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Med student Briggs joins surgical team on Dominican Republic mission

View of the ocean from the roof of Hospital el Buen Samaritano in La Ramona, Dominican Republic, where UMKC School of Medicine student Kayla Briggs is part of a surgical mission team. The smokestack in the distance is a sugar refinery.
Kayla Briggs

Kayla Briggs, a sixth-year student at UMKC School of Medicine, is part of a 11-person group that left Saturday for the Dominican Republic on an eight-day medical mission trip.

The team consists of physicians, nurses, paramedics, an interpreter and Briggs.

Visit the UMKC School of Medicine’s PRN news page regularly to read Kayla Briggs’ daily blog beginning March 18 as she takes part in an eight-day surgical mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

Working from the Good Samaritan Hospital in La Ramona, Dominican Republic, the group plans to spend the first two days in clinics meeting patients and assessing needs before spending the remainder of its time performing surgical procedures.

“We will have two operating rooms, one for general surgery and one for urology,” Briggs said.

The team will be performing elective procedures such as repairing hernias, removing gallbladders and excising masses all in hopes of preventing patients from encountering more serious complications in the future.

Briggs will serve as the first assistant in the operating room once the surgery procedures begin. She has already completed seven months of surgical rotations at UMKC. On March 17, which was Match Day, Briggs learned that she will begin a surgical residency at the University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, this summer.

“I’ve done medical mission trips before but never a surgery trip, so I’m really excited about this trip,” she said.

The mission is a collaborative effort with the Dominican Republic Medical Fellowship.

Other members of the mission team include:

  • Glenn Talboy, M.D., Chair and Program Director of the UMKC Department of Surgery
  • Edna Talboy, interpreter
  • Teisha Shiozaki, M.D., chief resident, UMKC general surgery
  • Patrick Murphy, M.D., section chief, Children’s Mercy Department of Urology
  • John Gatti, M.D., director of minimally invasive urology, Children’s Mercy Department of Urology
  • Louise Davis, CRNA and mission trip coordinator
  • Reidun Fuemmler, CRNA
  • Scott Davis, CRNA
  • Vahe Ender, paramedic
  • Matt Libby, paramedic

DAY ONE, SATURDAY, MARCH 18
Kayla Briggs

Today was quite the day – we had to be at the KCI airport at 4:30 am. After a relatively short layover in Chicago, we headed to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is a hot tourist destination and the airport shows it. The terminals are modeled after tropical huts with straw roofs.

Our bunks, complete with Peanuts sheets.

Navigating customs was surprisingly easy. After picking up our five duffels and several rolling bags of surgical supplies, we headed to the exit where our bags were scanned once more. Our surgical instruments looked like weapons in the scanner and we were held for nearly 30 minutes trying to explain who we are and what we’re doing here. After lots of talking (shoutout to Edna Talboy for being an incredible translator), we were released.

We rented our cars (a van and sedan) and were on our way to La Romana – about a two hour drive. The highway system is what you see in the U.S. and was easy to navigate. Once in the city and at our mission, we unloaded our personal belongings.

The mission has separate bunks for women and men with a common room. All our sheets and linens are provided.

All meals are cooked by the ladies at the Mission. They take great care of us!

After a great dinner of roasted chicken, rice, and beans, we headed off to Jumbo. The only way I can describe it is a mix of Walmart, Target, H.E.B., and a department store … except much shinier. They have EVERYTHING – food, clothes, electronics, appliances, outdoor supplies, you name it. It was fun to browse the aisles and see what brands are similar and what’s different.

After picking up some snacks, we headed back to the mission to meet Matt and Vahe, the two paramedics joining our group from Boston. We then walked to the local restaurant and had ceviche, calamari, and bruschetta. Needless to say, we all slept like rocks after a long day of travel.

 


DAY TWO, SUNDAY, MARCH 19
Kayla Briggs
The Mission Team: (left to right) me (Kayla Briggs, MS6); Reidun Fuemmler, CRNA; Vahe Ender, paramedic; Edna Talboy, translator and surgeon wrangler; Dr. Glenn Talboy, general surgeon; Matt Libby, paramedic; Dr. Teisha Shiozaki, general surgery chief resident; Dr. Pat Murphy, pediatric urologist; Louise Davis, CRNA and mission trip coordinator; Scott Davis, CRNA; Dr. John Gatti, pediatric urologist.

Because it’s the weekend, we slept in a bit. Breakfast was served at 8 a.m. and was a hearty offering of pancakes, bacon, sausage, and fresh pineapple and papaya.

Hospital el Buen Samaritano

After breakfast, we headed off to Hospital el Buen Samaritano. It’s a private hospital that is funded by the Village Presbyterian Church. The operating rooms have the basics – anesthesia machines, overhead lights, and one even has a C-arm for taking X-rays during orthopedic cases.

We spent the morning organizing the plethora of supplies – laparoscopic equipment, suture, instruments, suction tubing, drapes, sterile water, sterile towels, liter boluses, etc. After dividing the two operating rooms (one for adults, one for children), we headed to Jumbo again to shop. Then it was time for lunch.

Unloading medical supplies.

After a busy morning, garlicky noodles with chili and a short siesta was just what we needed. Our afternoon was spent seeing all the patients that had been identified in the bateys (rural areas where the sugar workers live) by the promotoras (health promoter) as needing surgery.

On the adult side, 21 patients were scheduled for pre-operative evaluation. Patients were asked about their past medical history, any prior surgeries, and if they’d ever had trouble with anesthesia. Twelve were scheduled on the adult side with three more that will be coming tomorrow for evaluation (transportation can be an issue for some).

I was reminded time and time again just how rusty my Spanish is. Without Alex and Edna, our amazing translators, it would be impossible to provide safe and smooth patient care. After refueling with a dinner of roasted pork, potatoes, broccoli, and carrots, we indulged in coconut pie and passion fruit cheesecake from a local bakery. We then fell into our nightly routine: a walk to Jumbo followed by relaxation at the restaurant. Tomorrow, we start operating at 8 a.m.!


DAY THREE, MONDAY, MARCH 20
Kayla Briggs

Breakfast is served at 7 a.m. on the days we’re working. Oatmeal and fresh fruit energized us for the day ahead.

Dr. Shiozaki (right) and me operating. Reidun is behind us administering anesthesia.

We arrived at the hospital just after 7:30 and patients showed up shortly thereafter. On the agenda for the adult room was a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removing the gallbladder), lipoma excision, and fibrous adenoma excision. The pediatric room performed three hernia repairs, one case involving the removal of a child’s extra digits (called polydactyly), and a ganglion cyst excision.

It felt great to be back in the OR! After the first two cases, we took a break outside in the courtyard to eat a lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches and rice. There’s nothing like enjoying a real sugar sweetened Fanta underneath the warm Dominican sun.

We finished operating at around 4 p.m. After monitoring our last patients for post-operative complications, we instructed them all to return to clinic on Friday for wound checks.

Flat Lyla amongst a bed full of gifts.

Lyla Graham, a 12-year old from back home, had family and friends donate gifts for the children in lieu of receiving birthday presents for herself. We toted around a drawing of Lyla that we lovingly named ‘Flat Lyla’ (in the tradition of Flat Stanley) and snapped a few photos of the children with their gifts. These were not only a great tool for distracting purposes, but were also the sweetest parting gift before sending the children home.

Muchas gracias, Lyla!

We experienced our first tropical rainstorm (what seemed like a torrential downpour) of the trip during our evening siesta time. Dinner was fantastic – roasted chicken, rice, beans with lentils, roasted carrots, and fresh cherry lime juice. Dessert was just as good – a massive chocolate layer cake filled with dulce de leche.

Tomorrow is our busy day. Can’t wait to update you all on how it goes!


DAY FOUR, TUESDAY, MARCH 21
Kayla Briggs
Dr. Talboy and me excising a lipoma.

WOW – what a day!

Teisha said something the other day that resonated with me. When she’s not busy, she has a tendency to be lazy. When she is busy, she is more energized. I found myself relating to that and I think most surgeons would agree – downtime or a lighter schedule is nice, but being busy makes you feel productive and useful.

Working on a massive lipoma that was hidden under a patient’s deltoid (shoulder) muscle. Couldn’t have done it without Dr. Talboy’s help!

Today was our busy (and productive) day.

The pediatric room performed three cases (all inguinal hernias). We did six cases on the adult general surgery side: one laparoscopic cholecystectomy, two lipoma excisions, two inguinal hernia repairs, and one add on hydrocele repair. We did our best to stay on a tight schedule. I got to help a lot with our first lipoma excision (on the back of the patient’s neck) and got to perform a significant portion of the lipoma excision on our next patient’s arm (with the expert assistance of Dr. Talboy, of course!).

The first case – the laparoscopic cholecystectomy – was not without a few hiccups. The power in the Dominican Republic is not as reliable as in the States. Just as we were achieving our critical view the power went off – taking away our “eyes” by cutting power to our camera and light cord. In the room next to us, an OB/GYN was performing a c-section. After three minutes of wondering when the backup generator was going to kick in, the lights flickered back on. We heard a newborn’s cries shortly thereafter, and finished the remaining cases without further incident.

Just one of our amazing meals!

Our meals were fantastic. Breakfast was scrambled eggs and fresh croissants. Lunch was empanadas and rice delivered to the hospital. Dinner was roasted chicken, pasta, potato salad, fried plantains, tres leches cake, and banana pineapple juice. I don’t think any of us will come back from this trip any slimmer.

Today, we broke from tradition and drove to Plaza Lama instead of walking to Jumbo. Different selection, similar massive super store idea.

Our schedule is all downhill from here! We have two lipoma excisions and one inguinal hernia repair tomorrow. I’m excited for the lipomas – they’re satisfying.

Kayla


DAY FIVE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22
Kayla Briggs
Teisha teaching a U. Mass nursing practitioner student how to suture.

Today was an eventful day. We started off with a breakfast of French toast and bacon before heading off to the hospital. Our first case went off without a hitch – an uncomplicated bilateral inguinal hernia repair. Our second case was a slightly more complicated. After a few tense moments, we successfully repaired a patient’s hydrocele and hernia. He was admitted to the hospital and we will check on him tomorrow morning.

We followed with a simple forehead lipoma excision. While in the recovery room, the patient and his mother took a look at our work in the mirror and returned to shake our hands numerous times. They were so thankful to have such a simple but visible problem resolved. It was a great reminder of why we do this.

During our cases, two c-sections were performed in the OR next to us. We had so much fun fawning over the babies; they were so cute.

¡La playa bonita! Beach Day!

After a quick lunch of braised chicken and rice, we finished up all the cases (including three inguinal hernia repairs on the pediatric side) by 1 p.m. We all looked at each other knowingly and said, “Beach day? Beach day.”

We returned to Casa Pastoral to grab our swimsuits and sunblock before heading to a public beach in Bayahibe, a 30-minute drive from La Romana. The scene was picturesque. A bright sunny day, sandy beach, beautiful water, happy voices of people from all over the world carrying in the wind, and plenty of Lay’s limón potato chips (our favorite!). The waves were so tranquil, perfect for jumping in without being too rough. I haven’t been on a beach since my fourth year in the program and I had forgotten how much I missed the ocean.

Dinner was (once again) delicious. Braised pork, rice and beans, and carrots with cabbage. Dessert was a super rich, super tasty carrot cake. After dinner, we walked to the central square in La Romana and went to Trigo de Oro, a French bakery and restaurant. At about 8:30 p.m., yawns were circling the table and we decided it was time for bed.

Tomorrow is a quick day – two lipoma excisions. Dinner will be at a pizza parlor on the river. Can’t believe tomorrow is our last day of operating!


DAY SIX, THURSDAY, MARCH 23
Kayla Briggs
Dr. Patrick Murphy, Dr. Glenn Talboy, Kayla Briggs, and Dr. John Gatti.

¡Hola mis amigos!

The name of the game is to front-load cases at the beginning of the week to make room for any add-ons. Today was a lighter day; we were scheduled for two cases in the adult room and three in the pediatric room.

First, we checked in on the patients we admitted to the hospital yesterday. They were doing well and were discharged later in the day. Our first case was a neck mass excision that we initially thought was a lipoma. After removal, we discovered that it was actually an infected cyst. The second was a foot mass that turned out to be a ganglion cyst.

