John Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and Daniel J. Lauer, M.D., Endowed Chair in Metabolism and Vascular Disease Research, received the American Heart Association’s 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award on Nov. 11 at the AHA Scientific Sessions in Chicago.
The award recognizes prominent scientists and clinicians who have made significant and sustained contributions to advancing the understanding, management and treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
As clinical director of outcomes research at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Spertus developed technology that guides physicians and patients in medical-decision making by using models to measure and predict the risk factors of various procedures. Many experts cite two tools he created — the Seattle Angina Questionnaire and the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire — as the gold standards for measuring symptoms, function and quality of life in treating coronary artery disease and heart failure. Both have been translated into more than 95 languages.
“I am humbled by the honor to be recognized by the AHA for our work to improve the patient-centeredness of care,” Spertus said. “While traditionally the basic sciences are prioritized, to see the work of our community to improve care and outcomes is a terrific validation of the collective efforts of my entire team and colleagues.”
Spertus is the founder of two outcomes research organizations. The Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Consortium and CV Outcomes is a non-profit corporation dedicated to advancing health care quality and outcomes research in cardiovascular disease. The Health Outcomes Sciences is an information technology company that implements precision medicine in clinical care.
He is currently leading a regional effort with BioNexus KC and the Frontiers CTSA to bring local hospitals together in collaboration to improve the value of health care in Kansas City.
This is Spertus’ third major award from the AHA. He previously received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and the Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Distinguished Achievement Award in 2013.
Richard Schwend, M.D., professor of orthopaedics and pediatrics, was recently honored with the Walter P. Blount Humanitarian Award by the Scoliosis Research Society.
The award recognizes outstanding service to patients with spinal deformities and generosity to the profession of scoliosis research. It was presented during the 53rd annual Scoliosis Research Society Annual Meeting in Bologna, Italy, in October.
Schwend serves as chief of orthopaedic research at Children’s Mercy Hospital, one of the UMKC School of Medicine’s partner teaching hospitals. He recently completed the Global Clinical Research Training Research Program at Harvard University.
For the past 18 years, Schwend has been active in a humanitarian effort in Ecuador for children with spinal deformities. He also serves as the medical director for Project Perfect World, Ecuador, a program that sponsors the Ecuador Spine Project.
The immediate past president of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, Schwend received the organization’s Humanitarian Award in 2014 and its Special Effort award in 2013. He also served as chair of the Orthopaedic Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics from 2010-2014 and created a scholarship program to provide residents with international global experiences.
Yicheng Bao, a third-year medical student at the UMKC School of Medicine, conducted a research study that shows adults diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk of developing additional autoimmune conditions.
Bao received an Endocrine Society Outstanding Abstract Award for his work. He was then invited to give an oral presentation of his results at the March annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago. This was a special and rare opportunity, as most selected abstracts are designated for poster presentations.
Much of Bao’s research took place during his summer medical student research program at Washington University in St. Louis. The program was sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Bao continued working on the study when he returned to school at UMKC.
Following his presentation in Chicago, Bao’s results have been reported in a number of health-care and diabetes-related media outlets.
“I came to work on this particular project because of my interest in diabetes and its complications,” Bao said. “Diabetes is a growing public health concern, and it is very debilitating for patients. It has multifaceted complications that confound their care, and this area in particular requires more research.”
His study found that people with type 1 diabetes can develop multiple autoimmune diseases. And, those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult run a greater risk of developing them.
Bao’s study collected patient data on 29 autoimmune conditions. He found that the overwhelming majority of additional conditions developed in adults after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
These results of could lead health-care providers to give closer attention to symptoms of autoimmune diseases in diabetes patients diagnosed with the disease as an adult.
Bao said he developed skills from the experience that have lead him to continue his research efforts. He now intends to pursue a career in academic medicine and research.
“I learned to ask scientific questions that have significant clinical implications, and to answer these questions with biostatistics and data analysis,” he said. “Using these skills, I am working on several other studies about diabetes and its complications that will be submitted for publication soon.”
Links to media reports of Yicheng Bao’s research study on type 1 diabetes in adults: