Tag Archives: Faculty

UMKC researcher part of $1.5-million NIH grant-funded project on novel tissue-preservation technique

A new technique of crypreservation being studied by UMKC researcher Peter Koulen, Ph.D., could make human cell tissues such as the cornea tissues pictured more readily available for transplant.

Surgeons world-wide currently perform more than 240,000 corneal transplants a year to address a wide range of eye diseases. Researchers and physicians, however, estimate as many as 10 million patients could benefit from the procedure if enough viable tissue was available.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Vision Research Center is part of a $1.5-million National Institutes of Health grant-funded project exploring the capability of a novel, ultra-fast technique of cryopreservation that could help meet those far-reaching clinical needs in ophthalmology and a number of other fields of medicine.

The NIH awarded a phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to CryoCrate, a Columbia, Missouri-based company active in biomedicine working with the University of Missouri-Kansas City Vision Research Center. The new two-year award is for $1,566,168 and includes a subcontract of $722,870 to UMKC’s Vision Research Center. It is a follow-up grant to previous phase I SBIR funding from the NIH for earlier collaborative work between CyroCrate and UMKC.

With current techniques, many types of cells and tissues, including cornea tissues, cannot be preserved at all or lose their function when subjected to the freeze-thaw process of cryopreservation. Peter Koulen, Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology, endowed chair in vision research at the UMKC School of Medicine and director of basic research at the UMKC Vision Research Center, and Xu Han, Ph.D., president and Chief Technology Officer of CryoCrate, jointly developed a new cryopreservation technique to preserve the viability and functionality of cornea and bioartificial ocular tissues. The new phase II SBIR funding will allow Han and Koulen to extensively test and refine the technology before taking it to the clinics.

Thus far, traditional methods of cryopreservation have been unsuccessful to preserve and store human corneas for use in patients due to the fact that cells critical for cornea function are lost during freezing. Corneas need adequate numbers of such cells to be present and properly functioning in the grafted tissue for the surgery to be successful. This currently limits storage of corneas to refrigeration, which is insufficient in delaying the deterioration of cornea tissue beyond a few days and creates numerous clinical challenges shared by other areas of transplantation.

CryoCrate is headquartered at the Missouri Innovation Center. It commercializes a new cooling method that better preserves tissue in a frozen state with only negligible mechanical damage to the tissue. The technology is co-developed and co-owned by CryoCrate and UMKC. It also eliminates the need for so called cryoprotectants, chemicals that facilitate successful recovery of live tissue from freezing, but pose a range of medical and regulatory challenges. International patents pending and patents by CryoCrate and UMKC protect the technology and will enable CryoCrate and Koulen’s team at UMKC to address the urgent worldwide clinical needs and rapidly evolving fields of transplantation medicine.

The new NIH SBIR phase II grant allows Han and Koulen to further develop an upgraded system that is equally effective in the cryopreservation of whole corneas and large bioartificial tissue. This would enable long-term storage of the tissues and could make them more readily available when and where needed for clinical use and research.

Early tests at the UMKC Vision Research Center detected no statistical difference in the number and quality of the cells that determine cornea health and function, when comparing corneas cryopreserved using the new technology with fresh cornea tissue. This level of efficiency in preserving corneal tissue has not been achieved previously with traditional corneal cryopreservation techniques.

If further tests prove to be equally effective, the goal is to introduce the new cryopreservation products for clinical use in patients following completion of the new NIH SBIR phase II grant and subsequent regulatory steps of product development.

 

 

 

 

Health for all remains an elusive goal

From left: Rex Archer, Mary Anne Jackson, Eric Williams, D. Rashaan Gilmore and Bridget McCandless.

Community leaders discuss UMKC efforts to close gaps

Health equity is a broad concept that encompasses differences in disease and mortality rates, and in access to healthcare services, among different population groups. It also includes differences in social determinants of health, such as poverty, exposure to toxins and access to healthy food.

UMKC leadership quantifying and addressing these differences was the focal point of the UMKC Engagement Showcase, the university’s signature event celebrating Engagement Week – a special week of engaged leadership, partnership and learning hosted by UMKC and the UM System.