Our pre-op and post-op room is the same three-bed space. Because the cases are elective procedures on healthy patients, once the patient is alert, can eat and drink, and is able to walk, he or she can go home. For cases like the foot mass, you want to ensure the patient isn’t in pain and won’t move during the case. Our awesome CRNAs came up with the idea to lightly sedate the patient and administer an ankle block in the hopes of numbing up their foot. Not only did this work like a charm (the patient snored as we were cutting out the large mass) but will also provide extended pain relief.

After both rooms had completed their first two cases, we hung around and ate empanadas with a side of rice and beans for lunch. The third child never arrived so we decided to pack up our equipment.

Group selfie.

Louise, our mission coordinator, has been on this trip 21 times. Dr. Murphy has been on it many times, too. They’re experts at identifying what leftover supplies can be donated, what we should save for next year, and what we’ll need when we come back. That’s one thing I’ve loved about this trip. It’s a sustainable effort and you don’t leave feeling that without your presence, the patients are abandoned.

After packing up our supplies in the hospital, we headed back to the mission to clean up. We ate at El Chiringuito, a local pizza shop. The food was incredible – chewy pizza crust, plenty of cheese, and lots of fresh ingredients. The company was excellent, too.

Tomorrow, we will see patients back in clinic for post-op wound checks. Our afternoon will be spent at the beach with plenty of sunblock and Lay’s limón chips. Hard to believe this trip is almost over.

Comics used to express culture of med school and students

Michael Green, M.D., physician and bioethicist at Penn State College of Medicine, presented the 2017 William T. Sirridge, M.D., Lecture in Medical Humanities.

At the Penn State College of Medicine, Michael Green, M.D., a physician and bioethicist at Penn State University’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, uses the medium of comics to help medical students share their experiences of medical school.

Each year, Green, who is also the vice chair of the Department of Humanities, offers a seminar-style class in which students are encouraged to create their own comic book to describe their time in medical school.

Green presented the 23rd William T. Sirridge, M.D., Medical Humanities Lecture on Thursday, March 16, at the UMKC School of Medicine. He described how comics have become mainstream in today’s culture. He said today’s comic strips and entire comic books touch on almost every topic in all genres.

“So it’s not surprising then that there would be some comics that have some relevance to medical education as well,” Green said.

That has led Green to offer a four-week course in Graphic Medicine, an Intersection of Comics and Medicine. And while a large number of his students’ comics describe and depict good experiences as medical students, one serious theme has surfaced: medical students being mistreated by their superiors.

Such experiences are supported by data from the Journal of the America Medical Association, which found that nearly four out of every 10 students surveyed say they have experienced mistreatment in medical school. Only half say they report it,  out of fear of retribution.

According to Green, these numbers have remained consistent in surveys taken throughout the past five or six years. And the data is relevant, he said, because it goes on to show that those who experience mistreatment as medical students have twice the rate of burnout as other medical students.

“It is something we should care about and think about,” he said.

Benefits of student research are worth the challenge, visiting professor says

Donald B. DeFranco, Ph.D., delivering the Dean’s Visiting Professor lecture on March 9.

Donald B. DeFranco, Ph.D., believes involving medical students in research has substantial benefits from developing analytical thinking skills to improving oral and written communication. DeFranco, a University of Pittsburgh research leader, shared his thoughts March 9 as part of the Dean’s Visiting Professor lecture series.

In his lecture, “The Benefits and Challenges of Engaging Medical Students in Faculty Research,” he drew on his experience as the Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s associate dean of medical student research and director of its summer research program.

DeFranco, also a professor and vice chair in that school’s Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, said Pittsburgh encouraged student research and worked hard to line up the hundreds of mentors required.

People from dean’s office administrators to surgeons help with the matching and often serve as mentors, he said. Finding the right mentor for each student was really the key to success, though he said it’s also important to give the students and their mentors incentives and recognition.

Producing physician scientists isn’t easy, DeFranco said, in part because “they really live in two different worlds.” One paper he cited said “medical training is about minimizing risk while medical research is more about increasing risk,” taking chances in search of breakthrough discoveries. Though he didn’t completely agree with that characterization, he said it was crucial to integrate research knowledge into practice.

