High School Graduation Party for Cancer Patient Sarah Koenig at Diamond Children’s

Senior Sarah Koenig will celebrate her high school graduation in her hospital room at Banner Children’s – Diamond Children’s Medical Center, on Thursday, May 21, at 4 p.m.

Koenig is battling a rare form of kidney cancer (Wilms Tumor), and is unable to attend her graduation at Sahuaro High School.

The party was planned by Diamond Children’s employee, BJ Godard. “The staff at Diamond Children’s is rallying around Sarah,” said Godard. “We are going to make this a big celebration for her. There will be a cake, presents, the ‘graduation march’ playing, banners, balloons and a professional photographer to take photos.”

Sarah’s high school’s principal, teachers, fellow students, friends and family will attend her graduation party at the hospital.

“Sarah is an amazing young lady who has persevered through this difficult disease, and is graduating with a 4.0 GPA, while undergoing cancer treatment.”

Dr. Daniel Spaite Receives American College of Emergency Physicians’ Outstanding Contributions in Research Award

Daniel Spaite, MD, professor and distinguished chair in the University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine, was selected to receive the “Outstanding Contributions in Research” Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians. The prestigious award recognizes Dr. Spaite’s outstanding contributions to emergency medicine research throughout his career and will be presented in October during the 2015 ACEP Scientific Assembly International Meeting in Boston. The annual meeting is the largest gathering of emergency physicians in the country.

Through his collaborative research, Dr. Spaite has made a significant difference in the survival rates of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital and who suffer traumatic brain injury. He and Bentley Bobrow, MD, professor of emergency medicine, both associate directors of the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center – Phoenix, were instrumental in the statewide integration of early chest compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation in emergency medical services protocols. This has led to a tripling of the rate of survival tripled from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in...

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UA Anesthesiology Professor Dr. Craig M. Palmer Awarded Fulbright Scholarship to Train, Mentor Anesthesiologists in Serbia

Craig M. Palmer, MD, a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, has been chosen for a Fulbright award to travel to Serbia by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Also a Banner – University Medical Group physician, Dr. Palmer’s interest in Serbia began last year when he met two anesthesiologists from the East European country at a Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology meeting in Toronto. One practices in Serbia, and the other, Ivan Velickovic, MD, practices in the United States but returns to Serbia frequently.

“This Fulbright scholarship reflects the outstanding reputation of our anesthesiology department and its training program, not only in this state and around the nation, but also internationally. I’m honored and humbled to receive this award, and eagerly look forward to working with the anesthesiologists in Novi Sad, Serbia,” he said. “As Dr. Velickovic told me in an e-mail, ‘You going there isn’t about changing things in one hospital; it’s about changing anesthesia education and practice in the whole region.’”

Dr. Palmer is the second Fulbright scholarship winner...

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UA Department of Emergency Medicine and Banner – University Medical Center Honors EMS Providers May 19 During EMS Week

Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel from across Southern Arizona will be honored Tuesday, May 19, 8 a.m.-noon, at a celebration event in Kiewit Auditorium, Arizona Cancer Center, 1515 N. Campbell Ave, Tucson, in recognition of National EMS Week May 18-23.

Hosted by Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, Banner – University Medical Center South and the University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine, the celebration is a way to say thank you to EMS providers for the critical role they play in serving the needs of emergency patients in the Southern Arizona community.

All emergency responders in the area are invited.

Presentations will be made by UA Emergency Medicine physicians. UA College of Medicine and Banner – University Medical Center leadership will present the EMS Provider of the Year Awards.

Event Schedule:

8-9 a.m.
“Emergency Medical Services”
Terence Valenzuela, MD, Professor of Emergency Medicine Medical Director, Tucson Fire Department

9-10 a.m.
“Cardiac Arrest System...

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Diamond Children’s Clinics Honored for Excellence in Immunization Rates

Two pediatric clinics in Tucson were recognized by The Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI) as centers of excellence for achieving 90 percent or higher in their immunization rates and excellence in immunization education.

The Banner – University Medical Group Arizona Elks Pediatrics clinic and Banner University Medical Group – Diamond Children’s Multi-Specialty Center were both recognized in the “Toddler” and “Teen” categories.

The awards were presented April 22 at TAPI’s 19th Annual Big Shots for Arizona Awards Dinner at the Phoenix Country Club.

“Providing the highest quality of care to our patients has always been top priority at our pediatric clinics,” said Kimberly Gerhart, MD, medical director of the Elks Pediatrics clinic. “This includes offering vaccines at every appropriate patient encounter. Our faculty, residents and nurses undergo training in the importance of preventing disease by immunizations and then educate our families.”