The event included a demonstration of the System’s new online Engagement Portal and a panel discussion on health equity led by the director of the new UMKC Health Equity Institute, Jannette Berkley-Patton, Ph.D., of the UMKC School of Medicine.

Engagement with community partners by the UM System and its four universities is hardly a new phenomenon. Curt Crespino, UMKC vice chancellor for external relations and constituent engagement, noted that UMKC history is rooted in an enduring city-campus partnership.

Marshall Stewart, chief engagement officer for the UM System, said what’s new is a more systematic and coordinated approach to engagement, including a transformation of the system’s Extension programs, designed to expand engagement beyond Extension’s original rural focus to forge engagement partnerships in every community and corner of the state.

“Urban and rural communities are facing very similar issues across Missouri. Our mission is to work together with all of our stakeholders to expand our impact by using our research to help transform lives,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “That spirit of connection to the city and engagement with our community was woven into the origin story of UMKC. And we are excited to take those efforts to the next level in collaboration with the efforts being led by the system.”

Following are excerpted highlights of the health equity panel.

Jannette Berkley-Patton, director, UMKC Health Equity Institute:

“We spend billions on healthcare but are still one of the unhealthiest countries in the world.” The burden of health disparities rests primarily on groups outside the mainstream, including people of color, rural communities, veterans and seniors. Large federal grants allow for the creation of effective programs, “but what happens when the grant ends? Everything goes away. We need to figure out how to take the Cadillacs we create with these million-dollar grants and turn them into Pintos.”

Rex Archer, director, Kansas City Health Department:

“We need to change the structural issues that create the (health equity) problem.” These include issues with disparities in housing, poverty, education, safety and more.

Mary Anne Jackson, interim dean, UMKC School of Medicine:

In 2014, the Kansas City area had to contend with a large outbreak of a serious respiratory illness among school-age children. Researchers were notified early enough to identify the virus responsible and contain the outbreak. “We were able to address this in time because of the strong connections we have with people in the community who brought it to our attention.”

Eric Williams, pastor, Calvary Temple Baptist Church:

Conducting funerals for victims of gang violence and AIDS led Williams to involvement in public health. “Conversations about HIV were happening, but it was all on the down-low. (Berkley-Patton) helped us to understand that some of the things we were already doing were working” to change behaviors.

Rashaan Gilmore, founder and director, BlaqOut:

BlaqOut surveyed gay African Americans about their health care priorities, and the top response was health care access. “It was because they didn’t feel welcomed by traditional providers. We asked them to recommend strategies to address that, and we developed interventions based on those results.”

Bridget McCandless, former president and CEO, Health Forward Foundation:

After 15 years working in a free health clinic, she changed her approach from providing care to impacting policy “because I saw that policy could be far more effective.” Citing a sampling of dramatic health disparities between local white and black populations, she said “there’s no excuse for us to have disparities like that.” Data analysis can empower highly effective strategies if we act on the findings. “We’re getting smart enough to figure this out. (Data-driven policy) can be the new germ theory; it can revolutionize the delivery and effectiveness of health care.”

School of Medicine a leader in medical education learning communities

When it opened nearly 50 years ago, the UMKC School of Medicine was something of a pioneer in medical education with learning communities made up of docent teams and peer-mentorship groups. Today, learning communities are becoming more commonplace in medical education and the School of Medicine is still leading the charge.

Faculty and students presented the merits of the school’s learning communities during a three-day national conference of the Learning Communities Institute held Oct. 11-13 in Kansas City.

Louise Arnold, Ph.D., former associate dean and director of the Office of Medical Education and Research at the School of Medicine from 1971 through 2012, was one of the founders of the institute in 2004.

“We at UMKC were instrumental in spreading the word about learning communities to medical schools such as the University of Washington and Harvard,” Arnold said. “We were also instrumental in organizing informal meeting of schools with learning communities. We met during the national meeting of American medical schools for several years. That led to the formation of the national group, the Learning Communities Institute.”

That group is now made up of leaders of medical school learning communities from across that country that value and support the active presence of those communities within health professions schools. As many as 50 medical schools in the United States have incorporated learning communities into their programs.

