Walker Willett web L to R: DOM Drs. Lisa Willett and Jeremey Walker with Neurology Drs. Ikjae Lee and Kenkichi Nozaki

Lisa Willett, MD (Professor, GIM) and Jeremey Walker, MD (Fellow, Infectious Diseases) collaborated with Drs. Ikjae Lee and Kenkichi Nozaki from UAB Neurology on this month's NEJM Clinical Problem Solving article. "Weak and Winded" chronicles a complicated diagnosis of a patient whose sickle cell disease obscured another finding. Cheers to all for the exemplary clinical reasoning and writeup!

More Good News for July 31, 2019

Vera Bittner, MD, MSPH (Professor, Cardiovascular Disease) collaborated with Dr. Emily B. Levitan in the School of Public Health to investigate how geographic region correlates with high-intensity statin use after a heart attack. Their findings, published in JAMA Cardiology, revealed that significant variation exists across communities, with filled prescriptions highest in the Northeast and lowest in the South, indicating a likely disparity in health outcomes.

Victor J. Thannickal, MD (Professor and Director, Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care) and Steve Duncan, MD (Professor) have received FDA approval for Phase 2 trial of a new drug that may help patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. This is a critical next step in advancing the $8.9 million NIH grant to determine whether blocking the NOX 1/4 genes may be an effective therapy for IPF. Kudos to the entire team!

Jasvinder Singh, MD (Professor, Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology) has published an editorial in JAMA on filgotinib—a promising JAK inhibitor for treatment-resistant rheumatoid arthritis. While the need for new drugs is great, Dr. Singh advocates further Phase 3 trials to evaluate the benefits and risks, an attention to their affordability, Phase 4 trials to establish long-term risk, be considered prior to regulatory approval. Direct comparator trials of efficacy of new medications compared to currently available biologics and other JAK inhibitors are also needed to better understand which medication to use and for what subgroup of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 

Medical education is thriving in the Department, and we were delighted to host our 51 new fellows at a reception last Thursday. These new trainees join 54 others in 18 different fellowship programs across the Department. Welcome aboard one and all!

As reported on CNN: Doug Lindsay suffered from a mysterious illness that no one could identify. He realized that if he wanted his life back, he would have to do it himself. With help from Cecil Coghlan, MD, he created a surgical procedure that eventually cured his illness. Dr. Coghlan passed away in 2014, but the Department remembers him as a pioneering cardiologist with a passion for helping others.

UAB and United Healthcare reached an agreement for continued coverage for patients treated at UAB hospitals and clinics, avoiding the possibility that United Healthcare policy holders would pay out of pocket costs when treated at UAB.

View this week's slides