DeFranco said he saw a couple of places in the 6-year UMKC program where a research project could make the most sense. The first is with Year 1 students, giving research a foothold from the outset in an education that already integrates humanities and clinical experience with patients. The second opportunity is in Year 5 because students “might have found their specialty by then,” he said.

DeFranco’s own areas of research encompass receptor pharmacology, neuropharmacology, signal transduction, cancer pharmacology and the pharmacology of cell and organ systems. His doctorate is in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University. He also was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California–San Francisco.

Applications due April 1 for Sarah Morrison research awards

The Office of Research Administration is taking applications for the next round of Sarah Morrison Student Research Awards. The next application deadline is April. 1.

Sarah Morrison awards are given twice a year to help students learn the value and application of research in the study and practice of medicine. Funding from the Sarah Morrison awards supports the student’s and their mentor’s research.

Students may be involved in and learn about a wide variety of research activities based on their interests in basic sciences or  clinical medicine. Students may develop their own hypothesis and work plan, or work on an established research project with their mentor. Recipients are expected to present their results at the SOM student research event or a similar venue as recommended by the Director of Student Research.

Project proposals are screened by a School of Medicine review committee. Visit the Sarah Morrison Student Research Award online for complete information, including a downloadable application form.

School of Medicine announces new curriculum council chair

Dr. Ellison, Dr. Pirani

The School of Medicine announced the appointment of Nurry Pirani, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, as the next associate dean for curriculum and chair of the curriculum council. Her appointment began February 13, 2017.

Stefanie Ellison, M.D., professor of emergency medicine, has completed a seven-year term as associate dean and curriculum chair. Ellison will remain a part of the leadership team and continue to develop interprofessional education and other learning initiatives.

Pirani joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2011 as a docent. She has served as the clinical vice chair of the curriculum council since 2014 and as chair of the clerkship director’s subcommittee since 2014. She also has served as chair of the clinical competency committee and as associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency program.

As chair of the curriculum council, Pirani will see that the medical school curriculum complies with all LCME accreditation standards, integrate council policies and procedures, and coordinate the overall structure and goals of the council.

Ellison has served as associate dean of curriculum and curriculum council chair since January of 2010. Under her guidance, the School of Medicine’s Experience-Based Curriculum Guide was rewritten, bringing the general competency objectives up to date and aligning them with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s established competencies.  She also has been one of the organizers for the UMKC health sciences schools’ interprofessional education program.

 

TMC legal counsel discusses ‘right to die’ in America

William Colby, general counsel for Truman Medical Center, presented a Dean’s Visiting Professor Lecture at the UMKC School of Medicine.

More and more often, families are faced with the difficult choice of extending a loved one’s life only through the prolonged use of medical technology. Having that choice has not always been the case.

Throughout much of recorded history, there was no such thing as statutes defining death.

“Technology changed all of that,” said William Colby, a noted lawyer who serves as general counsel for Truman Medical Centers.

Before joining TMC in 2009, Colby served as the family attorney in what became the high profile, right-to-die case of Nancy Cruzan, a rural Missouri woman with no brain function following an automobile accident. Cruzan was kept alive for a number of years by feeding tube.

Speaking at the UMKC School of Medicine Dean’s Visiting Professor Series, Colby talked about the nearly three-year battle the Cruzan family eventually waged to have the feeding tube removed. He shared his involvement in the first “right to die” case to reach the United States Supreme Court and the predicament families and physicians more often face today.

“A case that started ordinarily didn’t end ordinarily,” he said.

Instead, the Cruzan case prompted the passage of numerous state and federal laws on death and dying. More important, Colby said, it prompted discussions on a difficult topic for not only physicians and lawmakers, but also for families throughout society.

In many ways, discussions among family members and between families and doctors about the use of medical technology, such as feeding tubes, to prolong life are just beginning. “It wasn’t long ago in our culture that we didn’t ask any of these questions,” Colby said.

After graduating from law school, Colby served as a senior fellow with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in Washington, D.C. In 1985, he joined a large law office in Kansas City, where within a few years he became the attorney for the Cruzan family.