At the organization’s national meeting, School of Medicine docent and chair of the docent council, Emily Haury, M.D., lead a presentation she designed on the role of peer mentors within the school’s docent teams. Brenda Rogers, M.D., associate dean for student affairs, served as moderator during the session that also offered docent and student perspectives. School of Medicine docents Molly Uhlenhake, M.D., and Nurry Pirani, M.D., spoke from the docent point of view, while medical students Saber Khan, sixth-year, and Megan Schoelch, fourth-year, presented the students’ perspective on the school’s learning communities.

“I had more than one person from other schools come up to me after their presentation to say how helpful it was and how they so deeply wished their school had such a super program,” Arnold said.

Jennifer Quaintance, Ph.D., assistant dean for assessment and quality improvement, presented a research project on professional identity formation that is being conducted with support from the Learning Community Institute Research Network. Connor Fender, coordinator for the Council on Evaluation, gave a presentation on the school’s peer assessment program. And Cary Chelladurai, Ed.D., assistant dean of student affairs, presented a poster on the role of the Education Team Coordinator within the docent team.

 

School of Medicine recognizes faculty for achievements and service

The School of Medicine recognized faculty members who have recently received promotions and tenure and presented special awards for faculty achievements during a reception on Oct. 15 at Diastole.

This year’s list included 11 faculty who have been promoted to the rank of professor, 27 to the rank of associate professor, 12 to clinical associate professor, three associate teaching professors and one to the rank of clinical professor.

Special Awards Recognitions

Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., PA-C, received the Excellence in Diversity and Health Equity in Medicine Award.

Excellence in Diversity and Health Equity in Medicine Awards
Kathie Ervie, M.P.A.S., PA-C,
assistant teaching professor and founding director of the Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant program, received the award that recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated sustained and impactful contribution to diversity, inclusion and cultural competency or health equity. Ervie has actively engaged in efforts to create a more inclusive culture since joining the School of Medicine faculty in 2012. She is a trailblazer in curriculum innovation and creating developmental opportunities to advance the understanding of health equity, health disparities, and cultural competency among students, staff and faculty and an involved leader in university programs that promote health equity.


Michael Wacker, Ph.D., received the Christopher Papasian, Ph.D., Excellence in Teaching Award.

Christopher Papasian Excellence in Teaching Award
Michael Wacker, Ph.D.,
associate professor of biomedical sciences, received the third-annual award recognizing a faculty member who excels in medical student education through innovative contributions to the educational mission. Wacker is also vice chair of biomedical sciences and associate dean for academic affairs. He has served a member of the School of Medicine’s biomedical sciences faculty since 2007, teaching physiology. He is also a member of the Muscle Biology Group at UMKC with expertise in cardiac muscle physiology. Wacker embraces the qualities and lessons learned from his most successful teachers to create a teaching style that incorporates advancing technology and addresses challenges facing students in their future professions.


Jennifer Quaintance, Ph.D., received the Louise E. Arnold Ph.D., Excellence in Medical Education Award.

Louise E. Arnold Excellence in Medical Education Research Award
Jennifer Quaintance, Ph.D
., associate professor of biomedical and health informatics and assistant dean for assessment and quality improvement, received the fourth-annual award that recognizes one who has contributed to innovation and scholarship in medical education. Responsible for oversight of assessment metrics used to monitor the quality of the school’s educational program, Quaintance has made an impact on the medical education research community through formal teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning, one-on-one mentoring, and conducting educational research. Her instruction of faculty in medical education has served many to develop into leadership as course and clerkship directors, residency program leaders and assistant/associate deans roles.


The sixth-annual Betty M. Drees, M.D., Awards for Excelling in Mentoring were presented to faculty members for their excellence in mentoring, guiding, coaching and sponsoring students, trainees, staff and peer faculty.

David Wooldridge, M.D., received the Betty M.Drees, M.D., Excellence in Mentoring Award.