“This effort was only achievable through our team’s hard work and dedication to the education and delivery of immunizations to the children of Southern Arizona...

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PANDA Fashion Show Breaks Fundraising Record; Grosses More Than $1 Million for Research at the UA Steele Children’s Research Center

For the first time in 16 years, the annual PANDA “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show and Luncheon gross revenues exceeded $1 million—all to support pediatric research efforts at the UA Steele Children’s Research Center.

The Phoenix Women’s Board of the UA Steele Center—known as PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers)—organize the annual event.

The luncheon and fashion show took place at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale on April 25, and was attended by nearly 1,000 people. Fifty-eight children  participated in the fashion show, modeling fashions from Splendid, Converse, Garage and Peek, to the theme, “When You Wish Upon a Star.” 

“This is an incredible and inspiring accomplishment, and we’re so grateful for the PANDAs and their passionate dedication to children’s health,” said UA Steele Center director, Fayez K. Ghishan, MD.

Proceeds from the event will fund pediatric cancer research through the “PANDA Children’s Anti-Tumor Program” at the UA Steele Center. The program is led by pediatric oncologist and Steele Center researcher Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, professor and chief...

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Ceremony for First Graduates of the P-MAP Program, the New Pathway to Medical School

DATE/TIME:            FRIDAY, MAY 15, 9-10 A.M.

LOCATION:             Medical Research Building (MRB), Room 102, 1656 E. Mabel St., Tucson


Launched in May 2014 by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, P-MAP is open to students who have not had the educational and economic advantages that help students get accepted to medical school and cope with its rigorous curriculum, but whose character and commitment – and academic record – make them outstanding candidates. The first undergraduates accepted to the one-year program include two immigrants from Africa, three Hispanic students, three Native American students and two Native American-Hispanic students.

P-MAP illustrates the college’s strong emphasis to train students who are inclined to work with underserved communities, including reservations and rural and border communities, where they can help address the dramatic health disparities encountered by these communities.

“We know these students are very bright,” says Francisco A. Moreno, MD, deputy dean for...

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UA Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Joe G.N. `Skip’ Garcia Selected for American Thoracic Society Leadership Award

Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Arizona, has been selected to receive the prestigious 2015 Leadership Award from the Pulmonary Circulation Assembly of the American Thoracic Society (ATS). Founded in 1905, ATS is comprised of more than 15,000 physicians, research scientists, nurses and other allied health-care professionals who collectively are the leading authorities worldwide on respiratory disease, critical illness and sleep disorders.

The annual leadership award is given “in appreciation of decades of leadership and devoted service in the pulmonary circulation research community,” according to ATS. The winner is chosen by the awards committee of the ATS Pulmonary Circulation Assembly in consideration of contributions to the understanding of the vascular basis of lung disease and advancing knowledge in pulmonary vascular biology and medicine.

A leading authority of the genetic basis of lung disease and the prevention and treatment of inflammatory lung injury, Dr. Garcia will receive the award May 18 at the ATS Circulation Assembly Membership Meeting in...

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AHSC Convocations 2015: Meet Some of the Graduates

UA College of Medicine – Phoenix:

(MEDIA CONTACT: Al Bravo, 602-827-2022)

Nina Lara (orthopaedics)

Nina Lara has been on campus for years. She began in 2010 as a counselor for high school students taking part in the summer program introducing health professions to teen-agers. Since then, Lara has taken on an active role in outreach while going through medical school.

She has been part of a number of initiatives, including the project at Verde Park to teach kids in the downtown community about college and health. As the first in her family to graduate from a university, Nina knows the importance of education. She is receiving her medical degree and a masters’ in public health. In addition to her medical degree, Lara has been pursuing a masters of public health degree with the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and will complete the requirements for her MPH in the fall. This summer, she embarks on her next challenge: residency in orthopaedics at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix.

“Although I had a rewarding career in banking for almost nine years, I had long...

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UA College of Medicine – Tucson and UA Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health Celebrate 2015 Convocations


6 p.m., Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs and College of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Convocation


2 p.m., UA College of Nursing Convocation 6 p.m., UA College of Medicine – Tucson Convocation: Doctors of Medicine


9 a.m., UA College of Pharmacy Convocation Noon, UA College of Medicine – Tucson Convocation (undergraduates): Department of Physiology, Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree with a major in physiology


9 a.m., UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Convocation



Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs and College of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Convocation 6 p.m. (reception follows at about 7:30 p.m. on the plaza outside the hospital) Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, DuVal Auditorium 1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson

This 10th annual ceremony honors 2014-2015 graduates receiving doctoral and master’s degrees from graduate programs in the biological and biomedical sciences offered by the UA...

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