The University of Arizona Health Sciences


COM-T Faculty Members, Programs Recognized as `Influential Health and Medical Leaders’

Winners of the Influential Health and Medical Leaders Awards have been announced by Tucson Local Media and five University of Arizona Health Sciences-affiliated faculty members and programs won the prestigious honor during the publishing agency’s inaugural ceremony Sept. 23.

The award winners will be featured in the Oct. 2 edition of Inside Tucson Business. Tucson Local Media owns the following publications: Explorer, Marana News, Foothills News, Desert Times and Inside Tucson Business.

During the ceremony, Steve Pope, the Arizona Local Media general manager and publisher announced the following UA Health Sciences-affiliated Winners:

 Advancement in Achievement in Biopharmaceuticals:

Toxicologist and pediatrician Leslie Boyer, MD, founding director of the VIPER (Venom Immunochemistry, Pharmacology and Emergency Response) Institute and associate professor of pathology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.

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UA Sleep Researcher Authors Section on Sleep Disparities in Congressional Report

Racial and ethnic minorities, especially African Americans, are more likely to sleep six or fewer hours each night and to suffer the adverse health outcomes of insufficient sleep, according to the 2015 Kelly Report on Health Disparities in America, released Friday by the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust.

Among the high-profile contributors to this year’s report is Michael Grandner, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Department of Psychiatry’s new Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

Dr. Grandner wrote the “Sleep and Health Disparities in the American Population” section of the report, available online at The official Congressional analysis of the state of health disparities in the United States offers a blueprint for reversing negative health trends in communities of color.


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Community Education Program, “We’ve Got the Beat: An Update on Atrial Fibrillation” to be held Oct. 17

It’s a condition that affects 2 to 3 million people and is related to about one-fifth of all strokes in the United States. The number of people with atrial fibrillation is projected to increase to 12 million by 2050 as the population ages. If you have atrial fibrillation or know someone who does, you’re not alone.

“In atrial fibrillation, the heart rate tends to be fast and irregular. 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 Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD, director of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center and chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson. “It’s no wonder that people want to learn more about this condition. In fact, it represents one of the most visited health topics on the Sarver Heart Center website.”

The community is invited to learn more during a special education program –  “We’ve Got the Beat: An Update on Atrial Fibrillation,” on Saturday, Oct. 17, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., in DuVal...

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‘Exercise Essentials for Healthy Aging’ Subject of UA Arthritis Center’s Living Healthy With Arthritis Lecture, Oct. 7

“Exercise Essentials for Healthy Aging: An Orthopaedic Surgeon’s Inside Look at Being Smart About Staying Active,” a free lecture open to the public, will be presented Wednesday, Oct. 7, 6-7:15 p.m., at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, DuVal Auditorium (Room 2600), 1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson. The 75-minute presentation will include time for questions and answers, and light refreshments will be provided.

Movement is medicine—whether you are a walker or a weekend warrior, the importance of staying active remains at the forefront of a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a regular regimen of physical activity can significantly increase your chances of healthy aging, both physically and mentally. Research has shown that regular physical activity, even at a moderate level, remains one of the most important lifestyle factors for maintenance of good health as we age. For those with joint pain, injury or limitations, this may be a tall order.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is an increasing need for more information on helping...

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Dr. Daniel Persky Named Associate Director of Clinical Investigations at UA Cancer Center

Daniel Persky, MD, a leading physician-scientist in the field of lymphoma translational research, has been named associate director of clinical investigations and director, Clinical Trials Office (CTO), at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. Dr. Persky will work closely with UA Cancer Center leadership to enhance clinical and translational research efforts.

A distinguished clinical research specialist, Dr. Persky is an associate professor of medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. He specializes in hematology/oncology, particularly in lymphoid malignancies, such as lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and others. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, subspecialty of medical oncology, and is a research member of the Therapeutic Development Program at the UA Cancer Center.

“Dr. Persky brings tremendous experience and expertise to this position. His work will allow the UA Cancer Center to deploy innovative initiatives to the clinical trials phase, and that is imperative in our fight to cure cancer,” said UA Cancer Center Director Andrew Kraft, MD.


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Dr. Rifat Latifi Receives Prestigious American College of Surgeons/Pfizer International Surgical Volunteerism Award

Rifat Latifi, MD, trauma surgeon in the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, received the 2015 American College of Surgeons (ACS)/Pfizer Surgical Volunteerism Award for his work on establishing telemedicine and e-health programs in underdeveloped nations, especially those recovering from conflict and in need of major rebuilding of their health-care systems.

