The University of Arizona Health Sciences


Banner Health implements visitor restrictions

In response to increasing rates of influenza and other seasonal illnesses across the nation, Banner Health will implement visitor restrictions at all of its hospitals, including Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South.

Effective Dec. 28, the following restrictions will be implemented:

•    Do not visit the hospital if you have fever, cough, vomiting or diarrhea
•    No visitors under the age of 13
•    Siblings who do not have cold and flu symptoms may visit a new baby in the Obstetrics Unit
•    Children 12 and under must be supervised by an adult at all times in public waiting areas and cafeterias
•    Please wash or sanitize your hands frequently while at the hospital

All Banner Health employees, employed physicians, volunteers and students received a flu vaccination by Dec. 1. Those who were unable to receive the vaccination because of medical or religious reasons are required to wear a mask while in care settings (such as hospitals) during the flu season.

Banner Health encourages everyone over the age of 6 months to receive the flu vaccine to protect...

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A UA researcher and clinician team has discovered that genetic mutations in a protein associated with asthma can affect a person’s susceptibility to a variety of lung diseases, and could lead to new treatments.

UA Researchers Link Genetic Variation in Pulmonary Protein to Respiratory Disease

Asthma affects more than 278 million people worldwide and can lead to serious consequences later in life. While current approved therapies address symptoms, they do not halt disease progression.

That soon may change, as a University of Arizona researcher and clinician team – Julie Ledford, PhD, and Monica Kraft, MD – using genetics as their guide are focused on turning research into new treatments for asthma and other lung diseases.

Dr. Ledford, assistant professor of medicine and immunobiology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, has been studying the mechanics of the pulmonary surfactant protein A (SP-A) since she was a postdoctoral student at Duke University. Since coming to the UA in early 2015, she has focused her research specifically on the role of SP-A in asthma sufferers. Dr. Ledford, a member of the UA BIO5 Institute, has found that genetic mutations in this protein may affect lung function in humans and is a defining factor in a person’s susceptibility to developing a variety of respiratory diseases.

Her new findings recently were published in...

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UA Steele Children’s Research Center Receives $40,000 from `Courtney’s Courage’ for Pediatric Cancer Research

Courtney’s Courage (formerly known as Tee Up For Tots) donated $40,000 to the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center for its pediatric cancer research program. 

Courtney’s Courage raised the funds through its “17th Annual Tee Up For Tots Golf Tournament” that took place at the Omni Tucson National Resort in August.

Funds will support research examining novel immunotherapy strategies to treat pediatric cancer.  “This is an approach that will continuously release tumor antigens and immunostimulatory cytokines for a few weeks, thus stimulating effective tumor-specific immunity,” said pediatric oncologist Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, professor, division chief of pediatric hematology/oncology, Department of Pediatrics and the UA Steele Center, and the Louise Thomas Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research. “We are hoping this research will lead to novel immunotherapies.”

Dr. Katsanis and his team are working in collaboration with Klearchos Papas, PhD, professor, UA Department of Surgery.  "I...

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A Man of Vision: Interdisciplinary Researcher and Department Head Art Gmitro

Arthur F. Gmitro is a very busy man. A professor of medical imaging in the UA College of Medicine – Tucson with a joint appointment in the UA College of Optical Sciences, he holds the Margaret E. and Fenton L. Maynard Chair in Breast Cancer Imaging and also is head of the UA College of Engineering's Department of Biomedical Engineering.

He became department head in November 2014, when he succeeded interim head and associate professor Urs Utzinger.

“Strongly supported by the University of Arizona provost and vice president for research, Art Gmitro's appointment as head of the BME (biomedical engineering) department reflects the University's growing recognition of biomedical engineering's increasing importance to effective health care,” said College of Engineering dean Jeff Goldberg. "As a leader and innovator in biomedical imaging...

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UA College of Pharmacy Researcher Investigates New Flu Treatments

Please also see the linked video interview with Dr. Wang (available for download).

Each year in the U.S., 10 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu. Annually, an estimated 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations are attributed to seasonal flu-related complications.

These numbers make the work of one University of Arizona College of Pharmacy researcher important to everybody. Jun Wang, PhD, a COP assistant professor and BIO5 Institute investigator, is developing new, effective treatments for the influenza A viruses.

