the VA. When a person comes into the VA, he or she is the most important person in the world to us. Everything is focused on helping our patients: from assisting them in the transition from the community to the hospital heath care setting and ensuring quality during their hospital stay, to encouraging participation of patients in their health care and enlisting their input in the decision-making process. When patients leave the facility to go home, our programs offer multiple ways to integrate them back into their home environment seamlessly and ensure they function effectively in the community. I'm proud that medical service has grown to this point where a patient's experience has become the paramount focus of today's health care. To reiterate the title of Phillip Longman's book, we strive to give "the best care anywhere."

The department news report

Division of Gastroenterology & Liver Disease

Amitabh Chak, MD, and his team identified that a change in the DNA, methylation of the vimentin gene, can be an effective, new, less-invasive test for detecting Barrett's esophagus. The new finding shows promise in improving screening for esophageal cancer and its precursor, Barret's esophagus.





Fabio Cominelli, MDFabio Cominelli, MD, PhD,
and Carlos Subauste, MD, were awarded $25,000 from the project entitled "Manipulation of CD40 Signaling to Control Inflammatory Bowel Disease" in Team Science Challenge. This award from the Department of Medicine will provide support in advancing modern medical research.






Madeleine Murphy, DNP, CNP,
was recognized for her dedicated work by the American Liver Foundation and is featured in a tribute for National Nurses Week. Ms. Murphy was nominated by the Heartland Division of the American Liver Foundation; this recognition celebrates Ms. Murphy's contributions to nursing and treatment, prevention and cure of liver disease.


Schedule a clinical appointment with Gastroenterology & Liver Disease physicians





Division of General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics

Debra Leizman, MD, and Charlie LoPresti, MD, were elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. They were recognized as physicians who exemplify dedication to professionalism, leadership, scholarship and service to community. Two of our residents, Maria Barcena, MD, and Khanjan Shah, MD, were also inducted to the society as residents.






Karen Horowitz, MD, received the Wings of Excellence award from the Cleveland Federal Executive Board and Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. The award recognizes employees whose outstanding performances, either on or off the job, have served as an inspiration to others and brought credit to the Federal service.










Division of Hematology & Oncology


Cheng Chee, MD, received a 2014 Mary Hellerstein Junior Faculty Professional Development Award from the Women Faculty of the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. This competitive award distinguishes Dr. Chee's outstanding potential for a promising career in academic medicine.





Lyndsay Harris, MD,
Ruth Keri, PhD (Department of Pharmacology), and Gurkan Beber, PhD (Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics), received $25,000 for their multidisciplinary proposal entitled "The Role of BCL11A in Triple Negative Breast Cancers" in Team Science Challenge.

Jane Little, MD,
received a 2014 Helen Evans Mid-Career Faculty Development Award from the Women Faculty of the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. The award will fund Dr. Little's leadership training through the Weatherhead School of Management.




Stephen Fink, PhD, and Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, presented evidence that aspirin can prevent colon cancer, notably this benefit is only present in people with high levels of 15-HPGD in their colons. The breakthrough article entitled "Aspirin and the Risk of Colon Cancer in Relation to the Expression of 15-Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenase (HPGD)" was published in the Science Translational Medicine Journal.
In addition, Dr. Markowitz and Edward Greenfield, PhD, from the Department of Orthopaedics, were awarded $25,000 for their project entitled "Inhibition of 15-PGDH and Skeletal Repair" in Team Science Challenge.

Paula Silverman, MD
, became the recipient of the 2014 Women of Professional Excellence Award from the YWCA of Greater Cleveland. This honor pays tribute to Dr. Silverman's extraordinary accomplishments through career success, community service, leadership and mentoring.

Schedule a clinical appointment with Hematology & Oncology physicians








Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine


Amy Ray, MD, was elected to serve on the University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center Board of Directors. Dr. Ray will chair the UH Ahuja Medical Center Quality and Professional Affairs Committee.









Schedule a clinical appointment with Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine physicians





Division of Nephrology & Hypertension


Joshua Augustine, MD, will become the new Medical Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Programs.

Ten Questions with New Chief Residents


We have an outstanding group of new Chief Residents starting with us in just a few days. We asked them about the important things they learned during residency, most inspirational things they witnessed in the hospital, and things they truly cannot live without.

Get to know this young group of leaders and read their individual interviews here.

department conferences & events

Summer Picnic

Summer Picnic offers residents an afternoon filled with fun, grilling and outside activities, including our famous pie eating contest.

Date: Thursday, June 12

Time: 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Location: Squire Valeevue Farm, 37125 Fairmount Blvd., Hunting Valley 44022



Morbidity and Mortality Conferences

When: Fridays, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Where: Kulas Auditorium, Lakeside, 5th Floor


June 6
A 79-year-old critically ill male is diagnosed with an unusual cause of acidosis and has a remarkable recovery.

June 13
A 41-year-old male with AIDS presents with jaundice and is found to have both acute hepatic and renal failure.

June 20
A 32-year-old male with an epidural abscess develops hemorrhagic shock and has a complicated hospital course.



Bronson's Day 2014
This year our intern class enjoyed a winning game at Progressive Field with plenty of good food, drinks, laughter and bonding.

Spring Dinner 2014
Spring Dinner was a heartfelt family event full of touching speeches, well-deserved awards and warm atmosphere. The Senior Skit was an absolute hit with the audience and can be viewed at the link below. The Class of 2014 is an absolutely outstanding group of young physicians and we wish them the best of success in their future careers.

department leadership council minutes


Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh introduced Dr. Patricia Thomas, Vice Dean for Medical Education. Dr. Thomas gave the council members an overview of the Health Education Campus, including plans for the space assignments, types of facilities that will be available, and technology for this inter-professional education space. Dr. Walsh thanked Dr. Thomas for her presentation.


Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh distributed data on Department of Medicine Teaching Hours compiled by Drs. Armitage and Leizman. During the 2012 - 2013 academic year, Department of Medicine faculty totaled more than 11,000 hours of preclinical education and clinical education teaching hours of Case Western Reserve University medical students. Both University Hospitals and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center faculty participate extensively in these programs.

Leadership Council

Dr. Jackson Wright gave an update on the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC).



Leadership Council

Dr. Walsh announced that the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Care will be part of the Department of Medicine. A national search has begun for a Division Chief. Dr. Stefan Gravenstein has agreed to be the Interim Division Chief of this division.



Dr. Walsh reminded council members that the External Review of the Department of Medicine will take place June 16 - 18. He asked council members to be available during these dates for any meetings requested through the Dean's office.


Leadership Council

Drs. Hostetter and Salata announced that the Annual Department of Medicine Research Day was a success. A survey was recently sent out for additional feedback. There were a record number of attendees and poster presentations.



Leadership Council

Dr. Armitage announced that the Department of Medicine Spring Dinner will take place on Thursday, May 22 at 6:00 p.m. in Thwing.



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.