David Wooldridge, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine and director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, received the Excellence in Mentoring Award, presented each year to an assistant or associate professor. A 1994 graduate of the School of Medicine, he embodies the essential attributes of an outstanding mentor including being a thoughtful listener and counselor. Wooldridge joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1998 after completing his internal medicine residency and chief residency at UMKC. He also served as a docent and regularly stays in contact with and mentors students and residents under his tutelage.

Christine Sullivan, M.D., received the Betty M. Drees, M.D., Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award.

Christine Sullivan, M.D., professor of emergency medicine and associate dean for professional development, received the Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award. The award is given annually to a full professor. Sullivan, a 1985 graduate of the School of Medicine, has been a member of the faculty since 1988 and served as residency program director before taking on a new role focused on developing a formal faculty mentorship program. In addition to her distinguished faculty mentorship, she also served just more than a decade as director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program and used her “open door” policy to mentor numerous students and residents throughout her career.

 

 

 

 

SOM grad Adam Algren, M.D., appointed interim chair of Department of Emergency Medicine

Adam Algren, M.D.

Adam Algren, M.D., a 2001 graduate of the UMKC School of Medicine, has been appointed as interim department and academic chair for Department of Emergency Medicine.

An associate professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics, Algren joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2007. He currently serves as chair of the school’s Council on Curriculum.

Algren completed his emergency medicine residency at Truman Medical Center and the UMKC School of Medicine followed by a year as a chief resident. He completed his fellowship training in medical toxicology at the Emory University/Centers for Disease Control program. During his training, Algren served as a clinical instructor in the Emory Department of Emergency Medicine.

“I am deeply appreciative to be considered for the interim chair position and I look forward to being able to serve the faculty, hospital, and School of Medicine,” Algren said. “I am excited about the opportunity to grow and develop the department. I also look forward to being able to contribute to the School of Medicine expansion.”

Gratton, Matthew
Mattew Gratton, M.D.

Matthew Gratton, M.D., will step down as chair of emergency medicine on December 31. Following a six-week sabbatical, Gratton will assume an enhanced role at Truman Medical Center as associate chief medical officer. The role will include serving as the primary administrative liaison to the new TMC Medical Staff Wellness Committee. In this regard, he will work collaboratively with the UMKC Professionalism and GME Wellness committees.

Gratton was appointed chair of Department of Emergency Medicine in 2007, leading the department to national recognition as a “state-of-the-art, compassionate provider of emergency care in an environment of academic excellence.” In 2018, he was recognized with the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

UMKC begins School of Medicine dean search

Committee announced;
Final candidates expected by spring 2020

UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal has appointed a committee to lead a nationwide search for a new dean for the UMKC School of Medicine.

Barbara Bichelmeyer, provost and executive vice chancellor, will chair the committee. The search committee will work with Isaacson Miller, an executive search firm specializing in academic medical centers and healthcare institutions. The committee will begin the search process in October, considering local candidates and those from across the country, with the goal of holding interviews with final candidates in spring 2020. Conducting a search in this fashion is considered a best practice for senior leadership positions at a university.

Mary Anne Jackson, who has served as interim dean since July 2018, will continue to serve as interim dean during the search process. She was appointed the Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Health Affairs, and will assist in the search process. The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Infectious Diseases will present Jackson with a Lifetime Achievement award on Oct. 28. Read a Children’s Mercy article about her career.

The search committee represents campus and community leaders in the health professions – people who understand the vital role that the UMKC School of Medicine plays in the overall health of our community and region, and the importance of strong, visionary leadership for the school.

The committee is searching for a leader to build on the school’s reputation for innovative and highly effective medical education.

Founded in 1971, the UMKC School of Medicine is a docent model of medical education in which students begin training directly after high school, completing a combined baccalaureate/Doctor of Medicine program, which allows students to graduate in six years with their medical degree prior to beginning residency. The school’s innovative curriculum provides students with early and continuous patient-care experience and fully integrates liberal arts/humanities, basic sciences and clinical medicine. Students begin learning about medicine and interacting with patients from the first day of class. They also learn the skills and attitudes that foster compassion, honesty and integrity. Hands-on learning and clinical experience are integrated throughout all the years of the program.

