WINTER 2014 CONNECTING ALUMNI, FRIENDS AND COMMUNITY THE UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
IN SEARCH OF
BEST PLACES TO PRACTICE
HOW DO YOUNG DOCTORS DECIDE WHERE TO WORK?
BREAKING NEW GROUND! CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW MEDICAL SCHOOL DOWNTOWN On October 15, University at Buffalo broke ground on its new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Scheduled to open in 2016, the school is being constructed on two acres at Main and High streets— returning it to where it resided from 1893 until 1953. The eight-story, 540,000-square-foot building is the largest individual construction project in UB’s 168-year history and will be one of the largest buildings constructed in the City of Buffalo in decades.
PHOTO BY DOUGLAS LEVERE
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy B. Zimpher, center, with others who helped make this historic day happenâ€”from left, State Assemblyman Sean Ryan, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, State Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, State Senator George Maziarz, UB President Satish K. Tripathi, Mayor Byron Brown, Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean Michael E. Cain, M&T Bank CEO Robert Wilmers, and State Senator Mark Grisanti.
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
Michael E. Cain, MD Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
UB MEDICINE MAGAZINE, Winter 2014, Vol. 2, No. 1
Editor Stephanie A. Unger
Contributing Writers Jim Bisco, John DellaContrada, Ellen Goldbaum, Charlotte Hsu, Judson Mead, Lee Pearce
VITAL LINES Progress notes
Copy Editor Tom Putnam
Proofreader Mary Cochrane
Partnerships at work
Photography Joseph Cascio, Philip J. Cavuoto, Sandra Kicman, Douglas Levere
26 DOCTOR VISITS
Art Direction & Design Alan Kegler, Nick Peterson OfďŹ ce of University Communications
Editorial Advisers John J. Bodkin, II, MD â€™76 Elizabeth A. Repasky, PhD â€™81
Major AfďŹ liated Teaching Hospitals Erie County Medical Center Roswell Park Cancer Institute Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System
People in the news
32 Q & A Douglas Levere
Conversations with experts
Kinga Szgeti, MD, PhD, leads new Alzheimerâ€™s research and treatment program.
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18 A PATH FORWARD COVER IMAGE: Jennifer Yerke, MD â€™12, is a family medicine resident who plans to stay home in Western New York and practice in a rural or suburban setting.
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Kaleida Healthâ€™s Buffalo General Medical Center Women & Childrenâ€™s Hospital of Buffalo Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital Catholic Healthâ€™s Mercy Hospital of Buffalo Sisters of Charity Hospital Correspondence, including requests to be added to or removed from the mailing list, should be sent to: Editor, UB Medicine, 901 Kimball Tower, Buffalo, NY 14214; or email email@example.com UB Medicine is published by the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to inform its alumni, friends and community about the schoolâ€™s pivotal role in medical education, research and advanced patient care in Buffalo, Western New York and beyond. Visit us: http://medicine.buffalo.edu 13-DVC-044
U B M E D V I TA L L I N E S
A SPECIAL CELEBRATION—BREAKING NEW GROUND! Alumni, faculty, students and friends gathered on October 10 for a once-in-a-lifetime event to celebrate the new medical school’s groundbreaking, to recognize the generous support of leadership annual donors (members of the James Platt White Society) and to honor recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Awards (see article on page 30). From left, Deborah Cohen, Sol Messinger, MD ’57, Gary Cohen, MD ’58, and Joseph Chazan, MD ’60.
From left, Roger S. Dayer, MD ’60, James R. Kanski, MD ’60, Genevieve W. Kanski, and David Draper.
Medical students, from left: Chan Li-A-Ping (Class of 2015), Rachel Stewart (Class of 2016), Christopher Schwarz (Class of 2016), Peter Ackerman (Class of 2015), Julie Garchow (Class of 2014), Ray St. Marie (Class of 2016), and Trevor York (Class of 2016.)
U B M E D V I TA L L I N E S
SCHOOL HONORS A NEW LEVEL OF SUPPORT The Office of Medical Development and Alumni Relations in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has instituted a new society to honor major donors to the school’s fundraising campaign. Called the Circle of Visionaries, it recognizes campaign gifts of $100,000 or more. “At each critical stage in its history, the medical school has been the beneficiary of farsighted men and women whose actions created, sustained and grew the school, and we want to recognize our major donors today as being visionaries just as those men and women were,” says Eric Alcott, senior associate dean for Medical Development and Alumni Relations. Charles R. Niles, MD ’83, of Ophthalmology Associates in Williamsville, N.Y., and his wife, Ellen Niles, co-chair the Circle of Visionaries.
As of Oct. 1, 2013, the Circle of Visionaries had welcomed 22 donors (some now deceased), whose gifts can be directed to any facet of the medical school’s campaign. The newest members include: Melvin M. Brothman, MD ’58, and Mrs. Elaine S. Brothman; Michael E. Cohen, MD ’61, and Mrs. Joan Cohen; Robert Einhorn, MD ’72, and Mrs. Dinah G. Einhorn; Thomas J. Guttuso Sr., MD ’60, and Mrs. Barbara L. Guttuso; the Highgate Medical Group; Michael Lippmann, MD ’70, and Julie Lippmann; Robert Milch, MD ’68, and Linda Milch; Charles and Ellen Niles; Mrs. Denise Scheig; and Rony Shimony, MD ’84, and Catherine Shimony. All Circle of Visionaries members will be recognized in a special donor tribute to be located in the main lobby of the new medical school when it is completed in 2016. Inquiries about joining the Circle of Visionaries should be directed to Kim Venti at (716) 829-2773, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
UB RECEIVES $25 MILLION GRANT TO TRANSFORM STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY The University at Buffalo, representing a national consortium of eight research universities and institutes, has been awarded a $25 million Science and Technology Center grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to transform the field of structural biology, including drug development. With the grant, UB and its partner institutions will establish the BioXFEL research center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The BioXFEL (pronounced bio-x-fell) center will focus on developing new X-ray bioimaging techniques—including an advanced form of X-ray crystallography called serial femtosecond crystallography—to analyze a vast array of new molecular targets for drug discovery. This technique has the potential to spur muchneeded innovation in the pharmaceutical field. It will provide scientists with new insights into how biological molecules function, what might be happening when disease occurs and what compounds might be designed as drugs to modify this activity. “Together with its partners, UB is proud to announce this highly competitive award,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi at a November 6 press conference. “NSF selects just a handful of Science
and Technology Center winners every four years from a pool of hundreds of applicants. This research builds on Western New York’s rich legacy of expertise in X-ray crystallography, historically based within the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute and UB’s Department of Structural Biology.” Alexander N. Cartwright, PhD, vice president for research and economic development at UB, adds: “The BioXFEL center has the potential to transform the way scientists study diseases and develop new treatments. The late Herbert Hauptman won the Nobel Prize in 1985 with Jerome Karle for the development of direct methods for determining the structures of molecules. This new UB center, in partnership with Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, will take the extraordinary promise of that 20thcentury technique and revolutionize it further for the 21st century.” Eaton E. Lattman, PhD, professor of structural biology at UB and CEO of Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, will direct the center. To read more about this research and to view a video about it, go to www.buffalo.edu/news and search BioXFEL.
