From Dean Cairns: Our Research is Changing Patient Care Around the World

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The College of Medicine in Tucson has a long history and bright future in groundbreaking medical research, from the pioneering research that led to FDA approval of the total artificial heart, to non-invasive wearable technology for monitoring health biomarkers.

Our faculty’s innovative work led to an FDA-approved scorpion antivenom, changed the standard of practice for lymphoma diagnosis and treatment, precipitated changes to national and international CPR guidelines, and led to the first total artificial heart implant as a bridge to heart transplant for patients dying from end-stage biventricular heart failure. Thus, we have changed medical practice and improved patient care across the world.

And there’s more to come. Recently:

  • We have researchers working on new pharmacologic approaches to pain management. We have translated these efforts toward pain prevention and better chronic pain care at our Chronic Pain Management Clinic at Banner – University Medical Center South.
  • Dr. Fernando Martinez, MD, continues his decades-long mission to significantly reduce – if not eliminate – childhood asthma with new discoveries in early exposure to different environments.
  • The Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance, the Division of Trauma Surgery in the UA Department of Surgery, and the Arizona Center on Aging received a $1.5-million grant to develop a mobile system to assess frailty based on a brief arm movement task. This technology would replace existing time-consuming tools that are impractical for mobility-impaired patients.
  • The Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center (AEMRC) – Tucson at the UA Emergency Medicine Department recently received a $2.4-million grant to join a prestigious group of researchers and institutions as one of six U.S. Research Node Centers for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research (PECARN). Our researchers will collaborate with the other sites to develop and conduct PECARN-approved studies that focus on preventing and reducing child and youth morbidity and mortality.

That’s just a small sample of the recent innovative work taking place here. Our faculty had nearly 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts published in the first half of 2015, and had 49 patents filed and 13 licenses and options executed during the last fiscal year.

While we’ve been positively influencing medicine and patient care for decades, our new partnership with Banner Health – one of the nation’s largest non-profit healthcare systems – will allow us to operationalize our innovations more quickly and efficiently to further improve patient care. This is an exciting time for academic medicine, especially in the College of Medicine here in Tucson. The possibilities are truly endless!