Life stopped suddenly for Tucsonan Richard “Dick” Highberger at 40,000 feet, when a silent and devastating cardiac arrest left him not breathing and with no heartbeat during a flight over Texas.
Within moments, however, three vascular surgeons with ties to the University of Arizona Department of Surgery were at his side, saving Highberger’s life in the cramped aisle of a regional commuter jet.
“We are still stunned,” said Highberger, 64. “If you are going to have something like this happen, you should have three vascular surgeons sitting 10 feet away. I couldn’t have planned it any better. Everything happened almost perfectly, with the best medical care right there.”
Said his wife, Jan Highberger, “We as a community can be proud of the UA doctors.”
UA vascular surgery resident Craig Weinkauf, MD, PhD, said the incident was life altering for him. “It was great to help someone and be so lucky that it happens to be a couple that is so wonderful and happy,” Dr. Weinkauf said.
The Highbergers and Dr. Weinkauf recently met for lunch, where they celebrated life and chatted for more than two hours. The...[read more]
UA Experts Co-Author National Report that Focuses on How to Save More Lives from Cardiac Arrest in the U.S.
How likely are you or your loved ones to suffer a cardiac arrest and, most importantly, how likely are you to survive this devastating and common event in the United States? The Institute of Medicine tells us just that in a new report, “Strategies to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival: A Time to Act,” released this morning in Washington, D.C.
The Institute of Medicine report examines national data on the incidence and survival rates from cardiac arrest in the United States, assesses evidence on existing lifesaving therapies and recommends public health strategies that could save lives. Additionally, the report explores CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators, emergency medical services and hospital resuscitation systems of care and resuscitation research.
Two University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine researchers are co-authors of the report: Arthur B. Sanders, MD, MHA, professor and a member of the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center (AEMRC) – Tucson and the Institute of Medicine, and Bentley J. Bobrow, MD, professor and co-director, AEMRC – Phoenix, and medical director for the Arizona Department of...[read more]
The Terry family was new to Tucson in 2007 when their daughter Ashanti, then 5, had an asthma attack so severe she was intubated and hospitalized for a week, near death.
Now 13, Ashanti is thriving at her Oro Valley school, stays active and plays the viola. She has never again had such a terrifying experience with her asthma – a testament to her own determination, the vigilance of her parents and excellent medical care.
“We got the resources we needed to keep her asthma under control, and we ran with it,” said Ashanti’s mother, Keyshanna Terry, a nurse, respiratory therapist and an asthmatic herself. “We connected with great doctors, got educated about her triggers and got her on the right meds.”
Last month the Pediatric Asthma Program at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson was re-certified by The Joint Commission, the national health-care quality improvement and accrediting body, with a gold seal of excellence following a rigorous, day-long survey. Banner – UMC is the first hospital in Arizona with this elite certification.
One of the program’s strengths is its focus on asthma education, including videos now under production specifically...[read more]
Ten health sciences students from the University of Arizona recently participated in a pilot simulation using telemedicine to support patient care in a rural setting. The event was funded by the Advanced Nursing Education Grant awarded to the UA College of Nursing, and was a collaborative effort among the Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program, the Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center (ASTEC) and the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP).
During the event, the students tested a cutting-edge teaching/learning model, implementing iPad technology in an interprofessional patient care simulation. Four students, two each from the UA Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy, participated in the simulation remotely from Flagstaff, Kingman and Phoenix via iPad video conferencing. They provided support to a six-student, in-person team delivering care to a simulation manikin experiencing a heart attack. The in-person team consisted of two students each from the UA Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. Both groups were facilitated by an expert simulation instructor.
“This is a perfect concept, and one I envisioned when I wrote the grant three years ago...[read more]
Unique Professor-Student Collaboration Brings Public Awareness to Often Silent, Yet Potentially Devastating Virus
Felicia Goodrum, PhD, University of Arizona associate professor of immunobiology and member of the BIO5 Institute, has spent the last 20 years researching viruses. Most of that time has been devoted specifically to the cytomegalovirus (CMV), one of eight human herpes viruses, infecting 60-99 percent of adults worldwide.
CMV infects most people early in life, but in healthy individuals causes no symptoms and is controlled by their immune system. However, in those with compromised immune systems, or when passed from a mother to an unborn child, the virus can have devastating consequences.
To raise awareness of the risks involved with being a carrier of the CMV virus, as well as tips to prevent passing it on, Dr. Goodrum and Bre Eder, a UA undergraduate student in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, have developed a unique cross-disciplinary collaboration.
