The University of Arizona Health Sciences


Cardiologist Dr. Michael A. LaCombe to Present ‘The Importance of Family History,’ Oct. 6

“The Importance of Family History” is the topic of a special lecture on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

The presentation will be given by cardiologist Michael A. LaCombe, MD, FACC, MACP, LHD (hon), and is part of the bi-annual Donald K. Buffmire Visiting Lectureship in Medicine series, sponsored by the Flinn Foundation.

Dr. LaCombe is a cardiologist who has practiced in Maine for more than 40 years. He is associate editor of the “On Being A Doctor,” “On Being A Patient” and “Ad Libitum” sections of the Annals of Internal Medicine and is a professor of medicine and medical humanities at the University of New England.

He has developed a career that blends writing with the practice of medicine. He has published more than 100 essays and stories in peer-reviewed medical journals, as well as 13 books. A collection of his stories, “Bedside: The Art of Medicine,” was published by the University of Maine Press in 2010. His articles and compositions have been turned into performances and are used for teaching ethics and humanism in medical schools...

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Med students launch University of Arizona Journal of Medicine

Bonded over their extensive undergraduate research experiences, two medical students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson founded the College’s first research journal – The University of Arizona Journal of Medicine – to provide a platform to promote the intellectual curiosity and the scientific achievements of the College’s students.

Tania Hassanzadeh and Vicky Khoury, both members of the Class of 2018, sought out to create a place to showcase their work and the work of their peers.

“This is something tangible that we could show prospective students, and they can also benefit from it,” said Hassanzadeh.

After months of work, the Winter 2016 edition was published as a print journal available to medical students and faculty and throughout the College and Banner – University Medical Center.

The second issue, which will also be published online (restricted to COM-T students, faculty and staff), is now accepting submissions.

Hassanzadeh and...

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‘The Foundations of Health’ Subject of UA Arthritis Center Lecture, Oct. 5

“Modern medicine offers the exciting promise of reducing disease, restoring function and preventing illness. It does not promise to enhance health. That task is in our hands, and the tools to accomplish it are neither complicated nor limited…,” writes Michael J. Hewitt, PhD, Canyon Ranch’s research director for exercise science and October’s Living Healthy With Arthritis lecture series presenter.

Dr. Hewitt will reveal “The Foundations of Health,” on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 6-7:15 p.m., at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, DuVal Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson. Free and open to the public, the 75-minute presentation will include time for questions and answers.

In this practical and inspiring presentation on true preventive medicine and the importance of physiological resilience, Dr. Hewitt will share his own personal journey of resilience and triumph that took place at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson.

True preventive medicine is mom’s medicine: “eat your vegetables, go out and play, do your homework first, get to bed.” These universal...

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Heart Disease and Sleep: Expert Panel Reports That Both Duration and Quality May Impact Heart Health

Sleep duration including too little or too much sleep and sleep disorders, may be linked to a variety of factors that may raise the risk for cardiovascular diseases, according to the first ever American Heart Association (AHS) scientific statement published this week in the AHA journal Circulation.

A committee of experts in heart health and sleep science, including statement co-author Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR, assistant professor of psychiatry, psychology and medicine at the University of Arizona, reviewed all existing evidence in the scientific literature on the impact of sleep duration and sleep disorders to cardiovascular health and risk and noted the following:

Sleeping too little or too long, along with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia, may be linked to cardiovascular risk factors including obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research linking sleep problems to obesity and diabetes is robust, but longer studies measuring impact on actual weight are needed. Simple sleep behavior screening tools should be developed and evaluated for use in clinical care and public health settings. Treating those with sleep... [read more]

UA-Led Team Receives PCORI Engagement Award for Patient-Centered SLEEP2 Project

About 70 million Americans have sleep problems, according to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, but you’d never know it by looking at them. There are many symptoms besides sleepiness that people—or their physicians—might not recognize as signs of sleep disorders.

While research has made great strides in understanding the many aspects of sleep, there is much more to be learned and communicated. To improve patient-centered sleep research, a team led by Sairam Parthasarathy, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, has been funded by a $250,000 Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award approved by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

The Engagement Award—called SLEEP2, which stands for “Strategically Leverage Engage and Empower PCOR in Sleep Disorders”—is meant to engage patients, scientists and other stakeholders as partners across the entire span of sleep research, from topic generation to conduct of studies to disseminating and implementing research findings.


