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40th Miami Neonatology 2016 Conference Now Open for Registration


Registration is now open for Miami Neonatology 2016, which will be held this year on Sunday, November 6 through Tuesday, November 8, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Presented by the Miller School of Medicine’s Division of Neonatology, the conference strives to provide medical professionals with comprehensive knowledge of the leading trends and best practices in Neonatology. Presentations will highlight the most current concepts in the pathogenesis, management, and prevention of problems in the newborn infant.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Miami Neonatology has become one of the largest and most prestigious international conferences that address issues in perinatal and neonatal medicine. This year on this special occasion, four expert keynote speakers will discuss the evolution of perinatology and neonatology over the last four decades. The conference will provide attendees with an extensive educational program featuring new developments in treating conditions that are causally associated with morbidity and mortality in the neonate. Participants will understand the importance of the preventive approach in minimizing medical complications and optimizing developmental outcome.

Additional topics will include prenatal conditions that may jeopardize the fetus, management of acute neonatal complications, as well as issues relating to long-term developmental outcome. The goal of this educational activity is to provide attendees with improved competency and performance in providing optimal quality of care for newborns.

A one-day pre-conference workshop, “Advances in Respiratory Care,” will be held on Saturday, November 5.

Additional information is available on the conference website or by contacting Lizbeth Castellano, conference coordinator, at lcastellano@miami.edu or 305-243-2068.

 

 

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David F. Ertel to Assume Top Financial and Strategy Positions at Miller School and UHealth


Special to UM News

David. F. Ertel

David. F. Ertel

David F. Ertel, the chief financial officer of Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, has been named chief financial officer and chief strategy officer for health affairs.

As CFO, Ertel will be responsible for the business systems of the Miller School of Medicine and UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, reporting to Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and CEO of UHealth.

“The success of the value-based health system we are creating will depend, in part, on the sound financial decisions we make, and David will lead the way in critical areas including contracting, budgeting, prioritizing initiatives and business development,” Altschuler said.

Ertel will also have oversight of short- and long-term forecasting, managed care contracting and other financial operations, such as local health market concentration.

“David’s depth of experience will make him a strong leader for the transformation of our health system,” said Altschuler.

The Einstein network in Philadelphia consists of three acute-care hospitals, a nationally recognized rehabilitation hospital, and a physician network that includes 450 employed physicians. The principal medical center — Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia — is affiliated with Thomas Jefferson University and trains 435 residents and fellows and more than 1,000 medical students annually.

As the CFO of Einstein, Ertel has collaborated on service line initiatives in behavioral health and women’s and children’s health, as well as a restructuring of investments and debt.

Previously Ertel was a managing director at Morgan Stanley and head of the National Health Care Group, advising health systems and academic medical centers in financial and strategic matters. He also worked as Vice President and Director of the Health Care Public Finance Group at PaineWebber. Before his investment banking career, he was Budget Director of the New Jersey State Department of Human Services, managing budget planning and control activities.

As a health system trustee, Ertel helped Princeton HealthCare System grow its clinical footprint, including the development of a new hospital.

Ertel holds M.B.A. and M.P.H. degrees from Columbia University. He will begin his new role in late July.

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New Formula Could Revolutionize Anesthesia

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New Formula Could Revolutionize Anesthesia


Anesthesia

From left are Ernesto A. Pretto, Jr. and Christopher A. Fraker.

Special to UM News

An innovative anesthesia formulation developed by a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine research team could dramatically improve surgical care around the world.

“If proven safe and effective in clinical trials, this new formulation could revolutionize the delivery of general anesthesia,” said Ernesto A. Pretto, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., professor and Chief of the Division of Solid Organ Transplant and Vascular Anesthesia in the Department of Anesthesiology.

Unlike conventional anesthesia systems that vaporize liquid anesthetics into gas and then deliver it to the bloodstream through the lungs, the new formulation would allow this class of anesthetic drugs to be injected directly into the bloodstream.

“This is potentially an easier, safer and faster way to deliver anesthesia in a low-cost, portable format, improving access to surgical care for patients in developing countries, soldiers on a battlefield or patients in traditional hospital settings,” said Christopher A. Fraker, Ph.D., a research assistant professor who developed the formulation in the Bioengineering Laboratory of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), whose support comes in large part from the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

U Innovation, which protects, transforms and guides the University of Miami’s intellectual property, recognized the potential of this breakthrough discovery. Its Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research funded work on the technology and provided guidance toward commercialization.

On April 14, U Innovation’s Office of Technology Transfer signed a license agreement with The Medicines Company, a global provider of solutions for acute cardiovascular care, surgery and perioperative care, and serious infectious disease care. The agreement will allow The Medicines Company to develop and hopefully market the new formulation, said Pretto.