NEUROSURGERY RESIDENTS ACHIEVE TOP SCORES ON NATIONAL BOARDS
Residents in UB’s neurosurgery program achieved among the 10 highest scores on the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) primary examination five times over the past 21 years, according to data compiled and released by the ABNS. UB’s program was one of 14 resident programs nationwide recently cited by ABNS for its record of achievement on the exam, which is administered each March to residents in accredited neurosurgery residency programs. “Our excellent ranking is a testament to the exceptional quality of residents who participate in our program, as well as to the innovative research conducted by our faculty and hard work of our entire team,” says Elad Levy, MD, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. Other programs cited for consistently high scores on the exam included those at the Mayo Clinic, Duke University, Washington University, Stanford University, University of Miami, and University of California, San Francisco.
UB neurosurgery residents Naser Jaleel, MD, PhD, year four, and Michael Kogan, MD, PhD, year one, discussing a case during a brain endoscopy course.
IMAGING CENTER DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO RESEARCH Biomedical researchers in Buffalo now have round-the-clock access to the most advanced imaging scanners available, as a result of four major acquisitions. The scanners are housed in the new Molecular and Translational Imaging Center in UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The new imaging center—Western New York’s first biomedical imaging facility dedicated exclusively to research—now includes the following: * 9.4 Tesla Bruker MRI (one of the first in the country equipped with a cryoprobe, a device that increases scanning resolution threefold, which is particularly important for tissuesample imaging) * GE Discovery PET-CT 690 scanner (supported by a National Institutes of Health shared instrumentation grant) Through a research agreement with Toshiba, a Toshiba Vantage Titan 3 Tesla MR scanner was installed in December 2013, and a Toshiba Aquilon 320 slice CT will be installed in 2014. “The Imaging Center is a major step forward for clinical research
in Buffalo,” says Timothy F. Murphy, MD, CTRC director and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research. “State-of-the-art imaging has become an increasingly important element of translational research.” John M. Canty Jr., MD, the Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Professor of Medicine, is director of the center. Prior to the opening of the center, researchers in Buffalo were limited to using clinical scanners during offhours when not needed for patient care—an arrangement not uncommon —Timothy F. Murphy, MD at many facilities around the country.
“State-of-the-art imaging has become an increasingly important element of translational research.”
When the Imaging Center’s most powerful new scanner, the 9.4 Tesla Bruker MRI, was installed, its five-and-a-half-ton magnet had to be lifted by crane onto the seventh floor of the Clinical and Translational Research Center. After the magnet was carefully jacked onto rollers, it was moved over reinforced floors.
U B M E D V I TA L L I N E S
“We literally spent three months, full time, writing that application. As it turned out, we were one of the top reviewed applications.”
Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, with a framed copy of the 1993 UB Reporter story announcing that UB had been named a vanguard center for the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Twenty years later, UB is a regional center for WHI research and has received more than $30 million in related funding. In honor of her international contributions to medical research, WactawskiWende was presented the 2013 Stockton Kimball Award by the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
HISTORIC ROLE IN WOMEN’S HEALTH INITIATIVE Legacy lives on two decades later It was, admittedly, a long shot. Two decades ago, faculty in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences applied for a highly competitive NIH contract, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a landmark women’s health study and the largest clinical trial ever undertaken in the U.S. “We literally spent three months, full time, writing that application,” recalls Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, professor and associate chair of social and preventive medicine and vice provost for strategic initiatives, who collaborated with Maurizio Trevisan, MD, then professor and incoming chair of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. On March 30, 1993, the NIH announced that UB had been chosen as one of the 16 vanguard centers. “As it turned out, we were one of the top reviewed applications,” says Wactawski-Wende.
In 2005, UB successfully competed for a five-year extension of the original contract. In 2010, based on its success as a vanguard center, the university received an $8.2 million award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to administer a new round of studies that extend the WHI until 2015. Today, UB leads the entire Northeast region. In addition to the initial WHI contract and extension studies of more than $21 million, UB has attracted another $12 million in funding to the WHI center, due in large part to the clinical research infrastructure it has in place. The women who participated are an important part of the story, too, especially in Buffalo. “Recruiting participants for clinical trials is always just plain hard,” says Wactawski-Wende, “but the women of Western New York stepped up. UB was the first center out of the initial 16 that completed recruiting. In fact, we over-recruited!” Currently, Wactawski-Wende and her team are planning for the next submission to extend the study to 2020.
INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE AND UB SIGN COLLABORATIVE AGREEMENT Builds on existing outreach to Native American communities The Indian Health Service (IHS) and UB have agreed to work together to improve the health of Native Americans in New York State and Southern Ontario. Susan V. Karol, MD, chief medical officer for IHS, and Michael Cain, MD, UB vice president for health sciences and dean, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, have signed a memorandum of understanding that formally establishes a collaborative relationship between UB and IHS. UB will work with IHS to develop an alliance of regional public health and medical institutions to serve the priority needs of Native American communities in the areas of education, research, consultation and technical assistance, capacity building and direct services. One of the goals of the memorandum is to pursue ways the university can further assist Native American students who aspire to careers in health care, according to Karol, a member of the Tuscarora Indian Nation. UB’s relationship with IHS will involve all five of the university’s health sciences schools (medicine, public health, nursing, pharmacy
and dental medicine), and will build upon the schools’ existing outreach to Native American communities in Western New York. “Through this collaborative agreement, UB will work with regional tribal leaders to develop and offer robust public health programs to improve health and wellness among Native Americans,” says Cain. UB will engage each of the local tribal nations to understand their needs and facilitate mutually effective relationships between all parties. Further, the memorandum will allow for the development of activities of mutual interest and will represent a commitment by all parties to seek tribal nation consultation and to honor tribal nation sovereignty and self-determination in carrying out activities.
“The relationship will allow UB and IHS to work effectively together to improve the health of Native Americans in Western New York and throughout the state, as well as in Southern Ontario.”
Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, left, with Susan V. Karol, MD, chief medical officer for the Indian Health Service and a member of the Tuscarora Indian Nation.
R O S E A N N E B E R G E R , M D , senior associate dean for Graduate Medical Education
“GIVEN THAT THE COST OF MEDICAL EDUCATION LEAVES MANY YOUNG DOCTORS WITH CONSIDERABLE DEBT, SALARY AND BENEFITS PACKAGES ARE OF PRACTICAL CONSIDERATION.”
In Search of Best Places to Practice H O W D O Y O U N G D O CTO R S D E C I D E W H E R E TO W O R K ? BY S.A. UNGER PHOTOS BY DOUGLAS LEVERE
IF YOU ASK YOUNG DOCTORS WHERE THEY PLAN TO PRACTICE MEDICINE ONCE THEY COMPLETE THEIR TRAINING, YOU WILL FIND THEIR ANSWERS LIE AT THE INTERSTICES OF HEAD AND HEART. “There are many factors, intellectual and emotional, that go into making this decision, and it’s not formulaic,” says Roseanne Berger, MD, senior associate dean for graduate medical education at UB. “It’s not a straightforward process that you can chart on an Excel spreadsheet to arrive at the right answer.” Berger has been in her role for over 20 years and understands better than most just how varied and complex these factors are. Her office oversees the accreditation of 60 residency and fellowship programs sponsored by UB and manages the employment and human resources activity for approximately 750 trainees. For some young doctors, their career goals drive the decision; for others, more personal factors hold sway, such as being near family.
Factors that influence where they will someday practice often take shape while they are in medical school and are weighing options for residency training and perhaps eventually a fellowship. “Career decisions often begin with the end in mind,” explains Berger. “For example, if your goal is to be an academic physician engaged in translational research, then part of your decision is going to be influenced by such things as which institutions and communities have research strengths that match your interests.” Given that the majority of medical schools in the U.S. are located in urban areas, she adds, a resident’s decision to pursue a career in academic medicine increases the likelihood that he or she will practice in or near a city.
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VWURQJEHDULQJRQZKHUHUHVLGHQWVHYHQWXDOO\GHFLGHWRSUDFWLFHDQG WKHUHIRUHUHSUHVHQWDQRSSRUWXQLW\IRUROGHUPRUHZHOOHVWDEOLVKHG SK\VLFLDQVLQDFRPPXQLW\WRLQĂ€XHQFHWKDWFKRLFHÂ´ %HUJHUUHSRUWVWKDWLQRIWKHUHVLGHQWVJUDGXDWLQJ IURP8%UHPDLQHGLQ1HZ<RUN6WDWH2IWKHVHVWD\HGLQ(ULH &RXQW\DQGDQDGGLWLRQDOVWD\HGLQDQRWKHUFRXQW\LQ:HVWHUQ 1HZ<RUN $H[LWVXUYH\RI1HZ<RUN6WDWHUHVLGHQWVFRQGXFWHGE\WKH &HQWHUIRU+HDOWK:RUNIRUFH6WXGLHVLQ8QLYHUVLW\DW$OEDQ\ÂśV6FKRRO RI3XEOLF+HDOWKUHYHDOVWUHQGVVWDWHZLGH Âł:KLOHRQO\SHUFHQWRIWKHQHZO\WUDLQHGSK\VLFLDQVZH
BALANCING HEAD AND HEART 2QWKLVDQGWKHIROORZLQJSDJHV\RXZLOOPHHWVL[\RXQJGRFWRUVWUDLQLQJDW8%ZKRGHVFULEHÂżUVWKDQGKRZWKH\DUHÂżQGLQJZD\V to balance head and heart as they search for a best place to practice.
JENNIFER YERKE, MD â€™12, FAMILY MEDICINE
J E N N I F E R Y E R K E , M D â€™ 1 2 , Family Medicine
â€œI FEEL THEREâ€™S SUCH A NEED LOCALLY. I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE I SEE EVERY DAYâ€”THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE A COMMUNITY A COMMUNITY.â€?
Jennifer Yerke, MD â€™12, a native of Hamburg, N.Y., has known since medical school that she wanted to stay and practice in Western New York. Now, as a ďŹ rst-year resident in family medicine, she is more sure than ever. â€œGrowing up in the area, Iâ€™ve always loved it. Iâ€™ve never really gone far away because my family and friends are here.â€? When deciding where in the area she wants to practice, Yerke says she has received a lot of help from the UB Family Medicine Training Program, which gives residents exposure to different practice settings. She also has been inďŹ‚uenced by strong mentors, including a family medicine practitioner in rural Arcade, N.Y. â€œI just loved working with him,â€? she says. â€œHe embodied all that I hope to be when I am practicing. He knew all his patients: when he walked in the room, he didnâ€™t have to look at their charts. He knew about their lives and their families, and when he went to the local supermarket, he would see them there.â€? Yerke adds that her decision about where to practice also depends on her learning the business side of medicine. â€œA lot of people go into well-established practices to learn how things are run in the real world before feeling comfortable enough to go out on their own or join a small clinic.â€? In the years ahead, Yerke sees herself being in a rural or suburban practice. â€œI feel thereâ€™s such a need locally. I want to help people I see every dayâ€”the people who make a community a community.â€?
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BHARATH RAJAGOPALAN, MD, INTERNAL MEDICINE/ CARDIOLOGY Bharath Rajagopalan, MD, graduated from a top medical school in India, and because he had almost perfect scores on the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam, he was invited to interview at 34 schools for his residency. After doing a rotation in Buffalo for a month prior to entering the Residency Match, the experience was so positive, he withdrew from the match and entered UBâ€™s training program in internal medicine in 2010. This year, he is serving as chief resident and has his sights set on a cardiology fellowship at UB because of the quality of the program. Rajagopalanâ€™s decision about where to practice hinges almost exclusively on his aim to pursue a career in academic medicine, so he knows he will need to â€œstick near a medical school, and this more than likely means I will be based in a city.â€? He is also looking for professional continuity. â€œIf I end up being a fellow at UB, I will have been in Buffalo seven years, so I will know the system and will have built up professional relationships,â€? he says. â€œIf I go somewhere else, I will have to reestablish my reputation all over again.â€? He also places a high premium on being in a place that is growing. â€œBuffalo has much to offer that way with the new medical school and the Gates Vascular Institute,â€? he says. In all his plans, Rajagopalan will have to accommodate his visa status and remains positive that he will be able to do so.
