News

Arizona Telemedicine Program Founding Director Dr. Ronald S. Weinstein Honored by the ‘Custodian’ of the Nation’s First Telemedicine Program, the Center for Connected Health

Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, founding director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) at the Arizona Health Sciences Center and one of the “fathers” of telemedicine, will be honored for “distinguished service in advancing technology-enabled care delivery and help promoting health and wellness,” on Thursday, Oct. 23, at the 11th Annual Connected Health Symposium, hosted by the Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, in Boston, Mass.

The Center for Connected Health is part of Boston-based Partners HealthCare, a non-profit integrated health system, and was started in 1994 by two of the nation’s leading academic medical centers: Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass General), both affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

“It’s a homecoming for me,” said Dr. Weinstein, who did his residency in pathology at Mass General, and participated there in the very first telemedicine cases in the country, in 1968.

“That program is of enormous historical interest, and to receive an award from the people...

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UA’s Dr. Sean Elliott Appointed to Governor’s Council on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response

Pediatric infectious diseases physician, Sean Elliott, MD, professor of pediatrics and medical director of infection prevention for the University of Arizona Health Network, has been appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer to the newly established Council on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.

The council is comprised of leading experts from the fields of health, human services, public safety, emergency and military affairs, education and more.

Dr. Elliott, together with a multi-disciplinary team at UAHN, has created an “infection-prevention SWAT team,” developing protocols and training for infection control to safely care for patients and to protect the well-being of staff and clinicians throughout the network.

“The Governor’s councils have been formed before—as in the council for H1N1—and they bring together the resources of the state to improve communication, training and understanding,” said Dr. Elliott. “Since we are about to enter the flu season, this council is particularly important.”

According to the Office of the Governor, the “Council has been charged with developing...

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Sen. Tom Harkin is honorary speaker at University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine’s Fellowship in Integrative Medicine graduation

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa) will be awarded an honorary fellowship from the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) on Thursday, Oct. 23.

He will join faculty, staff and the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine graduating Class of 2014 Summer—57 practitioners from 27 states and six countries—in celebrating AzCIM’s work and achievements in the transformation of health care. The graduation ceremony will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Westward Look Resort, 245 E. Ina Rd., Tucson.

Senator Harkin has been a long-time supporter of preventive health care, wellness and integrative medicine, paving the way for significant policy improvement and receptivity to integrative practices during the past 20 years. At this special ceremony, AzCIM will recognize Sen. Harkin’s support and leadership, celebrate the next class of leaders in the integrative medicine field, and honor 20 years of dedication to health and wellness.

AzCIM was founded in 1994 by Andrew Weil, MD, and now is recognized as the pioneering...

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UA Neurosurgeon Featured in Acclaimed Documentary on Care for the Dying Beginning Oct. 23

Allan Hamilton, MD, a renowned neurosurgeon at the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, is among a dozen physician-experts from some of the nation’s top medical institutions, such as Yale University School of Medicine and Duke University Medical Center, featured in the documentary, Consider the Conversation 2: Stories about Cure, Relief and Comfort.

Nominated for a regional Emmy Award by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the film focuses on the important role of the doctor-patient relationship and on the impact of meaningful communication with patients and their families who are faced with severe chronic disease or terminal illness.

The film by independent filmmakers Terry Kaldhusdal and Michael Bernhagen will premiere locally on the Arizona Public Media UA Channel Thursday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. It also will air Friday, Oct. 24, 2 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 26, 4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 27, 3 a.m., and Thursday, Oct. 30, 2 p.m.

In Consider the Conversation 2, Dr. Hamilton, executive director of the Arizona...

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UA Steele Children’s Research Center Receives $20,000 for Pediatric Cancer Research

Tee Up For Tots donated $20,000 to the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center for its pediatric cancer research in haploidentical hematopoietic cell transplant.

Overall, Tee Up For Tots raised more than $34,000 through its 16th annual golf tournament that took place at the OMNI Tucson National Resort in August.

In addition to their support of pediatric cancer research, Tee Up For Tots donated $5,000 to UAMC Diamond Children’s and $9,000 to the Tee Up For Tots Family Assistance Program, which directly benefit patients with cancer and their families.

Haploidentical hematopoietic cell transplant (HHCT) makes allogeneic bone marrow transplant possible for virtually every patient using a family donor, even when they are not a full match. Support from Tee Up For Tots will fund studies at the UA Steele Center exploring the application of this approach for pediatric solid tumors.

“Once again, we would like to thank Tee Up For Tots for their support to help us find more effective treatments for pediatric cancers,” said pediatric oncologist...

