UA Alumnus Developing Support System for Retaining Nurse Practitioners in Rural Areas

As a family nurse practitioner who has worked in underserved areas for more than 20 years, Van Roper, FNP-C, PhD, knows firsthand the challenges faced by health-care providers in rural settings. For new nurse practitioners, these challenges can be especially daunting.

“When you take a new nurse practitioner and plug them into a low-resource environment, it can be difficult,” said Dr. Roper. “If they don’t have good support, they’ll look for another position where there are more resources. I believe support is a key component of retention in rural areas.”

Dr. Roper, who earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) from the University of Arizona College of Nursing in 2011, is currently using Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a HIPAA-compliant platform that facilitates audio-visual interaction between providers, as a form of post-graduate support for nurse practitioners.

“The platform allows clinicians in outlying areas to present challenging or specialty clinical cases to experts at a central location so they can...

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Watch Out for Bites from ‘Invisible’ Snakes, Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center Warns

Experts on venomous creatures at the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center advise gardeners, hikers, youngsters and other citizens to be especially cautious about rattlesnakes in the weeks ahead.

Whether human desert dwellers are ready or not, Arizona’s rattlesnakes are welcoming offspring. Baby rattlers are born in July and August and are active. The baby snakes have no rattle until they first shed their skins, so they make no warning sound before striking. The babies range in length from six to 12 inches, and have enough venom to be very dangerous. Brush and grass may camouflage the small snakes so well that they are "invisible" to people.

The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center in Tucson, part of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, serves all parts of the state except Maricopa County. The specialists answering the phones receive calls from Arizonans of all ages who have suffered rattlesnake bites without realizing they had encountered a reptile.

“People may not figure out what has happened until we...

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Dr. Iman Ghaderi, a Specialist in Advanced Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Procedures, Joins UA Department of Surgery

Iman Ghaderi, MD, MSc, has joined the University of Arizona Department of Surgery as assistant professor of surgery. Dr. Ghaderi specializes in minimally invasive and advance laparoscopic procedures for the treatment of many upper gastrointestinal conditions, including reflux disease and esophageal motility disorders, abdominal wall hernias, weight loss surgery and advanced endoscopy.

Dr. Ghaderi obtained his medical degree in Tehran, Iran, and worked as a general practitioner and clinical researcher before moving to Canada to pursue a master of science degree at McGill University in Montreal. He then received his general surgery residency training at Western University in London, Canada. He also completed a two-year research and clinical fellowship in advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he developed an expertise in laparoscopic management of benign esophageal and stomach disorders, abdominal hernia and bariatric surgery. He currently is pursuing his master’s degree in health professions education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


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UA Battles Breast Cancer with Research, Advanced Treatments and Team Approach

Nearly two decades ago, Deborah Goswitz’s youngest child beat leukemia when he was only 3 through a groundbreaking drug trial at the University of Arizona Medical Center.

When Goswitz was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer last spring, this 61-year-old mother of three knew the aggressive team approach offered by the highly skilled UA medical and surgical specialists was what she needed.

Goswitz knew the Breast Health team at UAMC and the University of Arizona Cancer Center combines the latest research, treatment and experience in the battle against breast cancer. She enrolled in a promising drug trial and underwent a mastectomy performed by Michele Ley, MD, director of breast surgery at the UA Department of Surgery, who removed the cancer in April.

Led by Dr. Ley, the breast program includes surgeons Amy L. Waer, MD, and Rebecca K. Viscusi, MD. The three perform as many as 60 breast cancer surgeries each month. Their ongoing research and participation in...

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Dr. Mary Koithan Selected for Fellowship in the American Academy of Nursing

Mary S. Koithan, PhD, RN, APRN, BC, associate professor and associate dean for professional and community engagement at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, has been selected for fellowship in the prestigious American Academy of Nursing, one of the highest honors in the nursing profession.

She is one of 168 nurse leaders who will be inducted as fellows on Oct. 18, during the Academy’s annual meeting and conference in Washington, D.C. Selection criteria for this honor include evidence of significant contributions to nursing and health care, and influence on health policies and the health and wellbeing of all.

Dr. Koithan is an internationally recognized leader in whole-systems healing and research methodologies. Her research is focused on integrative therapeutics and integrative nursing, particularly in chronically ill populations. She and coauthor Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN, recently published ...