Following that case, he wrote the book, Long Goodbye: The Deaths of Nancy Cruzan. Another of his books, Unplugged, Reclaiming our right to die in America, won the American Medical Writers Association Book of the Year Award, and was recognized among the Best Consumer Health Books by the Library Journal. It also received the Independent Publishers Gold Medal for books on aging.

Colby said three factors are working together today to prompt more discussions on death and dying: an aging baby boomer society, swiftly advancing medical technology and overwhelming costs to provide care.

Many laws regarding power of attorney and advance health care directives have been enacted since the Cruzan case. However, laws can only offer a limited amount of guidance for families of patients dealing with end-of-life issues, said Colby.

“Decision making should not be driven by law, but by what’s best for the patient.”

 

School of Medicine welcomes 2017 inductees to Gold Humanism Honor Society

The UMKC School of Medicine inducted a new class of students and residents into the Gold Humanism Honor Society on Jan. 21 during a ceremony at Diastole.

The School of Medicine’s Gold Humanism Honor Society welcomed the 2017 class of inductees during its annual induction ceremony on Jan. 21 at Diastole.

It is the 14th consecutive year that the UMKC chapter has recognized students with induction into the national organization. The 18 students selected are chosen from nominations made by colleagues and faculty based on their excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service. Members are selected for their exemplary care of patients and their humanistic approach to clinical practice.

With funding support from the Gold Foundation, the School of Medicine established its chapter of the honor society in 2004. A Graduate Medical Education chapter was added in 2014 specifically for School of Medicine/Truman Medical Center residents.

This year’s class of inductees included 13 UMKC medical residents and fellows. Renee Cation, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, and Gary Salzman, M.D., professor of medicine and Green 6 docent, were this year’s faculty inductees. Salzman was inducted as this year’s faculty recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

Carol Stanford, M.D., is faculty sponsor for school’s chapter of the honor society. Stanford said the organization is focused on volunteerism and continues to serve as an ambassador to the School of Medicine and Truman Medical Center in providing students, residents and fellows with opportunities to serve others.

Established in 2002 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the Gold Humanism Honor Society today has more than 24,000 members nationally. It recognizes 144 undergraduate medical education and 14 graduate medical education chapters at medical schools throughout the country.

Members are viewed by their peers as role models for humanistic care within their communities. The society also provides educational events, supports research, promotes professional growth and creates networking opportunities.

UMKC School of Medicine
Gold Humanism Honor Society

2017 Inductees

Students
Yembur Ahmad
Cody Braun
Kelsey Brown
Sanju Eswaran
Morgan Gonder
Ravali Gummi
Asdullah Helal
Max Holtmann
Ahsan Hussain
Michael Keirsey
Suzan Lisenby
Amena Mohiuddin
Nilbhi Patel
Alexandra Reinbold
David Sanborn
Meghna Singh
Claire Smith
Harris Zamir

Residents/Fellows
Talal Asif, MD
Jeff Beckett, MD
Denise Cardenal, MD
Stephane Desouches, DO
Sean Doran, DO
Wilson Harrison, MD
Badar Hasan, MD
Sarah Nazeer, MD
Braden Price, DO
Jacob Rouquette, MD
Raj Shah, MD
Jenny Shen, MD
Paul Williams, DO

Faculty
Dr. Renee Cation
*Dr. Gary Salzman
*(2017 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine recipient)

 

 

British Medical Association says Waldman book on pain diagnosis among best of 2016

A unique textbook by Steven Waldman, M.D. ’77, has won a British Medical Association Book Award for 2016.

The book, the third edition of Physical Diagnosis of Pain: An Atlas of Signs and Symptoms, was the winner in one of 20 award categories for the prestigious British association.

The book is described as “the only atlas available devoted to the physical diagnosis of pain.” The awards’ judges praised it as “relevant for both novices and experienced practitioners” and for its “clarity both in text and in use of illustrations and digital resources.”

Tariq M. Malik, M.D., of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, called it “the only book available on this subject” and said the high quality of its text and images meant it could “easily be used as a brief textbook of physical examination.”