B H A R A T H R A J A G O P A L A N , M D , Internal Medicine/Cardiology
â€œBUFFALO HAS MUCH TO OFFER WITH THE NEW MEDICAL SCHOOL AND GATES VASCULAR INSTITUTE.â€?
WHILE ONLY 44 PERCENT OF THE NEWLY TRAINED PHYSICIANS WE SURVEYED REPORTED PLANS TO PRACTICE IN THE STATE, OF THESE, THE VAST MAJORITYâ€”86 PERCENTâ€”WERE PLANNING TO PRACTICE IN THE REGION WHERE THEY TRAINED. â€”DAVID P. ARMSTRONG, Center for Health Workforce Studies
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BALANCING HEAD AND HEART RASHMI BISMARK, MD, MPH, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE
R A S H M I B I S M A R K , M D , M P H , Preventive Medicine
â€œITâ€™S IMPORTANT TO COMPROMISE. IF ONE PERSON FEELS UNFULFILLED, IT CAN CREATE PROBLEMS.â€?
Years ago, when Rashmi Bismark, MD, MPH, and her husband, Bradley, a banker, were planning to marry, they made a pact regarding career decisions. â€œWe can both get very driven by our work, so we agreed we would take turns making decisions,â€? says Rashmi, who just completed a year as chief resident in the Department of Preventive Medicine in UBâ€™s School of Public Health and Health Professions. After the couple married, Bradley, who works for HSBC, was the ďŹ rst to choose. As a result, shortly after Rashmi completed a preliminary year of residency near her hometown of Sherrill, N.Y., they moved to Bangalore, India, for a year and a half assignment that turned into three years. Bradley then had an opportunity to transfer to Paris, which the couple agreed they couldnâ€™t pass up. While in Paris, their two daughters were born. The next move was Rashmiâ€™s to make, so the couple came to Buffalo, where Rashmi completed her residency. â€œBuffalo was a good choice for many reasons,â€? she says. â€œWith our kids, it was nice to be close to family, but we also felt very good about the schools and we love living in Elmwood Village.â€? Currently, the couple is weighing their next move, which is Bradleyâ€™s. Likely, it will be overseas, where Rashmi sees herself teaching or working for a nongovernmental organization. Rashmi knows of other young doctors who are balancing careers with spouses. â€œItâ€™s important to compromise,â€? she says. â€œIf one person feels unfulďŹ lled, it can create problems.â€?
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MICHAEL FREITAS, MD â€™10, FAMILY MEDICINE/SPORTS MEDICINE Michael Freitas, MD â€™10, grew up outside of Boston, Mass., and attended college there at Northeastern University, where he met his wife, who is from Hamilton, Ont. â€œMy preferred locations for medical schools were Boston or Western New York because of family,â€? says Freitas, who began a fellowship in sports medicine/primary care at UB last summer after completing medical school and a family medicine residency here. For the foreseeable future, he plans on staying and practicing in Buffalo. â€œWeâ€™re well established here with friends weâ€™ve made over the last seven years,â€? he says. â€œWith regard to trying to establish my own practice in Buffalo, there are good opportunities in the community. Iâ€™ve made a lot of connections with medical professionals here and have a network in place. â€œAnd Buffalo is a welcoming town in that sense. Itâ€™s an easy place to live, and thereâ€™s a lot to do hereâ€”a lot of culture, sports and good restaurants.â€? Freitas also cites the importance of being close to his in-laws just across the border in Canada, as well as being only a dayâ€™s drive from his family. After he completes his fellowship, he plans to practice both primary care and sports medicine, likely in a group. â€œThese are my plans in the short term,â€? he says. â€œFor the long term, Iâ€™m always open to new challenges. We ďŹ gure because weâ€™d laid down roots in this area, weâ€™d stay here and see how things go.â€?
M I C H A E L F R E I T A S , M D â€™ 1 O , Family Medicine/Sports Medicine
â€œWEâ€™RE WELL ESTABLISHED HERE WITH FRIENDS WEâ€™VE MADE OVER THE LAST SEVEN YEARS.â€?
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BALANCING HEAD AND HEART RICARDO ROMERO, MD, CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY
R I C A R D O R O M E R O , M D , Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
â€œBUFFALO HAD THE WARMEST PEOPLE. I KNEW RIGHT AWAY THAT THIS WAS WHERE I WANTED TO BE.â€?
Ricardo Romero, MD, a native of El Salvador, is in his second year of fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry at UB. One of the reasons he came to Buffalo after completing his residency at the University of Southern California (USC) was to be near relatives who moved to Canada in the 1980s, seeking refuge from the civil war in El Salvador. Romeroâ€™s mother, who lives with him, had a severe heart attack while he was at USC, and he knew that he needed to be near family to get help with her care. He interviewed for fellowships at 10 places and says that â€œBuffalo had the warmest people. I knew right away that this was where I wanted to be.â€? Romeroâ€™s career goals center on academic medicine. If things work out, he would like to stay at UB. There is a shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists in Western New York, as there is in many parts of the country. There is also a shortage of Spanish-speaking doctors in the area, something Romero found when seeking treatment for his mother. â€œThis is one of the motivations I have to stay here. I can make a difference for these underserved populations,â€? he says. Still, Romero, who became a U.S. citizen two years ago, knows that ultimately he will need to go where the employment opportunities are.
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BEST PLACES TO PRACTICE
SHALANA Oâ€™BRIEN, MD â€™10, SURGERY Shalana Oâ€™Brien, MD â€™10, a native of Bothell, Wash., has completed two years of general surgery training at UB and is halfway through a two-year break to conduct research, after which she will ďŹ nish the ďŹ nal three years of her residency. Her goal is to be an oncologic surgeon and to work in academic medicine, so she is conducting her research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. After residency, her next step will be to earn a highly competitive fellowship in surgical oncology. â€œRoswell is a great hospital, very well known and respected, and fellows get well trained there, so that is deďŹ nitely at the top of my list,â€? she says in reference to where she may someday like to train in oncology. Yet, Oâ€™Brien is also drawn to being near family, an aim further complicated by the fact that she is in a relationship with a native Buffalonian who would also like to be close to relatives. â€œAs much as the Seattle area feels like home, so does Buffalo now,â€? she says. â€œIf I complete a fellowship in Buffalo, I will have lived here 13 years. Most of my friends are here now. I love the West Coast, but Iâ€™m really happy here, too.â€? The consideration that rises above all others for Oâ€™Brien, however, is job opportunities. â€œIf there arenâ€™t jobs in my ďŹ eld in Buffalo when my training is done,â€? she says, â€œthen I will have to go where they are.â€?
