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New Law, continued from page 5   departments. It outlines some non-opioid options for treating pain not related to trauma. We have metrics showing significant reduction in opioid administrations in our emergency departments.” Medicare evaluates hospital and physician performance on pain management, so working with patients to help them understand their pain management options is critical for satisfaction. The July 1 start was a challenge for quickly communicating the intricacies to physicians and nurses, but Foster said Baptist has entered the ICD10 codes for automatic adding during prescribing, which will hopefully alleviate any learning curve for prescribers. The governor’s TN Together plan includes funding and other programming to address the opioid epidemic. Shelby County has a disposal program, Count It! Lock It! Drop It!, and the joint city-county Opioid Task Force has unveiled their multi-faceted plan. All are efforts to attack the problem from multiple angles. Still, Dr. Harris points to the shortage of primary care physicians as one piece of the issue, preventing patients from having a point of contact for regular care and building trust. Cummins agrees, adding there is a shortage in Memphis of pain specialists and pain clinics. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Center for Addiction Science was recognized in 2016 as the first addiction medicine center of excellence in the country, but there is concern that patients will turn to illicit drugs like heroin if their pain is not managed. Often, it takes several rounds of rehab for patients to stay opioid-free. Autry Parker Jr., MD, President of the Memphis Medical Society, addressed the issue in a Memphis Medical News article last month, saying the rapid-release nature of opioids is what makes them so addictive, and the illicit opiates like fentanyl so deadly. What’s next in the fight against opioid addiction? Starting January 1, 2019, a partial fill requirement for pharmacies will begin. This requires the pharmacist to fill only  half of the first opioid prescription, and if patients require the second half of the dose, they must come back.

GrandRounds UTHSC Collaboration Publishes Research on Diabetes Drug Researchers from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) have discovered a chemical compound that could lower sugar levels as effectively as the diabetes drug Metformin but with a lower dose. This new approach to diabetes drug discovery has been published in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal. The research team includes scientists from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Along with his research team, Darryl Quarles, MD, University of Tennessee Medical Group (UTMG) Endowed Professor of Nephrology, director of the Division of Nephrology, and associate dean for Research in the College of Medicine at UTHSC, has been working with a specific protein called GPRC6A, which Darryl Quarles regulates sugar levels by simultaneously correcting multiple metabolic derangements that underlie Type 2 diabetes function. These derangements include abnormalities in pancreatic β-cell proliferation and insulin secretion, glucose uptake into skeletal muscle, and liver regulation of glucose and fat metabolism.

Saint Francis Volunteers Collect 92,180 Servings of Cereal

Saint Francis Healthcare volunteers collected 92,180 servings of cereal donated during its annual “Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive.” Both Saint Francis Healthcare operations — Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis and Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett — participated in last month’s week-long event by collecting boxes of cereal and monetary donations and by hosting various fundraisers and contests. The cereal will benefit the Mid-South Food Bank. The event will help provide Memphis-area youngsters and adults with a healthy breakfast during the summer.

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JULY 2018

University Clinical Health Promises Same-Week Rheumatology Appointments

University Clinical Health (UCH), an independent, physician-led faculty clinical practice plan of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has announced a commitment to provide appointments within a week or less of a request – at two UT Rheumatology locations in the Memphis area. UT Rheumatology also offers telehealth services to the Tipton County communities through its partnership with UT Family Medicine. A UCH spokesperson said the average wait times for rheumatology appointments in the Memphis area can edge close to six months. UCH through its UT Rheumatology service line has asserted its commitment to improving that statistic and providing rapid access to care throughout the Mid-South. UT Rheumatology is made up of Vaishnavi Pulusani, MD, who served as Chief Rheumatology resident during her tenure at UTHSC and currently serves as an assistant professor, and Bradley Postlethwaite, MD, who also serves as an assistant professor at UTHSC.

Saint Francis-Memphis Receives CARF Accreditation

Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis received a three-year accreditation, the highest level available, from CARF International (Commission of Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities) for its adult Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit. CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of persons served.

UTHSC’s Yallapu Receives Grant for Breast Cancer Drug Development

Murali Yallapu, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has received a $439,818 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue his research on developing a drug therapy to combat aggressive and late-stage Murali Yallapu breast cancer, especially triple negative breast cancer. While there are therapies that are widely used for breast cancer, there is currently no effective target for triple negative breast cancer cells; this is attributed to suboptimal drug delivery systems as well as cellular resistance to therapies. In his project entitled, “Targeted NanoChemosensitization of Breast Cancers,” Yallapu is using a novel delivery system to deliver a natural compound called curcumin – which has been shown to have potent effects on cells but lacks strong movement within the body – for cancer therapeutic applications. Through this grant, Yallapu and his

research team (Prashanth Kumar, PhD, Pallabita Chowdhury, and Elham Hatami) will be funded for three years to investigate how to best sensitize resistant cells using his novel magnetic nanoparticle delivery system to specifically target tumor cells demonstrating drug resistant properties. Yallapu and his team collaborated with the research teams of Meena Jaggi, PhD, and Subhash Chauhan, PhD , who are also faculty of the UTHSC College of Pharmacy, for successful implementation of this research – which is significant because the FDA has yet to approve a targeted based therapy, placing Yallapu at the front lines of this novel research. This grant has more than just a research element to its benefits. It also includes training for doctoral students, improving infrastructure and other facilities within the College of Pharmacy.

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