Currently, there are only two classes of FDA-approved anti-influenza drugs – neuraminidase inhibitors, sold under names such as Tamiflu, in use since 1999, and M2 inhibitors, sold under names such as Symmetrel and Flumadine, approved for flu treatment since 1966 and 1994, respectively.

“Currently, 99 percent of the circulating flu viruses are resistant to M2 channel blockers, so this class of drugs is no longer useful,” Wang says. “The other class of drugs,...

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Arizona Poison Centers Warn of Potential Holiday Dangers

PLEASE NOTE: Many of these topics also are covered online in an infographic and blog post featuring the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.

“This busy season is prime for accidental poisonings,” said Keith Boesen, PharmD, director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson. “With shopping, visiting with friends and family and going to special events, it is easy to get distracted. That’s often when something potentially harmful happens.”


Maureen Roland, RN, clinical educator at the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center in Phoenix, agrees.

Roland said, “We hope everyone has our number – 1-800-222-1222 – programmed into their phones, just in case they need us. The same number reaches the nearest poison center, no matter where you are. Call us if you think there has been an accidental poisoning, or just to ask questions about...

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Cure for Fat Tissue Disorders Sought in UA Alumna’s $1.5 Million Gift to Fund College of Medicine – Tucson Research and Education Program

Obese people aren’t always big because they eat too much. Some types of fat tissue won’t go away no matter how much one diets or exercises. And you don’t necessarily have to be large or overweight to suffer from these conditions.

To aid the study of potential genetic, metabolic and hormonal causes behind the accumulation of atypical fat tissue, Felicitie Daftuar, a 2000 UA computer science graduate, has provided a $1.5 million gift through her role as founder and executive director of the Lipedema Foundation as seed funding to establish a new Treatment, Research and Education of Adipose Tissue (TREAT) Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

The TREAT Program enables internationally noted UA researcher Karen Herbst, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, to expand her efforts to better understand, diagnose and treat adipose tissue disorders (ATDs). Most sufferers are women, although some men are affected as well. ATDs involve growth and retention of...

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`Kids of Steele’ Spread Holiday Cheer at Diamond Children’s and Outpatient Clinics, Dec. 15 and 17

WHAT:            `Kids of Steele’ Spread Holiday Cheer at Diamond Children’s and Outpatient Clinics, Dec. 15 and 17

WHEN:            Tuesday, Dec. 15, 9 – 11 a.m.
Thursday, Dec. 17, 9 – 11 a.m.

WHERE:          Tuesday: Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center (1501 N. Campbell Ave.); Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic; Pediatric Multispecialty clinic (Banner – University Medical Center  Tucson); Diamond Children’s
Thursday:  Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic; Angel Wing for Children with Diabetes (Banner University Medical Center – Tucson, 1501 N. Campbell Ave)

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 Tuesday, Dec. 15, 9 – 11 a.m., Santa and his Kids of Steele elves will visit patients in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Pediatric...

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UA College of Nursing Professor Marylyn McEwen Receives American Public Health Association Award

Marylyn M. McEwen, PhD, PHCNS-BC, FAAN, professor and the Gladys E. Sorensen Endowed Professor for Diabetes Research and Education at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, has been honored with the Ruth B. Freeman Award from the Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) for her distinguished career in public health education and research.

For more than 20 years, Dr. McEwen has promoted health in Mexican-Americans who reside in the U.S.-Mexico border region through community-based interventions and participatory research, including studies of Mexican immigrant women and their binational health practices, health-illness transitions and risk perceptions related to undocumented border crossing.

To advance her work in the border region—where type 2 diabetes exceeds the U.S. national rates for Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites—in...

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UA College of Medicine – Tucson Marks an Application Milestone: Nearly 6,500 Apply for Class of 2020

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson has received a record 6,457 applications for enrollment in the Class of 2020.

The number of applications is a 13.9-percent increase over the 5,667 applications the College received for admission to the Class of 2019. And it’s more than two and a half times the 2,500 applications the College received in 2009 – the first year it accepted applications from students outside Arizona, said Tanisha Price-Johnson, PhD, the UA College of Medicine – Tucson’s executive director of admissions and financial aid. The UA College of Medicine – Tucson limits enrollment to 115 students each year.

Medical schools across the nation are averaging a 6.2-percent increase in applications this year, compared with last year, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported in October.

Of the 6,457 applicants, 883 are Arizona residents, and 2,134 are from California – the UA College of Medicine – Tucson’s largest “feeder” state, Dr. Price-Johnson said.

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