The award is presented to ACS fellows and members who are committed to giving back to society though significant contributions to surgical care as volunteers and whose altruism, vision, leadership and dedication provide models to emulate and whose contributions have made a lasting difference.

Dr. Latifi’s telemedicine program began in Kosovo in 2000, where the medical infrastructure was destroyed during the war in 1999. He and his collaborators built a state-of-the-art telemedicine program that included technical infrastructure, virtual-education programs and videoconferencing capabilities. It also included an electronic library that uses the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), a World Health Organization program that...

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University of Arizona’s Dr. Fernando D. Martinez to Lead Transformative Research Center Focused on Asthma and Airway Disease

Fernando D. Martinez, MD, UA Regent’s Professor and Swift – McNear endowed chair of pediatrics, has been tapped to lead the University of Arizona Health Sciences’ expanded translational research efforts and program innovation in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of asthma and airway disease. Dr. Martinez has been named inaugural director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center by Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences.

“I am truly excited by this opportunity to further the scientific growth of this important area of research study,” said Dr. Martinez. “The UA Health Sciences has a tremendous research base that can be leveraged to accelerate our efforts to understand the basis of asthma and airway diseases toward the development of precision therapies and prevention strategies.”

“Fernando is among the world’s leading authorities on asthma and chronic airway diseases – health problems that affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide and cause considerable morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Garcia. “Through his many years of rigorous research productivity, Fernando has positioned the UA for...

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Nine UA Health Sciences Faculty Members, Programs Named Finalists for `Influential Health and Medical Leaders’ Awards

Finalists for the Influential Health and Medical Leaders Awards have been announced by Tucson Local Media and nine University of Arizona Health Sciences-affiliated faculty members and programs are to be recognized during the publishing agency’s inaugural ceremony, Wednesday, Sept. 23.

In all, nine Tucson-based health and wellness achievement award winners will be announced during Tucson Local Media’s awards ceremony at Casino Del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

“We are thrilled with the caliber of nominations we received,” said Jaime Hood, general manager of Tucson Local Media. “There were some wonderful entries, and the judges said it was difficult to pick their top three. All of our finalists are deserving of recognition.”

Tucson Local Media owns the following publications: Explorer, Marana News, Foothills News, Desert Times and Inside Tucson Business. The award winners will be featured in the October edition of Inside Tucson Business.

“We are genuinely gratified that Tucson Local Media has chosen to recognize the leadership in health and medicine in our community,” said Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD...

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Renowned Expert Dr. F. Daniel Duffy to Present ‘Transition from Medicine to Healthcare,’ Sept. 29 in Phoenix, Sept. 30 in Tucson

Just how much the health-care system has changed is the topic of special lectures on Tuesday, Sept. 29, and Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the University of Arizona Colleges of Medicine in Phoenix and Tucson.

The presentation, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Transition from Medicine to Healthcare,” will be given by acknowledged medical education expert F. Daniel Duffy, MD, MACP, as part of the bi-annual Donald K. Buffmire Visiting Lectureship in Medicine series, sponsored by the Flinn Foundation.

Dr. Duffy, the former dean of the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine in Tulsa, will speak in Phoenix Sept. 29 and in Tucson Sept. 30.

Dr. Duffy is an internal medicine physician and a founding member of the American Academy on Healthcare Communications. He has written and lectured on the incorporation of principles of knowledge management into the core competencies for medical practice.

Among the subjects he will address in his presentation:

Democratization of the health-care system Challenges of providing rural health care Utilizing evolving technology Minimizing health-care disparities among populations... [read more]

‘Project Taking Charge’ Kicks Off Sept. 12


LOCATION:  Fred Archer Neighborhood Center, 1665 S. La Cholla Blvd., Tucson

“Project Taking Charge,” a free six-month program for adults over age 18 and their families who want to take control of their health and wellbeing, will kick off with an informational session on Saturday, Sept. 12. The event will be held 8-11:30 a.m., at the Fred Archer Neighborhood Center, 1665 S. La Cholla Blvd, Tucson.

The program, which will focus on health promotion and prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke, is being offered by the University of Arizona colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health.

The kick-off event will include orientation, registration and health screenings. (Registration and informed consent are required to participate in the program.)

Health professions students from the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, UA College of Nursing, UA College of Pharmacy and UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health will provide most of the services under faculty supervision, preparing the students to work as teams in their...

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