“This is a platform technology with many potential applications,” said Daniel J. Catron, senior licensing associate at the Office of Technology Transfer. “This innovative formulation is ideal for resource-limited medical settings. It could also be applied to veterinary medicine, providing potential benefits when sedating and treating large and small animals. The Medicines Company understands our vision and has the ability to take this development forward. This commercialization partnership can help patients on a global level, while also benefiting our University.”

The University is negotiating a Sponsored Research Agreement with a collaborative research team from the Department of Anesthesiology, the Diabetes Research Institute and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. That team includes DRI Director Camillo Ricordi, M.D., Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Microbiology and Immunology, and Director of the DRI’s Cell Transplant Center, Fernando Garcia-Pereira, D.V.M., from the University of Florida, and Behrouz Ashrafi, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology, as well as Pretto and Fraker. The agreement will help The Medicines Company advance the technology through additional pre-clinical testing needed to enable clinical trials, Pretto said.

“The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is a world-class institution, and the opportunity to work with some of its most talented and innovative clinicians and scientists is an exciting, albeit humbling, opportunity,” said Jason Campagna, M.D. ’96, Ph.D. ’97, Vice President and Global Medical Lead for Surgery and Perioperative Medicine at The Medicines Company. “There are more than 300 million surgical procedures annually around the world, and the need for new anesthetics and ways to deliver anesthesia care safely has never been greater.”

Fraker said the anesthesia breakthrough originated with studies on how to protect insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells during transplantation to patients with life-threatening diabetes.

“I had studied fluorocarbon emulsions that carry oxygen to the blood, and was brought into an ongoing collaborative DRI/Department of Anesthesiology project by Dr. Antonello Pileggi,” Fraker said. “Dr. Pileggi was the initiator of many collaborative efforts and was adept at bringing in the right people to form teams that would accelerate and increase the chances of project success. We serendipitously found that mixing the anesthetic with a carefully developed emulsion could create an injectable that was safe and highly effective in sedating animals in the laboratory.”

This novel emulsion technology, made possible through the multi-year funding that Fraker and Pretto received from the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, received a patent this year.

Looking ahead, Fraker said that injecting the anesthesia medication directly into the bloodstream has multiple benefits in clinical care.

“You can use a lower dosage to accomplish the same result, increasing the safety profile,” he said. “You can also bring patients out of anesthesia more quickly.”

The new anesthesia platform would also allow combat medics to sedate wounded soldiers, slowing the blood flow and the onset of shock while the patient is transported to a field hospital, as part of a regimen being called emergency preservation and resuscitation, Pretto said.

“Our team presented a prototype to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and it was well received. Because of its self-contained portability, this formulation could even be taken into space.”

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Miller School’s New Agreement with The Bahamas Will Advance Collaborative Initiatives

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Miller School’s New Agreement with The Bahamas Will Advance Collaborative Initiatives


Special to UM News

Bahamian officials look on as Pascal J. Goldschmidt, with Joshua M. Hare at his left, signs the memorandum of understanding.

Bahamian officials look on as Pascal J. Goldschmidt, with Joshua M. Hare at his left, signs the memorandum of understanding.

NASSAU, The Bahamas (May 31, 2016) — A new University of Miami Miller School of Medicine agreement with the government of The Bahamas provides the framework for collaborative initiatives in medical education, research, and clinical care, including stem cells and regenerative medicine. It also advances ongoing discussions about the possibility of establishing a new Miller School-supported medical school in The Bahamas.

Bahamas Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 14 with Pascal J. Goldschmidt, dean of the Miller School, and Joshua Hare, the Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine and founding director of the Miller School’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute.

“This MOU provides that the University of Miami could engage in education, training physicians, health care practitioners and scientists in finding new treatments and therapies for heart disease, neurological disease, bone disease, diabetes, cancer, eye diseases and other chronic, debilitating or incurable diseases,” Christie said at the signing.

Since the signing, representatives of The Bahamas have traveled to Miami for ongoing discussions about a broader education and training partnership with the Miller School, including a possible new medical school, Hare said.

Noting that The Bahamas recently implemented national health insurance, Christie said the new agreement comes at a “pivotal time” in the nation’s history. He added that the MOU will facilitate the Miller School’s establishment of relationships with health care providers, developing telemedicine facilities, and offering specialty training for physicians and medical practitioners in additional areas, upon request from the Ministry of Health/Public Hospitals Authority and in collaboration with the University of the West Indies School of Clinical Medicine and Research.

Goldschmidt called the MOU an important step for the Miller School, whose international initiatives are aligned with the University of Miami’s vision of becoming a hemispheric and relevant leader in research, education, and service.