Search Committee

Barbara Bichelmeyer, chair, provost and executive vice chancellor, UMKC
Jannette Berkley-Patton, professor, UMKC School of Medicine
Denise Bratcher, physician, Children’s Mercy, and professor of pediatrics, UMKC School of Medicine
Diana Dark, physician, and associate dean of Saint Luke’s Health Programs and professor, UMKC School of Medicine
Marc Hahn, president and CEO, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
Jani Johnson, CEO, Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City
Peter Koulen, professor, UMKC School of Medicine
Kamani Lankachandra, president, Truman Medical Centers medical staff, and professor and chair of pathology, UMKC School of Medicine
Chris Liu, vice chancellor for research, UMKC
Russell Melchert, dean, UMKC School of Pharmacy
Paula Monaghan Nichols, professor and associate dean, UMKC School of Medicine
Marion Pierson, physician, Village Pediatrics
Megan Roedel, chief operating officer, Center for Behavioral Medicine of the Missouri Department of Mental Health
Charlie Shields, president and CEO, Truman Medical Centers
Gary Salzman, professor, UMKC School of Medicine
Nathan Thomas, associate dean of diversity and inclusion, UMKC School of Medicine
Kevin Truman, dean, UMKC School of Computing and Engineering
Timothy Weber, student, UMKC School of Medicine

Curriculum Council welcomes Jaqueline Walker, M.D., as vice-chair

Jacqueline Walker, M.D.,

Jacqueline Walker, M.D., M.P.H.E., F.A.A.P., associate professor of pediatrics, has been appointed vice-chair clinician of the School of Medicine Council on Curriculum. She will also serve as chair of the Clerkship Directors Subcommittee.

A pediatric hospitalist and academic medical educator at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Walker serves as Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellowship Director and is vice-chair of the national Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellowship Directors Executive Council. She was elected to the School of Medicine Council on Curriculum in 2017 and joined the council’s steering committee the following year.

Walker is a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and completed her residency and chief residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She then joined the Pediatric Hospital Medicine Division at Children’s Mercy. She has since served in multiple educational leadership roles on local and national levels across the spectrum of undergraduate and graduate medical education.

With scholarly interests including faculty development and implementation of academic medical curricula, Walker earned an advanced degree in education from the School of Medicine’s Master of Health Professions Education program in 2017.

AAFP honors UMKC School of Medicine Family Medicine Interest Group

Members of the UMKC School of Medicine Family Medicine Interest Group, Haley Kertz, Kyla Mahone, Morgan Dresvyannikov, Paige Charboneau, Michele Sun, and Aniesa Slack, M.D., faculty sponsor, with the American Academy of Family Physicians 2019 Program of Excellence Award

A productive year of sponsoring and participating in community services and professional development program has earned the UMKC School of Medicine’s Family Medicine Interest Group the 2019 Program of Excellence Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The honor is given annually in recognition of outstanding performance in student involvement and retention, advocacy of family medicine, community outreach and patient advocacy. It was presented this summer to 19 medical school Family Medicine Interest Groups during the AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students in Kansas City.

These student-run organizations provide opportunities for students to learn about and experience family medicine outside of their medical school curricula. They also sponsor events, workshops, leadership development opportunities and community and clinical experiences.

The UMKC organization was selected for its wide-ranging series of programs such as performing sports physicals for more than 350 children, early exposure to health care professions through a middle school Medical Explorers Pipeline Project, participation in a diabetes prevention program, programs to bring local medical students and family physicians together to talk about family medicine, and a week-long series of events to promote Primary Care Week.

Throughout the year, members of the interest group also developed working relationships with other interest groups on campus such as the Simulation Interest Group, the Pediatric Interest Group, Wellness Council, and the free, student-run Sojourners Clinic.

Morgan Dresvyannikov, MS 6, and Kyla Mahone, MS 5, served the award-winning 2018-19 year as co-presidents of the School of Medicine group that has nearly 130 active members. Other leadership members included Alice Hwang, M.D., 19, and Emma Connelly, MS 5, co-vice presidents; Michele Sun, MS 6, treasurer; Paige Charboneau, MS 6, secretary; Andrea Pelate, MS 5, community Chair; and Claire Wolber, MS 5, public relations. Aniesa Slack, M.D., assistant professor of community and family medicine, serves a faculty sponsor.

