UHealth Doctor Fulfills Olympic Dream

Special to Um News


UHealh Sports Medicine’s Carolyn Kienstra is living her Olympic dream–as a physician.

Carolyn Kienstra, M.D., a pediatric sports medicine physician at UHealth Sports Medicine, is living a dream.

“Olympic gymnastics is the reason I fell in love with sports,” said Kienstra. “I have become a fan of and participant in many other sports over the years, but gymnastics has always been my first love.”

The opportunity to travel to Rio de Janeiro and volunteer as a physician for the athletes is a privilege for any doctor, but to be able to work with the gymnastics events makes it extra special for Kienstra.

“It has been an amazing experience,” Kienstra said. “Every day I think to myself, I can’t believe I am really doing this.”

Kienstra fell in love with gymnastics in the summer of 1992, when the young women of Team USA won a bronze medal and Shannon Miller took home five medals, a feat that had not been accomplished since Mary Lou Retton. Kienstra continued to follow gymnastics, and her love of the sport grew.

Over the next four years, Kienstra and her younger sister started taking gymnastics lessons, watched any gymnastics events they could find on TV, and when that wasn’t an option, they watched replays carefully recorded on VHS tapes.

“My parents really thought we would wear out the tape from the end of the team final in Barcelona,” she said. “We had it memorized word for word. I can actually still remember most of it to this day.”

By the time the Olympics came around again in 1996, Kienstra had become a huge fan. She collected anything she could find associated with the Olympics or gymnastics, including Wheaties boxes, Cabbage Patch dolls and lots of magazines and articles. She even decorated her entire room in red, white and blue.

When the U.S. team, dubbed the Magnificent Seven, earned the first Olympic team all-around gold medal in U.S. gymnastics history in Atlanta, she was watching and cheering for every move.

“It was such a magical night for the team,” Kienstra said.

Kienstra’s love of the sport made the opportunity to cover gymnastics at the Olympics all the more special.

“I can’t believe this opportunity came together as it did,” Kienstra said. “Months ago, when UHealth was first approached to volunteer in Rio, we were all very excited, but we didn’t really know what role we would be playing. Then, a few weeks ago, when I was found out I would get to work with gymnastics, I couldn’t believe it.”

Kienstra has been making the most of her time in Rio, seeing the sites with colleagues and taking in events such as the Opening Ceremony, where she was caught photobombing the Team USA men’s basketball team by USA Today.

“Being at the Opening Ceremony was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” she said. She is also hoping to see some of the other competitions, including swimming and diving, but gymnastics is still tops on her list.

“I think I spent about 12 hours in the Rio Arena the first day of the women’s qualification just taking it all in,” she said. “As a doctor, I was watching the competition floor for injuries, but I was also a spectator and fan.

“It’s something I’ll never forget, and I’m so proud to share this experience with family, friends and my UHealth colleagues. I’m very grateful for all they have done to organize and make this possible. It is definitely a dream come true.”

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Hilarie Bass Named ABA President-Elect

Special to UM News


ABA President-Elect Hilarie Bass, J.D. ’81, center, is pictured with other School of Law alumni and ABA leaders, Edith Osman, J.D. ’83, left, a Florida state delgate, and Deborah Enix-Ross, J.D. ’81, right, who chairs the House of Delegates.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. (August 9, 2016)—University of Miami alumna Hilarie Bass, co-president of international law firm Greenberg Traurig and vice chair of the UM Board of Trustees, assumed the role of president-elect of the nearly 400,000-member American Bar Association at the conclusion  of the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco last week. She will serve a one-year term as president-elect before becoming ABA president in August 2017.

Based at Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office, Bass serves as co-president and a member of the executive committee for the multipractice firm that has approximately 1,900 attorneys across 38 offices worldwide. She previously served an eight-year term as national chair of the firm’s 600-member litigation department.

Bass, who earned her law degree at UM in 1981, has been involved with the ABA for more than 30 years, beginning as a young lawyer and working her way up to become chair of the 70,000-member Section of Litigation in 2010-11. As chair, she spearheaded the creation of a Task Force on Implicit Bias in the Justice System. She has held several other notable positions at the ABA, including serving as chair of the Committee on Rules and Calendar (2012-14), member of the Board of Governors (1990-93), House of Delegates (1988-95, 2000-present), and the Florida representative to the Nominating Committee (2010-present).

“I am honored to take on the position of ABA president-elect and look forward to serving my fellow attorneys, while working to eradicate bias, enhance diversity and advance the rule of law,” Bass said. “Giving back to the profession that has given so much to me is something I feel strongly about, which is why I have dedicated myself to supporting the ABA mission for more than 30 years.”