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New Faculty Join UA Department of Pediatrics and Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center

Heather Cassell, MD, Emily Keyser, MD, and Erica Danielle Laber, MD, have joined the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center.

Heather Cassell, MD

Dr. Cassell, clinical associate professor, joined the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology. As a pediatric allergist/immunologist, Dr. Cassell will provide specialized allergy and immunology care for children at Banner – Diamond Children’s Multi-Specialty Center and Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center. Dr. Cassell received her medical degree from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. She completed a residency in pediatrics at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, and then completed a fellowship in pediatric allergy and immunology at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colo.

Dr. Cassell’s clinical interests are asthma, food allergy, atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. She is board-certified in pediatrics and allergy and immunology.


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UA Sarver Heart Center 30th Anniversary Lecture Series: ‘Keeping Your Heart in Sync: What You Need to Know About Atrial Fibrillation’

TUCSON, Ariz. – There is nothing uncommon about atrial fibrillation, a heart-rhythm disorder that affects between 2 to 3 million people and accounts for about one-fifth of all strokes in the United States. By 2050, it is estimated that the number of people affected by atrial fibrillation will increase to 12 million. The condition leads to a fast and irregular heart rate.

“While some patients experience no symptoms, many have heart palpitations, a sensation of the heart racing or skipped beats. In addition, the condition carries an increased risk of stroke,” said Mathew Hutchinson, MD, professor of medicine, Division of Cardiology, at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and director of the Electrophysiology Program at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson.

As part of the UA Sarver Heart Center’s 30th Anniversary, the community is invited to learn more at a lecture with Dr. Hutchinson – “Keeping Your Heart in Sync: What You Need to Know About Atrial Fibrillation” – on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 6–7:15 p.m., in DuVal Auditorium...

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Six Children’s Hospitals, Including Diamond Children’s, Unite to Improve Pediatric Health

Six leading children’s hospitals have signed an agreement to form the Sanford Children’s Genomic Medicine Consortium, a cutting-edge collaboration of children’s hospitals inspired by the vision of philanthropist Denny Sanford.

Founding members include Sanford Children’s, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center in  Tucson.

“Bringing all of these great facilities and brilliant minds together is a major step in improving treatments and finding cures for what ails kids,” said Sanford.  “There is clear value in bringing these teams together with unified goals and my hope is that it will speed up necessary advancements so children won’t have to suffer.”

The consortium is committed to the betterment of the health of all children through the integration of genomic medicine into pediatric care.  Genomic medicine focuses on the use of genetic and genomic information to personalize care for each child, allowing for improved treatment outcomes in a host of common and rare childhood diseases.


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UA ‘Camp Wellness’ Receives 2016 Recognition of Excellence Award from U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Camp Wellness, a groundbreaking University of Arizona program that helps adults with serious mental illnesses develop healthy lifestyles, has been selected for the 2016 Recognition of Excellence in Wellness award given by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Camp Wellness is one of just three programs in the nation to receive the SAMHSA award this year. SAMHSA announced the awards today as part of its National Wellness Week.

“We are grateful to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for this important recognition of our program, which has been shown to significantly improve the health of adults living with serious mental illnesses,” said Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH, head of the UA College of Medicine –Tucson’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, which established Camp Wellness in 2009.

“We also are grateful to Cenpatico Integrated Care, the Arizona Department of Health Services’ Regional Behavioral Health Authority for Southern Arizona, for its financial...

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Diamond Children’s Opens Hospital School Program

It’s a brand new school year for thousands of Tucson students, including pediatric patients in Diamond Children’s new Hospital School Program launching this fall with help from the University of Arizona College of Education.

Diamond Children's at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson has hired longtime Tucson teacher Ashley Brock as a full-time education specialist to help K-12 patients keep up with schoolwork while they are in the hospital. 

Diamond Children’s treats approximately 4,000 inpatients a year, including dozens of children with cancers or serious conditions requiring many weeks of hospitalization or outpatient therapy. In one recent two-week period, Diamond Children’s patients missed 200 school days, said Kara Snyder, RN, director of pediatric nursing.

Brock’s support will vary depending on each child’s unique health and educational needs. For patients hospitalized for only a few days, this may mean conferencing with the patient’s regular school teacher or reviewing homework assignments.

Long-term patients face special educational challenges. State law provides that children out of school for three or...

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