The University of Arizona Health Sciences


UA COM-T Class of 2021 applications surpass 7,200

While medical schools across the country saw a decline in applications this year, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson saw a significant increase and surpassed 7,200 applications for the first time in its nearly 50-year history.

The College received 7,216 applications for the 115 spots in the class of 2021, up nearly 12 percent from last year’s 6,458 applications for the class of 2020. This goes against the national trend, with the AAMC reporting a 3-percent decrease in applications across the country.

“This record year in applications reflects our year in research, in diversity, in faculty engagement and achievement, in our match rate and in the acceptance rate for the Class of 2020,” said UA College of Medicine – Tucson Dean Charles Cairns, MD. “It’s exciting to see this positive momentum continue as we attract the best possible students to serve the needs of the people of Arizona.”

‘Kids of Steele’ Spread Holiday Cheer at Diamond Children’s and Outpatient Clinics, Dec. 15

WHAT:         ‘Kids of Steele’ Spread Holiday Cheer at Diamond Children’s and Outpatient Clinics, Dec. 15

WHEN:         THURSDAY, DEC. 15, 8:30 – 11 A.M.

WHERE:       Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center
                    1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson
                    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic; Pediatric Multispecialty Clinic (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson); Diamond Children’s

Kids of Steele, the family auxiliary of the UA Steele Children’s Research Center, will spread holiday cheer to children at Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center and at affiliated outpatient clinics.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, 8:30 – 11 a.m., Santa and his Kids of Steele elves will visit patients in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Pediatric Multispecialty Clinics on the third floor of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, and also hospitalized children on the sixth floor of Diamond Children’s. They will hand...

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MD Candidate Kirsten Concha-Moore Receives National Award for Diversity Efforts

Kirsten Concha-Moore, a member of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson class of 2018, received a Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship award this fall. This award is presented to five students entering their third year of medical school that “have shown leadership in efforts to eliminate inequalities in medical education and health care” and have addressed “educational, societal, and health care needs of minorities in the United States.” The award was presented at the Association of American Medical Colleges’ annual meeting on November 14, 2016, in Seattle.

Concha-Moore is a post-sophomore fellow in the Department of Pathology. Last year she participated in the Rural Health Professions Program and was awarded the Native Graduate Health Fellowship from the National Congress of American Indians. Concha-Moore also received the Diversity Leadership Award from COM-T and the Outstanding Graduate Service Award from UA Native American Student Affairs. In her first year of medical school she became a voting member of the COM-T admissions committee.

Concha-Moore is motivated by her experience as a member of the...

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Arizona Telemedicine Program to Host Third National Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase Conference, Oct. 2-3 in Phoenix

The Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) has labored for two decades to bring innovative telemedicine services into the mainstream as a health-care delivery system in Arizona and around the world. “We’re finally hitting paydirt, the so-called ‘upslope’ of the S-curve for innovation,” said Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, ATP co-founding director.

“Corporate and governmental users of the ATP’s training and technical assistance programs are now flocking to the new generation of telemedicine service providers to outsource selected medical services to online doctors and nurses,” said Dr. Weinstein.

Contracts are being signed at an impressive rate. Banner Health is partnering with Doctor On Demand to offer its consumers access to doctors via desktop, tablet or smartphone for routine health matters. The University of Arizona is offering the same type of “retail” telemedicine services to its employees through the Arizona Department of Administration medical plans. The Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale has partnered with InTouch Health to standardize and consolidate its emergency tele-neurology services nationwide. Insurers such as...

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UA Surgery Head Leigh Neumayer Named Interim Senior Vice President for Health Sciences

University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart has named Dr. Leigh Neumayer as interim senior vice president for health sciences. Her appointment will be effective Jan. 1, 2017, following Dr. Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia's decision to resign his administrative role and step back to faculty.

Neumayer was the first woman to head the UA College of Medicine – Tucson's world-renowned Department of Surgery. A noted breast cancer surgeon, she became department head on Aug. 18, 2014, and also holds the Margaret E. and Fenton L. Maynard Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research.

"I am excited about Dr. Neumayer's leadership in the health sciences," Hart said. "She has a distinguished record as a physician scientist and has demonstrated exceptional leadership as chair of the Department of Surgery, building an incredible team and restoring critically important transplant programs. She also has established a tremendous working relationship with our Banner Health colleagues."

Hart said the interim appointment will continue through the UA presidential transition.

In the last two years, Neumayer has led the reorganization of the department from nine...