S H A L A N A O â€™ B R I E N , M D â€™ 1 0 , Surgery
â€œROSWELL IS A GREAT HOSPITAL, VERY WELL KNOWN AND RESPECTED, AND FELLOWS GET WELL TRAINED THERE, SO THAT IS DEFINITELY AT THE TOP OF MY LIST.â€?
ON THE FAST TRACK IN A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT David Pierce, MD, enjoyed extraordinary opportunities early in his career
As a resident and young faculty member at UB, David Pierce, MD, had a penchant for winning big things: national emergency medicine competitions, the Deanâ€™s Award, residency teaching accolades, grant funding, protected research time and a coveted spot as a faculty member in one of our countryâ€™s most elite professional development institutes.
B Y S. A. U N G E R AND JIM BISCO
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“The training I had at UB was phenonmenal and the number of things I was able to do was amazing.” —David Pierce, MD
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A PATH FORWARD
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Nancy Nielsen helped craft new national health care delivery models
When Nancy Nielsen, MD ’76, PhD, was elected president of the American Medical Association (AMA) in 2008—only the second woman to ever hold the position—it seemed as though she had reached the pinnacle of her career. Little did she know that yet another highly influential role awaited her, one that would place her at the center of efforts to restructure the U.S. health care system in a more comprehensive way than at any other time in the last 50 years.
In 2011, Nielsen received a call from Donald M. Berwick, MD, then head of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), who asked her to serve as a senior advisor in the CMS’s new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. The CMS Innovation Center, as it is known, was established in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and given a $10 billion budget to develop and test new health care payment and service delivery models nationwide. In addition to being a past president of the AMA, Nielsen had served as senior associate dean for medical education and professor of medicine in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for many years and had just been named to a new role as senior associate dean for health policy at UB.
She was seen by health care leaders as someone who could bring a highly respected and experienced voice to the table, especially in the many conversations that lay ahead regarding changes that would have a direct impact on how physicians provide care and are reimbursed. At the same time that Berwick tapped Nielsen for the Innovation Center, she was asked to serve in a second role in which she would report directly to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. UB consented to release her “on loan” for one year through an intergovernmental personnel agreement, which was later extended for another year at the government’s request. “It was an amazing opportunity,” recounts Nielsen, who returned to UB last spring. ‘The two roles gave me
B y S.A. U n g e r
entrée to so much that was going on with the Affordable Care Act.” During her stay in Washington, D.C., Nielsen says she felt strongly that she had a specific role to play. “I told everyone that I wanted to be sure that doctors in small practices are not forgotten as we make changes to health care in our country, because there are too many people in small practices and they are too important. We need every doctor in the country and we want to give them a path forward, just as we do for the large, integrated groups. “We can’t just say we need more doctors,” she contends, “because it takes too long to grow one—anywhere from 7 to 15 years. So we have to make better use of the doctors we have, and we have to help them do what they always wanted to do, but have never been paid to do.”
“This is an opportunity to bring together players in our health care community and to concentrate resources so that we can deliver better care to our region’s population.” —Nancy Nielsen, MD ’76, PhD
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FROM LEFT, Satish K. Tripathi, UB president; Robert G. Wilmers, chairman and CEO of M&T Bank; Nancy Nielsen, MD, PhD; Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and Jeremy M. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Delaware North Companies. Wilmers, Nielsen and Jacobs serve as co-chairs for the Medical School Campaign Steering Committee.
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â€œThe best ideas for how to do things better are not going to originate in Washington or Baltimore; they are going to originate from the ground up. Thatâ€™s why we didnâ€™t spend a lot of time talking to bureaucrats. We talked to people on the front lines.â€? Âł7KHÂżQDOUXOHZDVPXFKPRUH ZHOFRPHGE\WKHSK\VLFLDQVDQGWKDWÂśV ZK\VRPDQ\DFURVVWKHFRXQWU\KDYH GHFLGHGWRSDUWLFLSDWHLQWKH$&2VÂ´ VKHH[SODLQV ,QUHFDOOLQJKHUZRUNZLWKDOOWKH PRGHOV1LHOVHQHPSKDVL]HVRQHWKHPH PDNLQJVXUHWKDWWKHSURFHVVZDVÂłQRW DWRSGRZQGHYLVLQJE\JRYHUQPHQW PRGHOEXWLQVWHDGDPRGHOEDVHGRQ EULQJLQJSHRSOHWRJHWKHUDQGOLVWHQLQJÂ´ INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WESTERN NEW YORK 1RZEDFNLQ%XĚ†DORDQGODXQFKLQJLQWR KHUQHZUROHDVVHQLRUDVVRFLDWHGHDQ IRUKHDOWKSROLF\DW8%1LHOVHQORRNV IRUZDUGWROHQGLQJKHUH[SHUWLVHWRWKH UHVKDSLQJRIKHDOWKFDUHLQRXUUHJLRQ Âł,VHHP\UROHDVVKRZLQJGRFWRUV patients and hospitals that there are LQFUHGLEOHRSSRUWXQLWLHVWRUHVSRQG WRDFURVVWKHFRXQWU\Â´VKHVD\VÂł,I VRPHRQHZDQWVWROHDUQZKDWWKHVH opportunities are and to understand WKHPEHWWHU,DPVRPHRQHWKH\FDQ
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A FOCUS ON MEMORY DISORDERS Kinga Szigeti, MD, PhD, recruited to UB to establish Alzheimer’s Center
Kinga Szigeti knew she wanted to be a physician from the time she was a child growing up in Pécs, Hungary. “It could have been that I was so afraid of the shots that I wanted to be in control,” she laughs. But what type of physician? As she went through medical school in her hometown at the top of her class, her math skills helped her ﬁnd her strength in neurology. Along the way she also developed a special interest in genetics and the light that could be shed on diseases from studying the genome. BY JIM BISCO
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Photo by Douglas Levere
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“We try to help them learn about what they are facing and to adjust, because it is a new type of life once you get diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.”
NEW OPTION ON THE TABLE FOR TYPE1 DIABETES Study aims to intervene early, stave off the disease for years BY ELLEN GOLDBAUM
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“The studies have provided a kind of road map that now allows us to predict with extreme precision when and if an individual will come down with Type 1 diabetes.” —Teresa Quattrin, MD
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“If the oral insulin means that Jillian may not become diabetic until she’s 20 or 25, then we’ll take it. And if it ﬁnds a cure and helps somebody else, then it’s tenfold the reason for doing this.” —Kristine Lockwood
The Lockwood Family: Scott and Kristine, with Jillian, Dawson and Connor.
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UB MED DOCTOR VISITS
photos by Douglas Levere
In 2013, Symons was named Family Doctor of the Year by the New York State Academy of Family Physicians.
UB STUDENTS ARE LEARNING FROM THE BEST Andrew Symons practices what he teaches
Andrew Symons, MD ’02, once taught biology in the New York City public school system while working on a doctorate in marine ecology and teaching in an after-school program at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine for underrepresented minority students interested medical careers. The Mt. Sinai program director suggested he take the MCAT. That brought Symons, then 35 years old, to medical school in Buffalo, where he stayed to train in family medicine. Today he is vice chair for medical student education in the Department of Family Medicine and director of the Clinical Practice of Medicine course (year one). In 2013, Symons was named Family Doctor of the Year by the New York State Academy of Family Physicians. Despite his professional obligations—and accomplishments—he remains a polymath who is, among other things, a performing musician and a certified scuba instructor. To relax, he takes two weeks off each summer to be a camp doctor. Symons spends half his time seeing patients in the UBMD family medicine practice in Tonawanda, N.Y., and the other half in academic and administrative work. By JUdSon meAd
Variety and continuity are what he likes about family medicine. He sees patients of all ages who present with a wide variety of conditions and, importantly, he sees them regularly. “So I’m not starting from scratch every visit, which allows me to prioritize issues over time,” he says. On a typical day recently, Symons saw an infant for a checkup, assessed a 90 year old with dementia, removed a suspicious skin lesion, treated athlete’s foot and a case of acne, discussed anxiety with one patient and opioid addiction with another, gave a steroid injection for tendonitis, removed impacted ear wax, examined several individuals with back pain, and more—all part of what he considers to be a normal, fulfilling day at the office. A family medicine practice, he says, can provide direct care for the vast majority of issues that come through the door. As an educator introducing students to the clinical practice of medicine, Symons is ideally placed to promote family medicine, but he says he doesn’t proselytize. When students who have completed a family medicine rotation decide to go on to other specialties, he’s satisfied that they’ll understand the central role of a family physician in caring for patients and how best to coordinate specialist care through communication with family physicians. That’s not to say he isn’t a strong proponent of his field. Symons is lead investigator on a $950,000 grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration that funds programs to promote primary care career choice among U.S. medical students. And when one of his students does want to pursue family medicine, he can rhapsodize.
“We have a great group of residents who like to work together and spend time together. That’s how Buffalo is. It’s nice that our program models that image.”
A LEADER WHO TRAINS FAMILY DOCTORS Diana Wilkins is a tough balancing act to follow
Diana Wilkins, MD ’04, took on the role of director of the family medicine residency program in April 2013. Just 10 years earlier, she was a medical student applying to the same program. From her own experience, she knows the argument for leaving Buffalo to train and the argument for staying. “Going away is an opportunity to learn from new perspectives and bring that back home.” Coming home was never in doubt for Wilkins, a Buffalo native. But training here was finally more appealing because she knew what she had. “After meeting with faculty and residents, I was sure it would work.” And it certainly did—for her and her students. In 2009, Wilkins, who was by then practicing and teaching, received two of UB medical school’s most prestigious faculty awards: the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award for clinical excellence and compassion in the delivery of care, and the Siegel Award for Excellence in Teaching Clinical Sciences. The double honor represents a balance that can feel like a tug of war. She studied medicine to be a family doctor, but directing the By JUdSon meAd
residency program takes 70 percent of her time, so she only sees patients for three half-day sessions a week. “A core value of family medicine is to be available and be a part of your patients’ lives, so cutting back is a challenge,” she says. Her partners in the UBMD family medicine practice on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda see her patients as needed when she’s not available. Despite her academic duties, Wilkins does occasionally accept new patients. “I’m a family doctor so when people ask me to take care of family members, I can’t say no.” This inclination goes to the heart of why more medical students today are showing an interest in primary care, says Wilkins. Applicants to the family medicine residency program tell her they’re choosing the specialty because they want the continuity of relationships they can build with patients and their families. Wilkins is responsible for 48 residents. She describes her job as “supporting the residents and creating an environment that provides good training and produces great family doctors.” The three-year program offers trainees a choice of four tracks: two urban, one suburban and one rural. Wilkins has no trouble pitching Buffalo, which she loves, as a place to live for three years—or longer. Her recruiting poster shows a snowy Buffalo scene: “We’re not shy about who we are,” she says. “We have a great group of residents who like to work together and spend time together. That’s how Buffalo is. It’s nice that our program models that image.”
U B M E D PAT H WAY S
T H R E E N E W D E PA R T M E N T C H A I R S N A M E D Three new department chairs were recently announced, bringing to 22 the number of chairs and chair-level appointees named in the past seven years by Michael E. Cain, MD, UB vice president for health sciences and dean, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. These hires, Cain says, are a critical piece of his strategic vision for the medical school’s future.
BIOMEDICAL INFORMATICS Peter L. Elkin, MD, former vice president and professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and director of its Center for Biomedical Informatics, has been appointed professor and founding chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics. A leader in biomedical informatics, Elkin is renowned for building data infrastructure systems and protocols that have transformed research and clinical care. He has pioneered methods for standardizing medical record data that can link patient records to genomic, diagnostic and treatment information. Elkin is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and the American College of Medical Informatics. He has been elected to mastership by the American College of Physicians, an honor shared by only a small number of physicians worldwide. Elkin earned his undergraduate degree in applied mathematics and physics from Union College and his medical degree at New York Medical College. He trained in internal medicine at the Lahey Clinic and was a clinical fellow in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He completed a fellowship in medical informatics at MGH and at Harvard Medical School in conjunction with the Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Elkin worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he served as professor of medicine and director of the biomedical informatics research collaborative.
NEUROSURGERY Elad I. Levy, MD, MBA, professor of neurosurgery at UB, has been named chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. Levy is an accomplished neuro- and endovascular surgeon, clinical researcher and educator who pioneered a method for performing minimally invasive spinal surgery. He has served and currently serves as principal investigator in national and international stroke trials. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Levy received his medical degree from George Washington University. He completed a surgical internship and his neurosurgical residency at the University of Pittsburgh. At UB, Levy completed a fellowship in endovascular surgery, then served as an associate professor and professor in the Department of Neurosurgery; he also is professor of radiology. He is co-director of the Kaleida Health Stroke Center and director of the Toshiba Neuroendovascular Catheterization Laboratory. He recently earned an MBA from Northeastern University. Levy has won numerous awards, including UB’s George Thorn Young Investigator Award, given by the UB medical school to faculty of exceptional talent who are less than 45 years of age. He serves as board member and co-founder of the Endovascular Neurosurgery Research Group and vice chair of the Scientific Planning Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Levy is a founder of the Program for the Understanding of Childhood Concussions and Stroke, a national organization established to boost research into youth concussions.
