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People and Programs On the Move at University of Arizona Health Sciences

UA and Banner Welcome Neonatologist Dr. Shalin Patel

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson Department of Pediatrics and Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center welcome new faculty member Shalin Patel, MBBS, MPH, MD, assistant professor, to the Division of Neonatology.

As a neonatologist, Dr. Patel will provide care for high-risk newborns with critical clinical conditions, prematurity and birth defects, and provide care for other newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Diamond Children’s.

Dr. Patel received his medical degree from C.U. Shah Medical College (Surendranagar, India). He completed his pediatrics residency at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine (Kalamazoo, Mich.). He then went on to complete a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center (Memphis). Additionally, Dr. Patel completed an MPH in health care administration from Benedictine University (Lisle, Ill.).

Dr. Patel conducts quality-improvement...

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UA Health Sciences Study of Devastating Lung Disorders in the Critically Ill Receives $11.4 Million Boost

Cutting-edge research investigating the genetic basis for devastating disorders in the critically ill – acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) – will receive a major boost thanks to an $11.4 million, five-year program project grant.

The prestigious program project award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health has been awarded to researchers at the University of Arizona Health Sciences and is led by  Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences, the Dr. Merlin K. DuVal Professor of Medicine and an elected member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine.

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a rapidly progressive disease that occurs in critically ill patients affecting more than 200,000 patients in the United States with mortality ranging from 30 to 50 percent. Patients with significant trauma, gastric acid aspiration and severe pneumonia or sepsis (a blood...

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UA Infectious Diseases Experts to Collaborate on National Effort to Develop HIV Cure

The University of Arizona is among 18 institutions participating in a $28 million, five-year Martin Delaney Collaboratory grant awarded today to George Washington University by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to marshal various immunotherapy advances to create a novel HIV cure strategy.

The effort involves six teams working on multiple projects. The project the UA College of Medicine – Tucson is participating in, “Bench to Bed Enhanced Lymphocyte Infusions to Engineer Viral Eradication (BELIEVE),” will leverage the consortium’s innovative cell therapy approach that focuses on making an individual’s natural immune system work better at eliminating HIV reservoirs.

“We will be working with the BELIEVE team to test a strategy to cure HIV by targeting killer cells to sites within lymph nodes where the virus hides,” said Elizabeth Connick, MD, a professor in the UA Department of Medicine, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the local principal investigator on the project. She anticipates...

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Investing in the Next Generation of Cancer Fighters: American Cancer Society Recognizes Promising Research Capabilities at the UA Cancer Center

In recognition of the University of Arizona Cancer Center’s promising junior investigators, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has awarded the Center a $360,000 Institutional Research Grant (IRG).

Institutional Research Grants are block grants given to institutions as "seed money" for the initiation of projects by promising junior investigators. The funds are intended to provide support to cancer researchers who are just beginning their careers to help them obtain preliminary data in support of more extensive proposals and funding. This is especially helpful by enabling young investigators who have no national peer-reviewed research grant support to “jump-start” their research programs and establish a research career in a very competitive environment.

“It’s just not very easy for young scientists to secure research funding if they do not have a proven track record,” said UA Cancer Center Director Andrew Kraft, MD. “Funding agencies want to know that they are investing their dollars into research that is going to pay off, and without preliminary data or prior successful projects, it is difficult for these entities to justify investments of hundreds of...

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New Treatment Approaches, Grateful Survivors At Annual Trauma Conference, Aug. 4-5

A U.S. Border Patrol officer critically injured in a motorcycle crash, a young woman trapped in a car fire and a Tucson woman badly injured in an ATV accident are among the grateful Southern Arizona trauma survivors who will address first responders, trauma surgeons, emergency nurses and others at the 27th Annual Southwest Regional Conference, Aug. 4-5.

The conference, which draws hundreds of EMS providers, medical personnel, law enforcement officers  and vendors to Tucson each year, is hosted by the Division of Trauma, Acute Care, Burn and Emergency Surgery at the University of  Arizona Department of Surgery and by Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, which operates the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Southern Arizona.

In the United States, trauma is the leading cause of death in people ages 46 and younger, exceeding cancer and heart disease combined. The Trauma Center at Banner – UMC Tucson treats nearly 5,000 patients each year. Car crashes, motorcycle accidents, falls and burns are the leading causes of injury in Southern...