During the past year, the duo has worked together to create educational materials targeting the public as well as health providers. The...[read more]
Taylor S. Riall, MD, PhD, a surgical oncologist specializing in pancreaticobiliary disease (complex disorders of the pancreas and bile ducts) has been named chief of the Division of General Surgery/Surgical Oncology in the University of Arizona Department of Surgery. She is internationally known for her work on comparative effectiveness (research comparing different treatments to understand the right treatment, for the right patient, in the right setting) and patient-centered cancer and general surgery outcomes. Dr. Riall will join the department Oct. 1.
Dr. Riall is coming to the UA from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where she is the John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research and the director of the Center for Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Riall to the University of Arizona College of Medicine and Banner – University Medicine,” said Leigh Neumayer, MD, professor and chair of the UA Department of Surgery. “She brings a wealth of expertise and experience in decreasing variation in approaches to treatments and thus improving...[read more]
21st Annual Father of the Year Awards Dinner and Gala Raises $150,000 for the UA Steele Children’s Research Center
Father’s Day Council Tucson celebrated five outstanding Tucson fathers at its 21st annual “Father of the Year Awards Dinner and Gala” on May 28 at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.
The event raised approximately $150,000 for type 1 diabetes research, faculty recruitment and the “Father’s Day Council Tucson Endowed Chair for Type 1 Diabetes” at the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center.
This annual event honors men who have demonstrated they are dedicated fathers, outstanding community role models and successful in their chosen field. This year’s honorees were:Greg Byrne, vice president for athletics; University of Arizona Lorenzo Livingston, master sergeant; U.S. Air Force Patricio P. Lopez, III, partner/attorney; Rusing Lopez & Lizardi Attorneys at Law Warren S. Rustand, chief executive officer; Providence Service Corp. Mark Wheeler, MD, associate professor; Division of Endocrinology, University of Arizona, Department of Pediatrics; UA Steele Children’s Research Center
Over the past 20 years, Father’s Day Council Tucson has raised nearly $...[read more]
UA Pediatrics Professor Dr. Alan Bedrick Appointed Executive Director of Critical Path Institute’s ‘International Neonatal Consortium’
Alan Bedrick, MD, professor and division chief of neonatology at the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, was appointed executive director of the International Neonatal Consortium (INC), established recently by the Critical Path Institute (C-Path).
The consortium was launched in May at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in London during a workshop focused on developing and implementing new therapies for neonates. INC’s purpose is to develop practical tools that can be incorporated into clinical trials for neonates, which then should lead to more successful, efficient trials and provide this population with better treatments.
As executive director, Dr. Bedrick is responsible for the overall strategic planning and management of collaborative research endeavors among academic neonatologists, industry clinical staff and regulatory agency staff that will accelerate an understanding of medicine use in neonates. Dr. Bedrick will continue to serve as division chief for neonatology at the UA Department of Pediatrics.
“The International Neonatal Consortium embodies the collaborative...[read more]
With a population that is 35-percent Latino and Native American, Arizona suffers from serious health disparities, made even more severe by the need for a more diverse biomedical and health-care workforce.
In response, the Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) is offering a full array of programs this summer, based in Tucson and Phoenix, to help increase the diversity of Arizona’s health-care workforce. These include an introduction to health care program for high school students to programs to train diverse professionals already in the field.
These highly competitive University of Arizona diversity programs launch in June and range from Med-Start, a statewide summer residency program for high school seniors, now in its 46thyear, to new programs that are bringing in outstanding local and national graduate-level students and academic clinicians for advanced training.
Creating a diverse health-care workforce representative of the population it serves is a priority for Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences. Thanks to his leadership, the Arizona Health Sciences Center...[read more]
Researchers in the University of Arizona's BIO5 Institute have entered into a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Consumer & Personal Products and Janssen Biotech Inc. to leverage foundational discovery research aimed at determining environmental factors that underlie asthma and allergies.
The project's goal is to identify compounds present in dust in the farm environment that may be protective against asthma. Findings from this study could lead to the development of medicines to prevent the disease.
While asthma is known to have a genetic component, the recent dramatic increase in its prevalence across westernized countries cannot be due to this factor alone, suggesting that environment plays a major role. Asthma, the most prevalent childhood disease, affects more than 278 million people worldwide and predisposes individuals to a range of serious consequences later in life. Yet, current approved therapies address only symptoms and do not halt disease progression.
"This important study seeks to determine which environmental factors predispose for — or protect against — respiratory diseases like asthma," said Dr. Fernando Martinez,...[read more]