“This agreement solidifies the growing relationship of the Miller School and UHealth with the Bahamas Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority,” he said. “We also look forward to advancing the dynamic field of regenerative medicine in The Bahamas.”

In addition to the MOU, Hare signed a consultancy services agreement to advise the Bahamas Ministry of Health on building a stem cell research program. Hare noted that the Bahamian government has passed laws that allow stem cell clinical trials to be conducted in the Caribbean nation, as long as the sponsors have regulatory approvals in the United States, European Union or Japan. In March, the Bahamian government gave approval to Thorn Medical PLC to use human stem cells to treat a range of conditions and illnesses.

“We are consulting with the Ministry of Health on developing the appropriate infrastructure for stem cell research, including policies and procedures for enrolling and monitoring the health of participants in trials,” Hare said.

Hare added that Miller School representatives have been holding ongoing discussions with Bahamian health leaders since Christie led a delegation to the Miller School in 2013.

“With the MOU, we will be able to continue that dialogue and explore new collaborative possibilities,” he said.

Conville S. Brown, president and chief executive officer of The Bahamas Center For Heart Disease and The Partners Stem Cell Centre at The Medical Pavilion Bahamas in Nassau, called the agreement with the Miller School “a momentous occasion in the history of the advancement of organized and monitored ethical research in stem cell and regenerative medicine in The Bahamas.”

Brown said he advised Christie several years ago to consider partnering with the University of Miami.

“With this MOU and oversight agreement several years later, I am thrilled to see this come to reality,” he said. “I have every confidence in the University of Miami to lead and guide The Bahamas, with its landmark legislation, to become one of the leaders in the world in this exciting new frontier of medicine.”

 

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Goldschmidt  Retires as Miller School Dean

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Goldschmidt Retires as Miller School Dean


Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., will retire as dean of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine at the end of May to follow his passion for international medicine. During a sabbatical, he will explore opportunities for the Miller School and UHealth – the University of Miami Health System in other countries and advise Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs and CEO of UHealth, on international medical education.

Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., executive dean for education and policy, will serve as interim Dean. A committee will be appointed soon to begin an international search for a new dean.

In his 10 years at the helm, Goldschmidt has transformed the Miller School. He created UHealth and established several extraordinary centers and institutes, including the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics and the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute. Thanks to his leadership, the Miller School has one of only 60 NIH-designated Clinical and Translational Science Institutes and one of only 20 NIH Centers for AIDS Research.

Goldschmidt cultivated remarkable philanthropic support to help make these and other initiatives possible. He also recruited several internationally recognized leaders in research, education and clinical care, and the Miller School’s national ranking in NIH funding rose notably during his tenure.

UM President Julio Frenk had this to say about the Dean’s impact: “We are so grateful for Pascal’s ambitious vision and for his untiring work to raise the Miller School of Medicine to remarkable new heights in research, education, patient care and community service. His leadership has had a significant impact on our University and our community.”

UM’s medical enterprise stands out in many ways: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute was recently named the nation’s No. 1 eye hospital for the 12th year in a row. The rapidly advancing Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center was named a Cancer Center of Excellence by the state of Florida — the only such center in South Florida. Recent discoveries have moved the Diabetes Research Institute closer than ever to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. The Miller School has climbed 12 spots in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools” ranking, reaching No. 44. The groundbreaking M.D./M.P.H. program now attracts more than 25 percent of the Miller School’s medical students.

Stuart A. Miller said, “As Chairman of the Board of the University of Miami, I would like to express deep appreciation to Pascal for his service and dedication over the past decade. Working with him has been an honor and a joy. He has led the Miller School of Medicine to a position of national prominence, and his achievements have been reflected in the school’s steady rise in the rankings, in its continued strong NIH research funding and in the rising quality of its applicants. In that same time period, he has made remarkable contributions as the founding CEO of UHealth to improving the health of countless South Floridians.

“On a personal note, my entire family and I are thrilled to have had the opportunity to partner with Pascal and contribute to his extraordinary vision, which will continue to transform lives throughout our community, the region and the world.”

Goldschmidt was Dean during one of the Miller School’s finest hours — the immediate, comprehensive response to the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Hundreds of Miller School personnel volunteered to staff and support the 250-bed field hospital the school created near the airport in Port au Prince, providing care to thousands of patients. Goldschmidt was there with them, and the care for Haiti’s most vulnerable is ongoing.

In a message to all faculty and staff, Altschuler and UM Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc said, “Caring for our community and our region is one of our most critical missions. Pascal has been an exceptional leader of all of our missions, and the Miller School, UHealth, the University of Miami and South Florida are immeasurably stronger thanks to his dedication and vision.”

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