Dr. Steven Waldman

Tawar J. Qadri, M.D., in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, said, “We recommend this book to any provider who commonly evaluates and treats pain problems.”

Waldman is the school’s associate dean for international programs and chairman of its Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics. He also holds a law degree and a master’s in business administration and is a prolific author. His many textbooks are consistently among the top sellers on pain management and have been translated into 24 languages.

SOM faculty honored as Children’s Mercy’s first Eminent Scholars

artman_curran_eminentscholars
Michael Artman, M.D., seated on the left, and Tom Curran, Ph.D., FRS, seated on the right, were honored as Eminent Scholars by Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Two UMKC School of Medicine faculty members have been honored by Children’s Mercy Hospital as its first Eminent Scholars, academic medicine’s highest honor.

Michael Artman, M.D., chair of pediatrics, was named the Joyce C. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatrics. Tom Curran, Ph.D., FRS, professor of pediatrics, chief scientific officer and executive director of the Children’s Research Institute, has been named the Donald J. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatric Research.

Eminent scholars are endowed positions given only to medical specialists and researchers recognized internationally for contributions to improving effective treatments and lifesaving cures.

Artman joined the School of Medicine faculty and Children’s Mercy in 2010 as chairman of pediatrics and Joyce C. Hall Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics. A pediatric cardiologist with an interest in heart failure, his research has focused on excitation-contraction coupling and regulation of contractile function in the immature heart.

Curran came to Children’s Mercy and UMKC School of Medicine earlier this year. He has been recognized for many research breakthroughs, including recent efforts studying pediatric brain tumors. His work spans molecular biology, neurobiology and cancer research, and he has published nearly 300 articles, which have been cited more than 50,000 times.

Hallmark Cards founder “J.C.” Hall and his son and current chairman Donald Hall endowed the positions. Children’s Mercy honored Artman and Curran on Nov. 14.

 

Is Devil’s Claw the Answer?

UMKC and MU study of herbal osteoarthritis remedy receives NIH funding

Devil's Claw
Devil’s Claw, Photo provided by provided by Ulrich Feiter

A collaborative group of researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), the University of Missouri (MU) in Columbia, and the International Clinical Research Institute in Overland Park, have received a $412,000 grant to explore the effectiveness of the dietary supplement Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) in treating early stage joint osteoarthritis. The two-year grant comes from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, an arm of the National Institutes of Health. If the results are positive, additional support will be provided for additional studies.

Mary Gerkovich, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical and health informatics at the UMKC School of Medicine, and Bill Folk, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at MU, are leading the effort to gather scientific data for the mechanism by which Devil’s Claw reduces inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.

Botanical products containing Devil’s Claw, a plant found in southern Africa, have been sold and used as a remedy for arthritis, muscle pains and other various skin conditions and ailments for centuries. While many studies indicate some of these products do reduce pain and improve the physical function, data that indicates the active ingredient and verifies the effectiveness and safety in reducing inflammation are currently lacking.

Also, herbal products are not subject to the same scrutiny and quality controls as FDA approved pharmaceuticals, so there is need to further study to validate their true effectiveness and safety.

The goal of the study is to collect data to support further testing and development of Devil’s Claw products as a reliable treatment for osteoarthritis. It will also ensure that future clinical trials can be conducted with the methodology and outcome measures necessary to properly evaluate their effectiveness.

The researchers will be using a series of studies to obtain data. If successful, the study will be extended for additional years to gather further data on Devil’s Claw products as a reliable treatment for osteoarthritis.

Co-investigators are Margaret Gibson, M.D., associate professor of community and family medicine, and An-Lin Cheng, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical and health informatics at UMKC; Alan Parrish, Ph.D., associate professor of medical pharmacology/physiology, Aaron Stoker, Ph.D., associate research professor, and Jimi Cook, Ph.D., professor of orthopaedic surgery, at MU; and Srinivas Nalamachu, M.D., at the International Clinical Research Institute.

Osteoarthritis can be extremely debilitating for those who suffer the disease. The burden is further expressed in financial and emotional terms as well as the loss of physical function.

Gerkovich and Folk view this study as an example of the collaborative research efforts that should be promoted by the UM System’s Interdisciplinary Intercampus research program.