“Making sure that medical students have an appreciation of family medicine is a key step to those students choosing family medicine for their career,” said Clif Knight, MD, senior vice president for education at the AAFP. “This year’s award winners have done outstanding work giving students the opportunity to activate the knowledge they’ve acquired in the classroom, develop leadership skills that will serve them in their future practices and communities, and better understand the vital role that family medicine plays in our health care system.”

This was the second time the School of Medicine organization has received the award. It also earned the recognition in 2011.

In Memoriam: Dr. Alan Salkind

Dr. Alan Salkind

Alan Salkind, M.D., who served nearly 20 years as a member of the UMKC School of Medicine faculty, died on Sept. 3 at Saint Luke’s Hospice House following a short battle with Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.

Dr. Salkind joined the School of Medicine in 1998 as a docent and assistant professor of internal medicine and faculty in infectious diseases at Truman Medical Center. He completed his medical degree at East Tennessee State University College of Medicine and residency at Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York. Following his infectious diseases fellowship and research training in immunology at the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, he was faculty at University of Mississippi where we was engaged in AIDS research and later was the medical director of infectious diseases for the Heartland Health System in St. Joseph, Missouri.

A devoted instructor and mentor, Dr. Salkind was honored with the university’s 2011 Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award. His research work included a landmark article published in JAMA, which revealed that 90% of those with self-reported penicillin allergy are actually penicillin tolerant, continues to be highly cited.

He retired in 2017 as professor emeritus, after serving many key roles at the School of Medicine during his career including as assistant dean of selection from 2002 to 2007, a member of the physician promotion committee, and on the faculty development committee.

Dr. Salkind is survived by his wife, Millie; three daughters, Emily (Norman), Katie and Stephanie; one son, Robert; a brother, Randy; his sister, Sue Feldman (Stuart); and two grandchildren.

No services are planned. Instead of flowers, the family requests all donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation in tribute of Dr. Alan Salkind.

Read the full obituary.

 

Office of Student Affairs welcomes Bridgette Jones, M.D., as assistant academic dean

Dr. Bridgette Jones

The School of Medicine has announced that Bridgette Jones, M.D., M.S., has joined the Office of Student Affairs in a new role of assistant academic dean.

In this position, Jones will work with students across all six years of the curriculum on matters pertaining to academic affairs. She will maintain regular office hours in both the Years 1 and 2 office on the Volker campus and in  student affairs at the School of Medicine.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Jones to student affairs where her enthusiasm for student engagement and support will contribute to the enhancement of student services,” said Interim School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D.

Jones holds a faculty appointment as an associate professor of pediatrics in the divisions of Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Innovation and Allergy/Asthma/Immunology at Children’s Mercy. A clinician scientist with a focus on therapeutics and interventions to improve the lives of children with allergic disease and asthma, she also serves as the associate program director for the Children’s Mercy Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology training program.

She is the inaugural chair of the Faculty and Trainee Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the medical director of the Office of Equity and Diversity at Children’s Mercy. In that role, she develops and maintains a pipeline of diverse and successful trainees and physicians in medicine to ensure their career development. She has also been a national advocate for diversity and equity for women in medicine.

Jones was recently nominated for the American Medical Association Inspiration Award that recognizes physicians who have contributed to the achievements of women in medicine. She will be honored by the AMA Women Physician Section with the award during the  AMA House of Delegates interim meeting in September during Women in Medicine Month.

Jones is active on a national leadership level as well. She currently serves as chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs, chair of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma Immunology Asthma and Cough Diagnosis and Treatment Committee, and serves as a member of the Food and Drug Administration Pediatric Advisory Committee.

She was appointed by the United States Secretary of Health to serve on the National Institutes of Health Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women. She has received funding through the National Institutes of Health and other extramural and intramural resources to support her work.

She is married to Rafiq Saad and is the mother of two daughters, Lola and Nora.