BVAMC HemOncL to R: Drs. Ravi Bhatia, Devika Das, and Lisle NabellDevika Das, MD (Assistant Professor and BVAMC Section Chief, Hematology and Oncology) reports that productivity at the BVAMC Hematology and Oncology Clinic has risen from the bottom quartile to the top quartile in the nation in the past year. The improvement is due to extensive efforts to recognize and capture the complexity of their patients at the VA with accurate billing and coding. Ultimately, this will result in more resources for patient care. Kudos to all who contributed to this stellar improvement. We look forward to your continued growth and success!

More Good News for March 27, 2019

While current treatments for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia are highly effective, they still fail to eradicate leukemia stem cells (LSC) that propagate the disease and lead to relapse. Ravi Bhatia, MD (Professor and Director, Hematology and Oncology) and colleagues have discovered a critical role for a specific bone marrow microenvironmental niche population in LSC resistance, which may offer a target to enhance LSC elimination. Their findings were published in Cell Stem Cell.

Isabel Scarinci, PhD, MPH (Professor, Preventive Medicine) and colleagues are doing innovative work to reach women who are un/underscreened for cervical cancer in the U.S. and other low-resource settings. Their recent work in Brazil published in Cancer Prevention Research shows that when un/under-screened are approached in their homes by trained Community Health Workers with the option of self-collecting their own samples for HPV testing, the adherence to screening is greater than 95%. They are currently expanding this approach and lessons learned in Brazil to un/under-screened African American women in the Mississippi Delta through a group randomized trial funded by American Cancer Society.

Six DOM faculty received Teaching Excellence Awards for their outstanding evaluations by the medical students and residents in the 2017-2018 academic year. These six faculty ranked in the top 25 in all three categories: those who teach only students, those who teach only residents, and those who teach both students and residents. What a testament to their teaching talent and effort! Congratulations to Drs. Angelo Gaffo, J.R. Hartig, Jeanne Marrazzo, Stephen Russell, Lisa Willett, and Nick Van Wagoner.

After evaluating a patient that that had been admitted for observation through the Emergency Department, Drs. Brett Barlow (PGY-3) and Salmaan Kamal (PGY-1) picked up on symptoms that suggested aortic dissection. Their rapid consultation with cardiology led to an emergency CT scan that confirmed their diagnosis, and the patient was rushed to surgery for complete aortic arch repair. Kudos on your excellent clinical skills and dedication, Drs. Barlow and Kamal!

Gabrielle Rocque, MD (Assistant Professor, Hematology and Oncology) and colleagues have published the results of a qualitative analysis of factors that influence decision-making in treatment of metastatic breast cancer. While efficacy and side effects were of concern to both patients and oncologists, patient considerations for making treatment decisions were much broader, including treatment logistics, personal and family responsibilities, and ability to attend important events. These observations point to the need for tools to systematically interview patients about their preferences and incorporate them into treatment plans.

Lou Bridges, MD, PhD (Professor and Chair, Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology) and colleagues recently performed the first genome-wide association study of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in African-Americans. Using about 2,200 participants, the investigators completed trans-ethnic meta-analysis, and trans-ethnic fine-mapping of risk loci. These analyses identified two genetic novel risk loci for RA that appear to be specific to African-Americans, and this may lead to better ways to diagnose or stratify treatment approaches to RA.

Coming next week to Medical Grand Rounds
Eric Wallace, MD
(Associate Professor of Nephrology and Medical Director of Telehealth at UAB) will present “UAB Medicine, Technology That Will Change Our World” at noon on Wednesday, April 3, in Margaret Cameron Spain Auditorium.


View this week's slides