In her practice, Bass has successfully represented high-profile corporate clients in jury and nonjury trials involving hundreds of millions of dollars in controversy. In recognition of that success, Bass was inducted in 2011 to the American College of Trial Lawyers. She has worked and settled more than 100 cases, tried more than 20 cases to conclusion and argued numerous appeals. Among her significant cases, Bass led the effort to eliminate Florida’s 20-year-old ban on gay adoption, which was found unconstitutional in 2010 and led to the state removing questions of sexual orientation from the adoption application.

Outside of her firm, Bass has led many top legal and community organizations and received numerous awards and accolades. Among them, she is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America,” “Who’s Who Legal: Florida,” and “Chambers USA.” In recognition of her work, Bass has been honored with the Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Outstanding Practitioner Award (2016), silver medallion from the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews (2011), and C. Clyde Atkins Civil Liberties Award from the ACLU in Florida (2009), among several other awards throughout her career.

A member of the UM Board of Trustees since 2003, Bass is also a passionate and longtime supporter of UM. In addition to gifts to the School of Law, where the brick courtyard long considered the heart of the school is named the Bass Bricks in her honor, she has made generous contributions to support the School of Education and Human Development, the College of Arts and Sciences, and UM Athletics.

Two fellow School of Law alumni also serve in leadership roles with the ABA. Deborah Enix-Ross, a 1981 graduate of Miami Law, chairs the  House of Delegates, and Edith Osman, who graduated in 1983, is a state delegate from Florida.


Posted in Appointments, HonorsComments (0)

Bascom Palmer Ranked No. 1 Eye Hospital for the 15th Time

Special to UM News

BPEIMIAMI, Fla. (August 2, 2016)—Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has again been ranked as the nation’s Best in Ophthalmology by U.S. News & World Report in its Best Hospitals 2017 Edition. It is the 15th time that Bascom Palmer Eye Institute-Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital has been named No. 1 since the publication began surveying U.S. physicians for its annual rankings 27 years ago.

“Receiving the No. 1 ranking again is a great testament to the tradition of excellence that drives every aspect of Bascom Palmer’s operation,” said Eduardo C. Alfonso, chairman of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. “Drawing on their deep knowledge and experience, our dedicated doctors, scientists, nurses, technicians, and support staff provide high-quality compassionate eye care to our Bascom Palmer patients.”

For more than 50 years, Bascom Palmer has been a leader in providing clinical care and community service to the dynamic South Florida region, while building a national reputation for excellence. In addition, its medical training and education programs attract ophthalmologists from around the world, multiplying the institute’s impact on patient care.

Bascom Palmer’s physicians are internationally recognized in every subspecialty of ophthalmology. With four patient care facilities in Florida (Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, Naples, and Plantation), Bascom Palmer is the largest ophthalmic care, research, and educational facility in the southeastern United States. More than 250,000 patients, from infants to seniors, are treated each year for nearly every ophthalmic condition, and more than 18,000 surgeries are performed annually. The institute serves as the Department of Ophthalmology for the Miller School of Medicine, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System.

“All of us at the University of Miami are proud of the extraordinary performance of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s physicians, researchers, and staff, year after year,” said Steven M. Altschuler, senior vice president for health affairs and CEO of UHealth. “Their discovery, innovation, and training advance the field of ophthalmology worldwide, and their care changes lives in South Florida and beyond.”

Bascom Palmer researchers and clinicians are at the forefront of precision medicine in ophthalmology, translating basic research from their laboratories into individualized diagnostic and treatment methods tailored to each patient. That collaboration approach has resulted in revolutionary advances in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, retinal diseases, ophthalmic cancers, eye infections, cataracts and diseases of the optic nerve.

Bascom Palmer recently established the world’s first laboratory dedicated to finding cures for diseases of the orbit, the bony structure surrounding the eye. In March, the institute dedicated the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Orbital Vision Research Center as the only interdisciplinary, cure-based research center dedicated to transforming the lives of patients with traumatic orbital injuries and malignancies through clinical applications of basic scientific research.

Another milestone will occur this fall with the opening of the Samuel and Ethel Balkan International Pediatric Glaucoma Center at Bascom Palmer. The center is taking a new approach to eradicating pediatric glaucoma by offering genetic research and a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing and treating the debilitating disease in children.

The rankings are accessible online at www.usnews.com/besthospitals.

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Marine Geoscientist Named 2016 AGU Fellow

Peter K. Swart recognized for his pioneering research in marine geochemistry

Special to UM News

Peter Swart

Peter Swart

MIAMI, Fla. (July 26, 2016)—Peter K. Swart, professor and chair of the Department of Marine Geosciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, has been elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the nation’s leading professional society for scientists in the earth and space sciences. The award will be presented during the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

A pioneer in marine geochemistry who has been at UM since 1983, Swart, the Lewis G. Weeks Professor of Marine Geology and director of UM’s Stable Isotope Laboratory, is best known for his work on isotopes in geochemistry, carbonate diagenesis (physical and chemical changes occurring during the conversion of sediment to sedimentary rock), paleoclimatology, and hydrology.