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UA Rural Health Conference and Performance Improvement Summit

EVENT:        UA Rural Health Conference and Performance Improvement Summit
                     41st annual conference focuses on access to health care in Arizona’s rural communities.

                      FRIDAY, AUG. 8, 8 A.M.-1 P.M.

LOCATION:  Wigwam Resort
                     300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park, Ariz.

Access to health care in Arizona’s rural communities is the focus of the 41st Annual Rural Health Conference and Performance Improvement Summit, Thursday, Aug. 7- Friday, Aug. 8, at the Wigwam Resort, 300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park, Ariz.

Hosted by the Center for Rural Health at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, the conference brings together a statewide audience of health-care providers, policy makers, academic, county and community health professionals, administrators, hospitals...

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New System in Arizona Dramatically Improves Survival from Cardiac Arrest

A new system that sent patients to designated Cardiac Receiving Centers dramatically increased the survival rate of victims of sudden cardiac arrest in Arizona, according to a new study.

The study, published Thursday in Annals of Emergency Medicine (, shows that the survival rate increased by more than 60 percent during the four-year period of the effort, from 2007 to 2010.  More importantly, when the results were adjusted for the various factors that significantly impact survival (such as age and how quickly emergency personnel reached patients after their cardiac arrest), the likelihood of surviving more than doubled.  In addition, the likelihood of surviving with good neurological status also more than doubled. 

This statewide effort was accomplished through the Save Hearts Arizona Registry and Education-SHARE Program, a partnership involving the Arizona Department of Health Services, the University of Arizona, and more than 30 hospitals and 100 fire departments and emergency medical service agencies.  The SHARE...

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UA College of Medicine – Tucson School Orientation Activities Welcome Class of 2018, Beginning July 30

Joining one of the more challenging and rewarding medical education training programs in the nation, 115 students will begin three days of orientation on their four-year, hands-on, training commitment to learn leading-edge patient care under the mentorship of distinguished clinician-educators at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

A three-day orientation beginning  Wednesday, July 30, welcomes the Class of 2018, with daily activities such as a community service-learning day, during which  the UA medical students will volunteer with local community organizations to build a sense of community and to gain an understanding of some of the  social issues  the Tucson community faces.

The goal of orientation is to develop a sense of professional identity, community and collegiality among a diverse group of future physicians. The College of Medicine – Tucson Class of 2018 includes 33 students who graduated from the UA, 40 percent of the students are Arizona residents, 25 hold graduate or professional degrees, a little over half are female and two are student-veterans.


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University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center Welcomes New Doctors, Notes National Appointments

The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center welcomed two new cardiologists and recognized the national appointments of members.

Ankit Desai, MD, has joined the UA College of Medicine - Tucson and the Sarver Heart Center as an assistant professor of clinical medicine. Board certified in internal medicine and cardiology, Dr. Desai is a physician-scientist whose research on cardiovascular disparities in minorities with heart failure and pulmonary hypertension is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Heart Association. Dr. Desai’s lab uses cardiac imaging, genomic and molecular biology approaches to develop personalized treatment of pulmonary hypertension and associated heart failure.  

Previously, Dr. Desai was an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System. He completed medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago – College of Medicine, internal medicine residency at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and his...

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UA Heart Surgeon Dr. Zain Khalpey Receives Grant to Understand Healing Power of Stem Cells

Zain Khalpey, MD, PhD, MRCS(Eng), associate professor, University of Arizona Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and the Tony Marnell Sr. Distinguished Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery, recently was awarded $25,000 from the Fineberg Foundation in Los Angeles to support his research toward understanding the mechanisms of how stem cell therapy works and how to maximize its potential for repairing damaged hearts.

Myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as heart attack, typically occurs when the blood supply to parts of the heart is cut off by a blocked artery. This causes damage to the heart tissue, and the cells in the affected area start to die. In the days and weeks following a cardiac incident, this damaged area may grow, eventually leaving a large part of the heart unable to function properly and increasing the risk of further heart problems.

Currently, stem cell injections are being used as a treatment option for patients who have suffered a MI. Stem cells are harvested from a patient’s bone marrow and then undergo a laboratory treatment that guides them into...

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