Leslie J. Bisson, MD, associate professor of orthopaedics at UB, has been appointed the inaugural June A. and Eugene R. Mindell, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics. Bisson is director of UB’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship. He serves as medical director/team orthopaedic surgeon for the Buffalo Sabres, team physician and orthopaedic consultant for the Buffalo Bills, team orthopaedist for Buffalo State College and medical director for the World Junior Hockey Championships. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, as well as the NFL Physicians Society and the NHL Team Physicians Society. Bisson serves on the editorial boards of the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, and Operative Techniques in Sports Medicine. A native of Minneapolis, Minn., he received his MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, graduating at the top of his class. He completed a general surgery internship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and an orthopaedic surgical residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He also completed a fellowship in sports medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala. Before joining UB in 2007, he was a partner at Northtowns Orthopaedics in Williamsville, NY.
CARLOS ROBERTO JAÉN, PHD ’88, MD ’89 Elected to Institute of Medicine, head of Board of Family Medicine UB alumnus Carlos Roberto Jaén, PhD ’88, MD ’89, was among 70 new members elected to the Institute of Medicine last fall, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Earlier in 2013, he was named chair-elect of the American Board of Family Medicine, the board that certifies the nation’s family physicians. He will chair the board for one year beginning in 2014. Jaén is chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). He has drawn international acclaim for his research on improving patient-centered care and community health.
In the late 1980s, while he was pursuing a PhD in epidemiology and community health at UB, Jaén was sure that public health was his future, but then his career took an unexpected turn. “As I was finishing my PhD, I learned that a lot of the jobs in public health required an MD, so I applied to the medical school. At that point
Carroll McWilliams (Mac) Harmon, MD, PhD, has been named chief of the division of pediatric surgery and director of the pediatric surgery fellowship in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and pediatric surgeon-inchief at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. His faculty appointment is professor in the UB Department of Surgery. Harmon formerly served as professor and director of pediatric surgical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Schoolof Medicine.
Jaén proceeded to cross that bridge in illustrious fashion. After his residency at Case Western Reserve University, he was recruited back to UB, where he spent the next nine years as a faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine.
“I realized there was an opportunity to bridge family medicine and public health in a very powerful way.”
UNEXPECTED TURN FOR THE BETTER
HARMON NAMED PEDIATRIC SURGERY DIRECTOR AND DIVISION CHIEF
I fell in love with clinical practice, particularly family medicine,” he recalls. “I realized there was an opportunity to bridge family medicine and public health in a very powerful way.”
He has an international reputation for his work in pediatric minimally invasive surgery and surgical intervention in childhood obesity. He is currently one of the principal investigators on a $10 million National Institutes of Health grant to assess the short- and long-term safety and efficacy of bariatric surgery in adolescents compared to adults. Harmon chairs the Childhood Obesity Committee of the American Pediatric Surgical Association and serves on the Humanitarian Task Force of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. He was general surgery clinic director at Children’s of Alabama, as well as surgical director of the Children’s Center for Weight Management and the Georgeson Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehab.
The native of Panama soon became engaged with Buffalo’s Latino community, launching a large community-based health needs study. The success of the study led to his serving as founding director of the Center for Urban Research and Primary Care in the Department of Family Medicine.
Along the way, Jaén also served on an expert panel that published smoking cessation guidelines for the Public Health Service and became involved in research that explores new ways of practicing primary care. At UTHSCSA, Jaén also is the endowed holder of the Dr. and Mrs. James L. Holly Distinguished Professorship, which supports and promotes a model of patient-centered primary care and education.
A past president of the International Pediatric Endosurgery Group, Harmon is author of approximately 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques and Pediatric Surgical International. Before joining UAB, Harmon was an instructor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and assistant professor of surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, and his MD at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He also earned a PhD in molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt. Harmon completed surgical residencies at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a
pediatric surgery residency and fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
HUGHES NAMED INAUGURAL SENIOR ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR CLINICAL AFFAIRS David P. Hughes, MD ’95, clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine, has been named the inaugural senior associate dean for clinical affairs. The new position is a direct reflection of the changes underway as the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences moves downtown, says Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean. Hughes also has been named senior vice president and chief clinical integration officer for
U B M E D PAT H WAY S
Kaleida Health, a major teaching affiliate for UB. “This precedent-setting joint appointment of Dr. Hughes further aligns the UB medical school with its clinical partners in the community, including UBMD, Kaleida and Great Lakes Health,” Cain says. “He will be responsible for strengthening the synergies that the move downtown will underscore between clinicians, medical educators and UB students and residents.” In his new UB post, Hughes will work to optimize the clinical performance of the academic programs.
The chief clinical integration officer is a new position at Kaleida, charged with providing leadership in designing care delivery processes that improve services and quality, reduce costs and eliminate variation. “As health care delivery undergoes significant change, together with our physicians and staff, we need to better coordinate how care is delivered and integrate the various components of care in order to improve outcomes and reduce costs,” says James R. Kaskie, president and CEO of Kaleida Health.
We want to hear from you! Hughes received his master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin and his medical degree from UB. He completed his residency in emergency medicine at Wake Forest University Medical Center. Hughes received his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Kettering University. Prior to entering medical school, he was a process engineer at the General Motors Tonawanda Engine Plant.
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DISTINGUISHED MEDICAL AND BIOMEDICAL ALUMNUS AWARDS Recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Medical and Biomedical Alumnus Awards for
DISTINGUISHED MEDICAL ALUMNUS
the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were honored at a dinner held on
Joseph A. Chazan, MD ’60
October 10 at the Clinical and Translational Research Center. The event, sponsored
Joseph A. Chazan, MD, is a pioneering nephrologist and clinical professor of medicine emeritus at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.
by the UB Medical Alumni Association in conjunction with the school, was attended by family and friends of the awardees, as well as alumni, faculty and students. JOSEPH CASCIO
Chazan, who continues in active practice, is president and founder of Nephrology Associates, Inc., in Rhode Island, and senior managing director of American Renal Associates, Inc., for Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Following medical school at UB, Chazan interned at Boston City Hospital and trained in internal medicine at the Boston VA and Beth Israel hospitals. After serving with the U.S. Public Health Service, he completed a renal fellowship at the New England Medical Center in 1966. A year later he joined the faculty at Brown.