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UA Department of Surgery and Banner – UMC Welcome Dr. Benjamin Lee, New Chief of Urology

Benjamin Lee, MD, a national leader in kidney and prostate cancer surgery and research, has joined Banner – University Medical Center and the University of Arizona Department of Surgery as professor and chief of the Division of Urology.  

He is one of about 20 new faculty physicians joining the hospital and UA College of Medicine – Tucson this summer.

Dr. Lee comes to Tucson from the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, where he was a professor of medicine and urology and director of the school’s fellowship program in robotics, laparoscopy and endourology.

Dr. Lee has extensive experience with minimally invasive approaches to treat renal cell carcinoma, prostate cancer, transitional cell carcinoma and kidney disease, pioneering several innovative surgical techniques and principles.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Lee has chosen to join us in Arizona. He brings high energy and strong clinical expertise in kidney and prostate cancer,” said Leigh Neumayer, MD, head of the UA Department of Surgery.

In addition to his role as urology division chief, he will serve as director of the Gastroenterology/Urology...

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UA Health Sciences and Banner Health Receive Historic Funding as part of Landmark Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program

The University of Arizona Health Sciences and Banner Health have been awarded a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to participate in the Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program, which aims to enroll 1 million or more U.S. participants to improve prevention and treatment of disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics. The award, which totals $43.3 million over five years and is the largest NIH peer-reviewed grant in Arizona history, was announced by the NIH today.

The UA Health Sciences and Banner Health will make significant contributions to the diversity of enrolled participants in the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program (PMI CP). The inclusion of American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino participants will provide greater insights to disease...

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Upcoming Lectures and Wellness Fair at the University of Arizona Health Sciences

Free Presentation on Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Cancers, July 17

The public is invited to a free presentation on carcinoid and neuroendocrine cancers, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday, July 17, at the University of Arizona Cancer / North, 3838 N. Campbell Ave.

Speakers include Yi-Zarn Wang, MD, a professor of surgery at Louisiana State University Health Sciences College of Medicine and a member of the Ochsner Neuroendocrine Tumor Program in Kenner, La.; Marian Porubsky, MD, an assistant professor of surgery at Banner – University Medical Center, and UA Cancer Center dietitian Michelle Bratton, a certified specialist in oncology nutrition.

The event is sponsored by the University of Arizona Cancer Center, Arizona Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Foundation and Banner – University Medical Center.

The event is free but reservations are encouraged by contacting the Arizona Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Foundation at azcnf.org or by calling 520-762-6757. 

Diabetes and Wellness Fair, July 20

A free diabetes and wellness fair will...

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Are We Giving Up on Cardiac Arrest Patients Too Soon? – New UA Study Suggests Physicians Need to Give Comatose Cardiac Arrest Survivors Adequate Time before Predicting Outcomes

The day after his son’s twins were born in 2012, Gary Brauchla, 68, went into cardiac arrest as he slept in his home in Pearce, Ariz.

Brauchla’s wife, Kathie, who is a former surgical technician, immediately called 911 and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Fifteen minutes later, paramedics took over administering CPR and shocked his heart with a defibrillator, restoring his heart rhythm.

Though Brauchla’s heart was restarted, he remained in a coma as he was flown by helicopter to Tucson. There, doctors treated him with coronary stents and therapeutic hypothermia (cooling his body) to reduce his brain’s need for oxygen and minimize the risk of brain injury.

“The doctors said it usually takes up to 48 hours for people to wake up, but after two days he still was not responding,” said Kathie.

Brauchla remained in a deep coma, until finally, 72 hours later after he was rewarmed, he gradually began to awaken.

“After 48 hours, doctors used to start talking about pulling the plug,” said Kathie.

Physicians may be drawing conclusions too soon about survival outcomes of patients who suffered a cardiac arrest outside the hospital. A...

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New UAHS Molecular Research Discovery May Translate to New Treatments for a Number of Viral Diseases

In a new peer-reviewed research study published in the Public Library of Sciences (PLoS Pathogens), University of Arizona Health Sciences researcher Felicia Goodrum, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Immunobiology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, has identified how the cytomegalovirus is able to go latent and undetected, then become active and lead to life-threatening health risks.

Dr. Goodrum is a member of the BIO5 Institute and her lab studies cytomegalovirus. The virus is known as CMV and is a part of the herpes virus family. It poses a life-threatening risk for those with weak immune systems, the elderly and those fighting diseases like AIDS and cancer. In the unborn, CMV presents a risk in pregnancy and is the leading cause of infectious-disease related birth defects in babies.

In the general population, people are typically infected as children and never know it because it does not cause any disease...

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