“I am pleased that Peter is being recognized by AGU for his pioneering geochemistry research,” said Roni Avissar, dean of the Rosenstiel School. “This is a well-deserved and long-overdue recognition of Peter’s achievements.”

Swart pioneered the use of geochemistry in other areas such as extra-terrestrial materials, hydrology, and carbonates. His 1982 paper in Science was the first to reveal the presence of highly enriched C-13 phases in meteorites, offering clues to the origin of the solar system.

“To be elected a Union Fellow is a tribute to those AGU members who have made exceptional contributions to earth and space sciences as valued by their peers and vetted by section and focus group committees,” according to the AGU.

Throughout his career Swart has been supported through a variety of sources, including the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, as well as several global corporations. He is one of the principal investigators in the Comparative Sedimentology Laboratory (CSL), a consortium of petroleum companies, and the former editor of the highly regarded journal Sedimentology. In 2011, his work with Rosenstiel School Professors Kenny Broad and Amy Clement on the dating and isotopic analysis of stalagmites to reconstruct past climate changes was featured as part of a cover story in National Geographic.

Swart is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America. He is also a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Coral Reef Society, the Geological Society of America, the Geochemical Society, and the International Association of Sedimentologists.

Swart has an impressive record of scholarly accomplishments, with more than 190 published papers, book chapters, editorials, and special publications that have garnered over 5,000 citations. He also teaches regularly and has served as a Ph.D. and Master’s dissertation committee chair for more than 30 students.

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Professor Selected for Esteemed Residency

The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center connects scholars from diverse backgrounds to collaborate and seek solutions for today’s global issues. 

Louis Herns Marcelin

Louis Herns Marcelin

CORAL GABLES, Fla.  (July 27, 2016)—On picturesque Lake Como in Italy sits a villa where great minds connect and collaborate to address the complex issues facing the world today, and joining this prestigious group of thinkers is Louis Herns Marcelin, associate professor of anthropology at the College of Arts and Sciences.

Chosen from a competitive pool of over 3,000 applicants from all over the world, Marcelin is one of only 27 scholars invited to spend four weeks in Northern Italy to participate in the Bellagio Residency Program, a focused, goal-oriented, collaborative program where fellow residents from distinct backgrounds, disciplines, and geographies come together to implement solutions to political, health, environmental, and economic challenges.

“Once I learned that I had received the award I was stunned and, of course, honored to be among the few selected from all over the world,” said Marcelin. “Each time I speak with a Rockefeller Foundation Residency staff I learn more about the importance of this award and the opportunities it offers.”

According to The Rockefeller Foundation, “convening prominent experts, influencers, and other key stakeholders to advance knowledge and form new partnerships, financial commitments, and initiatives that support these [Foundation] goals enables the Bellagio Center to advance the mission of the Foundation as a complement to its grant making efforts.”

Marcelin was invited to work on his book project titled “Violence, Social Order, Human Insecurity and Peacebuilding in Contemporary Haiti.” He says the project builds on a series of studies regarding violence, social injustice, and insecurity in post-dictatorship and post-disaster Haiti. The project spans 20 years of research using sociological surveys, in-depth ethnographic interviews, social mapping, participant observation, document analysis, and other analytics. Some aspects of the study have been published in flagship anthropology and humanities journals.

“The residency is designed to give you the time and space to reflect on and exchange ideas with many fascinating people,” said Marcelin. “However, the ultimate goal is to inspire us to write. My personal goal is to revisit many of the philosophical ideas and methodological approaches that illuminate my years of research on violence, while also taking advantage of the expertise and perspectives of other prominent thinkers in order to generate an analysis that is relevant to our challenging time.”

A native of Haiti, Marcelin, along with UM colleagues and faculty from other universities, established the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED), an organization for collaborative research and action on issues affecting Haiti and the Caribbean.

From 1993 to 2007, Marcelin built the ideas and concepts that formed INURED; it has been active on the ground in Haiti for close to a decade, initiating many programs before the catastrophic earthquake of 2010. As a premiere research institution in Haiti, INURED serves as a venue for UM students to go beyond the books and conduct research as well as participate in collaborative fieldwork with international scholars, including Haitian faculty and Haitian students.

“More so today than ever, we need tested but innovative approaches to address the challenges that undermine human security and the hope for social justice, particularly in places like Haiti, which is the centerpiece of my investigations on violence,” said Marcelin. “The residency will help me carve time to significantly advance in this project.”

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