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Distinguished Physician-Scientist Dr. Kenneth S. Knox Named Faculty Affairs Associate Dean at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix announced last week the appointment of nationally recognized physician-scientist Kenneth S. Knox, MD, as the associate dean of faculty affairs.

Dr. Knox will oversee the Faculty Affairs Office, whose charge is to promote an engaged, diverse community of faculty and scholars that sustain a culture of engagement, professionalism and inclusion at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. He also will serve as director of research at the Banner Lung Institute.

Dr. Knox is a pulmonary disease specialist known for his research and clinical expertise in sarcoidosis, fungal diagnostics and immunologic lung disease. His work includes developing treatments for HIV, AIDS and Valley fever.

“During my career and as division chief, I have always taken a strong interest in issues that affect our faculty, whether it be mentoring junior faculty, advocating for colleagues or facilitating professional development,” Dr. Knox said. “A faculty affairs leadership role is both the next logical...

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UA Researchers Go the Distance for Fluid Analysis Via Sweat

While participating in last year's El Tour de Tucson, a competitive long-distance bicycle race, more than a dozen volunteers were simultaneously participating in and conducting a real-world scientific study, one that involved a diminutive device that rapidly and painlessly analyzes body chemistry from sweat.

Among the volunteers were faculty and students at the University of Arizona and University of Illinois who helped develop a first-of-its-kind soft, stretchable, wearable microfluidic sweat sensor. The device is applied and directly adheres to the skin and measures biomarkers in the wearer's sweat to reveal information regarding internal chemistries, loss of electrolytes, fluid status and the overall body's response to exercise. 

A little larger than a quarter and about the same thickness, the simple, low-cost device helps the wearer quickly decide if any adjustments — such as drinking more water or replenishing salts, electrolytes and sugar — need to be made or if something is medically awry.

Designed for one-time use of a few hours, the device, placed directly on the skin...

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No Ifs, Ands, or ‘Butts:’ UA’s Dr. Judith Gordon Developing New Program to Boost Smokers’ Efforts to Quit Tobacco

A new program designed to appeal to men and racial and ethnic minorities who want to quit smoking is being developed by Judith S. Gordon, PhD, professor and interim vice chair for research in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Widely known for her innovative approaches to smoking cessation, Dr. Gordon will develop and evaluate the use of guided imagery as a tobacco-cessation intervention, delivered over a telephone “quitline” and companion website.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a program of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded $702,606 for the three-year study (NIH grant R34AT008947).

The study is a collaboration with the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, which operates the Arizona Smokers Helpline, a quitline known as ASHLine (1-800-55-66-222). Co-investigators on the study are Julie Armin, PhD, research assistant professor, UA Department of Family and Community Medicine; Melanie Bell, PhD, professor, Department of...

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Sarver Heart Center 30th Anniversary Lecture Series: ‘Thinking from the Heart: How to Protect the Brain in Patients with Heart Disease,’ Dec. 14

Cognitive impairment is too often one of the unwanted long-term side effects of advanced heart disease, affecting about 68 percent of people with heart failure. After bypass surgery, about half of patients also experience cognitive impairment.

Research shows that what is good for the heart also is good for the brain. This includes lifestyle choices, such as a mostly plant-based Mediterranean Diet, exercise and life-long learning. Research also cites well-controlled blood pressure as a way to protect the brain. But there is so much more we don’t understand.

Research is under way to obtain a greater understanding of the role of impaired heart function and associated inflammation in cognitive function and how doctors can manage an individual’s heart condition and protect the brain.

As part of the Sarver Heart Center’s 30th Anniversary Commemoration 2016-2017, the community is invited to learn more through an upcoming lecture with Lee Ryan, PhD, professor and department chair, UA College of Science Psychology Department, and Nancy K....

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UA Receives $1.5 Million to Study Cancer in Firefighters

Researchers at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health will lead a collaborative project to develop the framework for a larger long-term study of cancer in firefighters. The $1.5 million funding for this project is from the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

Cancer is a leading cause of death among firefighters, who are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals through both inhalation and skin absorption. Measuring these exposures and determining the mechanisms by which they cause cancer are essential steps in learning how to reduce cancer risk in firefighters.

Firefighter exposure to carcinogens occurs through inhalation of smoke, diesel exhaust and other chemical gases, vapors and particulates as well as through skin contamination. The type of fire; the specific job task; when they put on, take off and clean their gear; and potentially how they clean their skin; all can affect the extent of chemicals absorbed internally.

Since cancer has a long latency period between exposure and...

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