2013 Distinguished Alumni Joseph A. Chazan, MD ’60, left, and Kenneth A. Jacobson, PhD ’72, right, with Dean Michael E. Cain, MD, at the award ceremony.
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In the early 1970s, Chazan was the sole consultative nephrologist practicing in Rhode Island. Over the years he combined his interests in academia with private practice to become a leader in nephrology throughout New England. He developed the first chronic hemodialysis program at Rhode Island Hospital and was the first to extend dialysis treatment to a freestanding outpatient clinic in the state. From a small dialysis clinic that he established in 1973, he developed a comprehensive network of 10 dialysis centers that now serve more than 700 patients a week. He was also instrumental in developing the state’s renal transplant program. Chazan served as governor of the American College of Physicians for the state of Rhode Island; was a founder of Ocean State Physicians Health Plan; and held the position of board chairman for United Health Plans of New England. In 1973, Chazan and his wife, Helene, began collecting contemporary art, eventually donating much of the now-renowned collection to 30 museums, including the
Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the UB Art Galleries. In June 2013, Chazan was honored with the Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts.
Jacobson and his team at UNC have developed novel tools and methods to study the physical principles of how cells migrate, using simple-shaped cells as a model.
DISTINGUISHED BIOMEDICAL ALUMNUS
Working with theoreticians, their goal is to approach a major challenge for cell biology: how to integrate myriad molecular pieces into a global understanding of motile phenomena.
Kenneth A. Jacobson, PhD ’72 Kenneth A. Jacobson, PhD, is Kenan Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. Jacobson has made key contributions to the understanding of how the cell membrane is organized. He was one of the earliest developers of the FRAP (fluorescence recovery after photobleaching) technique, used to measure lateral mobility in membranes, and digitized fluorescence microscopy and its application to cell biology. After earning an MS in physics from the University of Wisconsin and working for Dow Corning Corporation, he obtained a PhD in biophysical sciences at UB. He then worked at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and, since 1980, for UNC School of Medicine.
Jacobson is currently interested in membrane nanodomains of the C-type lectins on dendritic cells and how they function as receptors for pathogens—ranging from small viruses that cause Dengue fever, to yeast— to initiate the innate immune response. For the past 20 years, Jacobson has also been interested in renewable energy and has been involved in a joint effort with the Research Triangle Institute, the UNC Center for Global Health and North Carolina State University to develop a small solar-powered vaccine cooler based on semiconductor thermoelectric principles to significantly reduce vaccine wastage where refrigeration is unavailable.
UB MED Q&A
The American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease last year in an effort to spur development of more effective preventive and treatment options. UB Medicine asked Teresa Quattrin, MD, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, why obesity is such an urgent problem and what can be done to counteract it. Quattrin, who also serves as director of the Division of Endocrinology/Diabetes at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo—a major UB teaching affiliate—is an internationally regarded expert on childhood obesity. She is leading a $2.5 million study to test an innovative program to prevent and treat obesity in children aged 2 to 5.
Q: Why have obesity rates increased so much in recent decades? A: Changes in diet and activity levels have contributed to obesity. People are eating more, and eating less-healthy food high in calories. In our research, we looked at the food intake of children 2 to 5 years old, and seven out of 10 were consuming significantly more calories than the recommended 1,200 per day. There are children who eat a whole carton of strawberries, and their parents think that’s OK. But it is not. Too much healthy food can contribute to the problem. Extra calories, along with low physical activity, lead to obesity, especially in people with a predisposition to developing the disease and certainly in kids whose parents are obese. Q: What health problems can childhood obesity cause? A: Knee problems, back problems, high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems. Children who are overweight also tend to have poor self esteem and make fewer friends. It’s important to remember that health problems due to obesity can begin early in life. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes, but now many teenagers and children—as young as 8 years old—have the disease. Q: Are children who are obese more likely to become obese adults? A: Yes. Studies have shown that even 2- to 5-year-old children who are obese have as high as an 80 percent chance of suffering from obesity in adulthood if their parents are overweight. Once the body is used to eating a certain amount of food, the stomach no longer sends the proper signals to the brain to say that you’re full. So when you try to change habits, it’s a struggle.
“Studies have shown that even 2- to 5-year-old children who are obese have as high as an 80 percent chance of suffering from obesity in adulthood if their parents are overweight. ”
Q: What are some simple steps children and families can take to prevent obesity? A: Parents should educate themselves by finding out their children’s body mass index and their own. Children who don’t look overweight may still be obese. Parents also need to be good role models. If the home environment is such that the refrigerator and pantry are full of junk food instead of fruits and vegetables, the child grows up feeling that’s the way he or she should eat. Being active is also important. Park a little farther away from the supermarket. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the store or a friend’s house. These are simple steps that can ameliorate and prevent problems. To learn more about diabetes and obesity studies conducted by UB pediatricians, visit www.medicine.buffalo.edu/pediatrics and search “clinical trials.” —Charlotte Hsu
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“As a proud graduate, I’m excited to see our medical school grow. Please join us.” Charles R. Niles, MD ’83, is co-founder of Ophthalmology Associates in Williamsville, NY. He also is a clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology in the medical school. Charles and Ellen Niles are co-chairs of the Circle of Visionaries. To read more about this very special group of medical school supporters, see page 4 in this issue of UB Medicine.
Building a completely new medical school is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Seize this chance to revolutionize medical education, health care and research in Western New York. Become a partner at this pivotal moment in UB’s history. There are many ways to support your new medical school today or in the future. Opportunities include: Medical School Building Fund Circle of Leaders Circle of Visionaries Please contact Kim Venti for more information. 716-829-2773 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.giving.buffalo.edu/ubmedicine
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I can change people’s lives for the better. Michael Blanco wanted to be a neurosurgeon. After starting medical school, he switched to orthopedic surgery. Now that he’s completed rotations in both orthopedic and general surgery, he’s leaning toward general surgery. Or medicine? Maybe gastroenterology as a way to combine medicine and surgery? He likes to ﬁx things. So much to try—so little time before residency applications are due. Michael married and started a family before coming to medical school, so for him the balance between family and career is not theoretical. He worked in his father’s car business for three years after graduating from the University of Florida. A scholarship offer helped him choose UB. Now the next big decision is keeping him awake at night. What does he say about the stress? “I’m living my dream.” The best
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