L to R: Jennifer Sellers, PA; Mary Margaret Basham, MD; Medical Director Tracy Luckhardt, MD;  Eva Otoupalova, MD; and Ashlyn Byrd, CRNPL to R: Special Care Unit team members Jennifer Sellers, PA; Mary Margaret Basham, MD; Medical Director Tracy Luckhardt, MD; Eva Otoupalova, MD; and Ashlyn Byrd, CRNPSince October 2016, the UAB Special Care Unit has employed a high touch and early mobilization strategy to wean patients from ventilators. Thanks to their hard work, led by Medical Director Tracy Luckhardt, MD (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care), the ventilator wean rates now exceed the national average by 21%, and hospital readmissions have dropped significantly among these very complex patients. Kudos to the entire team for outstanding patient care efforts.

More Good News for April 4, 2018

For the past 30 years, Professor Cora E. “Beth” Lewis, MD, MSPH, has been an integral part of the Division of Preventive Medicine, designing and leading long-term epidemiologic studies and clinical trials. She has extensively collaborated with investigators across UAB, such as Suzanne Oparil, MD (Professor, Cardiovascular Disease) on the landmark 2015 SPRINT hypertension trial. DOM is delighted to see her promoted to Chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the UAB School of Public Health and wishes her the very best as she writes this new chapter in her academic career.

Nirav Patel, MD (Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease) was recently published in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions. Using nationwide databases, Patel and colleagues conducted a cost comparison between transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and surgical aortic valve replacement, and the implications of proposed Medicare cuts on the treatment of severe aortic stenosis. Their findings indicate that these cuts may negatively impact the sustainability of the less invasive TAVR procedures, despite having been proven to reduce the physical and monetary burden to patients.

Stefan Kertesz, MD (Professor, Preventive Medicine) was recently featured in the recent New York Times article “Medicare Is Cracking Down on Opioids. Doctors Fear Pain Patients Will Suffer” urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider their planned payment blockade on high-dose opioids in favor of a more cautious and patient-centered approach. The official ruling announced on April 2 appears to have taken this message to heart, revising the proposed guidelines to prevent traumatic dose reductions. 

Ellen Eaton, MD (Assistant Professor, Infectious Diseases) recently earned a grant from Gilead Sciences Research Scholars Program in HIV. Her project is entitled, “Improving kidney health for African Americans with HIV through optimal Antiretroviral Therapy Selection.”

In Case You Missed It: Nipun Reddy, MD (Assistant Professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology) was recently featured in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center blog providing guidance on colorectal cancer screening.

Vincent Valentine, MD (Professor) and Anand Iyer, MD (Assistant Professor) in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care recently received a beautiful letter of commendation for their long-term care of a patient whose health decline prevented him from receiving a lung transplant. Kudos to them and the entire care team for providing empathy and dignity through their palliative approach in the patient’s final days.

Coming next week to Medical Grand Rounds. Kanti Rai, MD, Professor of Medicine and Molecular Medicine at Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell will present, “Advances in Chronic Lymphocitic Leukemia” at noon on Wednesday, April 11, in the Margaret Cameron Spain Auditorium.

Cancer affects different populations differently, and minority groups in the United States continue to bear a disproportionate cancer burden. To raise awareness of this health disparity, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center will host a Minority Cancer Awareness Week Expo in UAB Hospital North Pavilion, 2nd Floor on Monday, April 9, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Mark your calendars for the next DOM Women in Medicine session at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, in Boshell Diabetes Building Room 334. Erin Snyder, MD, will present “Take On Leadership.” All DOM women—residents, fellows, clinical and research faculty—are invited.

View this week's slides.