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UACC and BIO5 researcher awarded $1.59 million NCI grant to study drug resistance in lymphoma tumor treatment

Jonathan H. Schatz, MD, was recently awarded a 5-year, $1.59 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study ways to effectively combat drug resistance when treating lymphoma — a study that may have wide-ranging impact when it comes to treating a variety of cancers.

The study, titled “A New Treatment Paradigm for ALK-Driven Cancers Exploiting Oncogene Overdose” officially began Sept. 19 and will run through 2019. Dr. Schatz and his team will examine growth mechanisms of tumors driven by anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and how they develop resistance to treatment.

“As you treat these tumors with ALK inhibitors, the protein becomes over-expressed, generating resistance to the treatment, but this causes an oncogene overdose effect when the inhibitor is no longer present,” Dr. Schatz said. “Understanding this overdose effect is a major goal of the grant project. The results could teach us a lot about how to effectively treat these cases.”

Dr. Schatz is an assistant professor of medicine. He is a member of University of Arizona Cancer Center’s Therapeutic Development Program and an investigator in the Clinical &...

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Impact of Lifelong Cytomegalovirus Infection on Aging and the Immune System Focus of UA Research

The study, funded by a $2.3 million five-year NIH grant, is critically important to understanding how to improve older adults’ responses to vaccination against the infectious diseases that remain among the major causes of mortality of those over age 65.

A virus that infects us when we’re young and then hides in our cells throughout our lives without causing symptoms may weaken the ability of our immune system to defend  against influenza, West Nile or other viruses as we age.

How the cytomegalovirus (CMV) – one of the herpes viruses – impacts the aging of our immune system is being studied by researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, funded by a $2.3 million five-year grant from the National Institute on Aging/National Institutes of Health.

“It is critically important to understand the causes and consequences of lifelong CMV infection for immunity and aging. CMV is present in 70 to 90 percent of people over 65, which by 2050 will translate into 70 million people in the United States and more than 1 billion people in the world,” said Janko Nikolich-Žugich, MD, PhD, chairman of the...

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UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence Hosts Events in Observance of Valley Fever Awareness Week 2014, Nov. 8-16

The University of Arizona Valley Fever Center for Excellence will host free events in Tucson and Phoenix for the public and health professionals in observance of the 12th annual Valley Fever Awareness Week, Nov. 8-16, recently proclaimed by Gov. Jan Brewer “in recognition of the outstanding treatment and research conducted by the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona, its new clinical center at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, and for the advances in Valley Fever education and public health by the Arizona Department of Health Services.” 

The events provide opportunities to hear experts and ask questions about Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis), which primarily is a disease of the lungs common in the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. 

Fully two-thirds of the approximately 150,000 new Valley Fever infections that occur annually in the United States affect Arizonans, mostly in Maricopa County. Pets, especially dogs, also are susceptible. Some patients take many months to recover and each year Valley Fever is responsible for several dozen deaths. 

...

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University of Arizona, Phoenix Break Ground on New Downtown Project

With a shovel of dirt, construction began Thursday on the 10-story Biosciences Partnership Building; the latest development in downtown Phoenix.

University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton tilled the soil ceremoniously marking the beginning of the 2-year design and construction for the 245,000-square foot research building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

“This building will foster collaborations with scientists that will lead to more cures, better treatments and bring more federal and private dollars to the state,” said President Hart. “We will pursue expanded partnerships with industry that we hope will lead to groundbreaking discoveries in the areas of neuroscience, cardiovascular and thoracic science. This building will allow us to further these efforts and, ultimately, improve lives."

As announced earlier this year by the university and the City of Phoenix, plans are in place to construct the 10-story, 245,000-square-foot research building just north of the Health Sciences Education Building on the downtown campus.

“This building will serve the medical school and beyond with important research and faculty to...

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‘PANDA Children’s Neurological Center’ Opens at the University of Arizona Medical Center Children’s Multispecialty Clinic on Wilmot

Thanks to the generosity and fundraising efforts of the UA Steele Children’s Research Center women’s board in Phoenix, the PANDA Children’s Neurological Center now is open.

Known as PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers), the group raised about $1 million to establish the center and fund recruitment of neurological specialists and research in this area.

The PANDA Children’s Neurological Center is at the University of Arizona Medical Center Children’s Multi-Specialty Center at 535 N. Wilmot.

The center will improve the lives of Arizona families whose children suffer from such neurological conditions as:

• Autism
• Behavioral and developmental disorders
• Brain tumors
• Concussions
• Congenital and hereditary disorders (e.g. cerebral palsy)
• Inflammatory and infectious disorders (e.g. encephalitis)
• Seizures and epilepsy
• Traumatic brain injury

The PANDA Children’s Neurological Center is staffed with a developmental pediatrician, a pediatric sports medicine physician, pediatric...

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